BUT, in reality, there is still much to be determined, and given past government stalling tactics, nobody should see today's agreement as a conclusion- in fact, this is just the beginning of a long, contentious process.
Since the momentus "agreement" absolutely nothing has moved forward, and we have seen a new government tactic employed;
Ottawa — The Canadian Press
Published on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 7:57PM EDT
Last updated on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 8:01PM EDT
.The spectre of a possible election-triggering showdown over Afghan detainee documents is looming over Parliament once again.
Two of the three opposition parties are threatening to bring a contempt of Parliament motion against the Conservative government if it doesn't finalize an agreement on disclosure of the sensitive material by next week.
The government and opposition parties struck an agreement in principle several weeks ago and set May 31 as a deadline for putting the details down in writing.
That deadline has now passed without a written agreement and opposition parties are growing frustrated with the Tories' apparent lack of urgency.
Ministers on the government's negotiating team claimed they were too busy to meet Wednesday or Thursday and no meetings are scheduled for Friday.
Bloc Quebecois House Leader Pierre Paquette says the time has come for opposition parties to set a deadline and proceed with a contempt of Parliament motion if the government fails to meet it.
NDP justice critic Joe Comartin agrees, however Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale is urging all sides to take a deep breath and concentrate on finalizing the deal.
The document question has moved to the public back burner, and the Conservatives understand this well. With the summer break coming fast, it would seem they are no longer content with sand bagging the release process, but are now brazen enough to try and go home with no deal in place, leaving it for the fall. Nevermind, that even a completion of the deal means a couple of years until we have the full truth, the Conservatives don't even want any drips and leaks in the intermediary, hence the obstruction.
The way the Conservatives are again kicking dirt in opposition faces should leave no doubt that no spirit of co-operation exists, and any process will be riddled with further gamesmanship, with ONE motivation in mind- delay, roadblack, delay, roadblock, delay.
I find Goodale very disappointing here:
Mr. Goodale said he shares frustration over the lack of formal meetings but he said significant progress has been made “by keeping the lines of communication open” — apparently referring to informal discussions that have been taking place.
For a guy who's been around ten blocks, Goodale can't really believe that there is an OUNCE of genuine co-operation here. There aren't lines of co-operation, there is a Speaker's demand, and a government bent on skirting as much as possible. The Liberals should join with their inevitable coalition partner the NDP (just quietly imprinting for future payoff) and the Bloc, threatening a contempt motion, even if it's already a flawed process we defend here. At the very least, get the deal done now, so we all can get on with really learning, in very stark terms, that we won't know JACK SQUAT until after the next election, if that. Move this sham forward....
Right as rain, Steve. It's stall tactics all the way. The much heralded deal was an eleventh-hour thing and it was on the heels of every conceivable stalling tactic they could think of for the past couple years.
Throughout all this stalling, NGOs on the ground in Afghanistan have been telling us in no uncertain terms that the torture continues to this day. While we're trying to find out what happened years ago, we continue to hand over detainees to the NDS. We are not being allowed to monitor those detainees and admittedly, we have no clue about what's become of a large number of them. We've cut down our prison inspections to once a month and we give the torturers 48 hours or more notice before we go in to inspect.
Knowing that -- and we do know it, regardless of the official denials -- how can guys like Goodale continue to allow the Cons to con the committee? As I've pointed out previously, the Martin government was made aware of torture and abuse of detainees in a well-documented letter from Lawyers Against the war sent to each and every sitting MP in 2004.
Do the Liberals really want to get to the bottom of this? Remember who got us into Afghanistan in the first place.
There is this idea of us punching above our weight. Well, if we can't properly handle the prisoners we take, we should never have bitten off such a bit chunk of soldiering. The mission, even if it was worthwhile to prop up a bunch of warlords and opium merchants, should have included provision for handling prisoners. If that meant scaling back on some of those widely reported "offensives", then so be it. Part of the mission is dealing with prisoners. We dealt with thousands of them in WWII.
We've been played on this whole mission from before day one and we're still being played. Now, Bob Rae is suggesting we stay in Afghanistan militarily beyond 2011. Ironically, Harper is playing the dove and remaining steadfast about all troops out. If the Liberals decide to make it their position that Canada stay beyond 2011, they will lose what little support they still have.
On a lighter note, I saw a suggestion yesterday that the detainees documents are going to be wadded up and used to plug the Gulf oil leak.
