CBC just reported that there will be no Afghan detainee document release during this election, despite the latest promise, from a process which has turned into the most embarrassing failure imaginable. Such an incredibly important issue, not just the documents, but the Speaker ruling, the notion that YES, Parliament is supreme, an apparent triumph of democratic will has slowly, and PREDICTABLY turned into a complete farce.
There is some legitimacy to saying these documents can't be released during an election, certain Parliamentary considerations I suppose. That fact doesn't distract from the fact we are rapidly closing in on one YEAR since the Speaker made his "historic" ruling, Harper apparently forced to stop stalling and consider the will of Parliament. I said it at the time, this deal "a dud", Harper had lost the battle, but won the war- his chief goal of stalling given licence. The Liberals approached the process in good faith, but really everyone wanted the issue off the front page, this agreement a recipe for more sanctioned obstacles.
What is particularly disappointing, the much forgotten fact that when this Parliament dissolved, when we had an election, the agreement effectively died, needing a renewal from the next Parliament to continue the work. Unless Harper is replaced, the prospects of the opposition re-engaging and forcing another showdown beyond remote, the Conservatives have run out the clock and won. I note Kady O'Malley mentions the work already down could see light of day, but even here it seems a bit murky. How we can possibly be sitting here, in April 2011, with not a single document seeing the light of day is staggering, but also highlights the government's skillful strategy.
It is an objective disgrace that the government has gamed the Speaker's ruling in such a decided fashion. This entire process has been a slow snub, empty proclamations about the significant progress, and yet here we sit, NADA and now maybe black forever. I remain convinced people should have seen this outcome coming, some of us did actually, it wasn't that really even disguised. The NDP seemed to understand, they now appear vindicated for not participating. Here we are a year and half since this issue came to the fore and redacted documents still remain black and undercover.
I know some of my fellow Liberals will be shaking their heads at my timing here, but this is an important failing, undercutting our democratic expression, our supposed institutions, Harper has gamed the system in dramatic fashion. A mechanism found to drain the life out of this story, barely a wimper now, quietly and convincingly usurped the will of our elected representatives. Turns out Parliament isn't supreme, it was supremely had.