I am hoping Goodale is just doing this to make the Libs look like the reasonable, cool-headed side (Good Cop / Bad Cop routine) and the LPC is planning to side with the NDP & BQ on the contempt motion in stealth.
And for anyone nervous about triggering an election over the Afghan detainee affair and the contempt of Parliament charges I suggest; a) - grow a spine, and b) - that THIS becomes the election issue.
The Afghan/Parliamentary Supremacy issues may be abstract for many Canadians, but the $1.2 billion G-20 meeting spending and the pork now being uncovered is resonating loud and clear.
The voters rejected the Libs in 2006 in part due to thinking that regardless of his Reform-party past; Harper would lead a more fiscally responsible government.
That is clearly not the case any longer.
BTW - remember that $1.2 billion is just for security, there is a hell of a lot more being spent than that.
The Conservative calculus has changed. Either they want an election, or they've read the polls and have wagered we really don't. The ball is in our court.
You were probably right and I was probably wrong. As I said a week ago, I couldn't believe Cons would be stupid as to let PMO make them take risk, and election, and defeat, and that their position was based on believing Opposition even stupider, and weaker, and even I didn't think that badly of Iggy, Layton, & Duceppe. But it's coming to the crunch. BQ & NDP are laying out their positions. And us? Remember, this fight is over and Order born of a motion proposed by Cotler, Dosanjh, IGGY & GOODALE!!!!
Will we not defend democracy, defend OUR OWN MOTION, MOVED BY OUR OWN LEADER?!!!
You may mock me, but I still can't believe we would let the Cons play us so badly and weakly. Their whole premise is we won't stand up to them, and for Canada. That they keep this quiet behind closed doors. And if we do stand up, publicly? As you have often noted, this is the last issue the Cons should want to fight on. Either they back down, or they lose. But their bluff needs to be called. And if it's not a bluff, so be it. Enough's enough.
The Liberals should get ready for this and quickly draft a 'contract with the taxpayer' or something to that effect, which promises true fiscal prudence in light of the Harper Government's pork-a-thon.
Follow that up with a 'contract for transparency and accountability' featuring a promise to enact the last two key recommendations of the Gomery inquiry that Harper neglected to add in his Accountability Act. Also add the MP expenses audit in this.
Hammer at the Reformatories on wanting a real inquiry into their actions on the Afghan detainees. Hit them with all the pork-spending and the $1.2 billion dollar boondoggle. About all the money we're about the piss into the wind if we adopt Harper's 'tough-on-crime' agenda.
Make this one about Harper's leadership this time!
I've heard Iggy's speeches and in debates - he will do well. If we end up in an election, there is no way Harper comes out of it without loosing seats. Just stay disciplined and keep it on Harper.
I was happy because I saw a precedent set that limited the damage Harper was doing, I did not expect that Harper would suddenly respect it, I know better than that. I have after all been saying for years that Harper has no respect for the rule of law and Parliamentary procedure and precedent whenever it gets in his way which is why the man should never have been allowed to get near the PM's seat.
None of this surprises me, and I have gone beyond being saddened by it too. It is what one expects from a PM who holds the system he is charged with defending and respecting in such utter contempt as this man does.
I expected nothing less from the Cons and nothing more from the opposition. Parliamentary supremacy is dead.
Great comments. I think they are all real close to the mark.
Everything Harper has done has shown his need to be on top. He is clearly hoping the opposition pulls the election lever sometime before the summer break. He is being brazenly aggressive.
Baird at the committee mtg, the "loser" comment, the Afghan detainee impasse, and all within the last week.
I'm really quite surprised the Liberal's are refusing to be baited here. I guess they feel that if Harper wants it so bad, they don't want it. Playing the oppose everything game I guess. Even opposing their own duty.
Layton comes across as the guy with cojones. The LPC just looks bewildered by it all.
If the Liberal's want to be seen as the savior of our parliamentary mores, they need to stand up and be counted.
Why are they so passive here?
I'm sure if they all sat around the fake Muskoka cottage and lake they're building in the Toronto convention centre for millions of dollars, they could come to an understanding, in which the Liberals let Harper take them into the middle of the lake and drown them so that he can fulfill his psychopathic self appointed mandate of destroying liberal democracy in Canada and around the world, after that he can get on with his plan to implement corporate socialism and to build all the prisons and torture chambers he needs to house all the democrats in Canada.
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