Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Role of the Official Opposition

According to the Parliament of Canada web site, this is the definition of the Official Opposition:

In Canada, the party with the greatest number of elected representatives that is not the governing party becomes Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. This party takes the lead in holding the Government accountable for its policies and actions. The leader of this party becomes the leader of the Official Opposition, sitting directly across from the Prime Minister. The duty of the Official Opposition and other opposition parties is to “challenge” government policies and suggest improvements, and present an alternative to the current Government’s policy agenda.

While this fact is obvious to all who are interested in politics, Peter MacKay seems to have skipped "Parliamentary Process 101".

By ignoring Denis Coderre's numerous requests for permission to go to Afghanistan, not only is he being petty and "playing politics" with a pretty serious issue, he shows tremendous contempt for our system. Of course, you can hardly be surprised by this, Harper is making a career of it. MacKay full of bluster, condemned Coderre's visit as a stunt.

Now, is Coderre known for seeking publicity? Absolutely, but that is hardly the point here. Coderre has been asking for permission for sometime and has been summarily ignored. His job, as Defense critic, is to be aware of what the government policy is in Afghanistan and whether or not it is effective. The most thorough way of doing that obviously, is to see for himself what is happening on the ground. Recognising that this is outside the usual procedure, there is nothing usual about the state of Parliament right now.

Knowing that the con's have geared up for an election, it's not a given that Coderre could get to Afghanistan, through a committee, before an election and I'm sure that was what MacKay and Harper were counting on.

The fact that Bernier and Oda, had a trip planned that Coderre could have easily been included on, shows just how petulant and intentionally mean-spirited this government is. Obviously insecure in their role as government, they see no advantage in working with the opposition.

The irony of course is that Coderre is now bringing far more attention to the issue than would have been the case had they taken him along. Perhaps they felt that he was bluffing and called him on it. That does not bode well for their ability to "read" situations.

A further irony is that should Coderre actually travel with aid groups, etc., he will see far more than would have been the case had he simply been confined to the military base.

Harper & Gang played this poorly and I'm sure there will be more to come. When a control freak loses control, things never turn out well.

Hypocrisy Update: There is a process to be followed with the government here," Bernier said. "I question why Mr. Coderre doesn't want to make a safe trip...It is irresponsible for him to come here without contacting us or planning his progress far in advance to assure his security."
Bernier was accompanied to Afghanistan by Bev Oda, the minister of International Cooperation.

Of course Coderre did contact them and they knew about his trip before he left. Why didn't they offer to take him? Oh, right, all the world is an enemy when you are a Harper conservative.

This guy is going to be a laugh a minute as Foreign Affairs Minister. Ill informed or touting the party BS. Take your pick, he's emulating his predecessor.


wilson said...

'The irony of course is that Coderre is now bringing far more attention to the issue than would have been the case had they taken him along.'

Irony my butt! He intentionally asked to go at a time when no committees were sitting, to give him permission.
Dion is going in November, why couldn't Coderre go with Dion?

It sucks to be in opposition, eh.

Do you supppose 'Conservative Prop Hillier' will let Deny bunk with him?

knb said...

Geez wilson, do you posts before you go off on your tirades?

Why aren't committees sitting? Oh yeah, Harper prorogued. Is there a chance they will sit before and election? Who knows, Harper is chomping at the bit to get to the polls.

Coderre has been asking for months, not weeks, days or hours.

He may will go with Dion in November, that is if the Leader of the Oppostion is "given permission". Which reminds me, the con's were all outraged after an interview with Dion, that asked why he hadn't been to Afghanistan yet. Remind me. Did Harper go when he was in opposition? Nah thought not. Typical hypocritical bluster.

Yes it does suck to be in opposition, particularly when the government represents only 1/3 of the country. Not just in numbers my friend, but in thought.

Well, Hillier isn't there is he? Yet anyway. Thankfully the brass that is there is showing some sophistication and they will afford him the ammenties due a Minister.

I'm glad you remember what it feels like to be in opposition, because you will be there again.

wilson said...

Coderre is not special.

He is definitely owed no favours by the Conservative government, nor the military.

He started making requests AFTER Parliment broke for the summer.

It was Bill Graham that brought in the rule that no single MP can go to Afgan, thusly, he was to wait until a trip could be arranged by committee.

It was a stunt, as usual.

I hope he gets home safely as to not put anyone else in harms way as a result of his stunt.

' I'm glad you remember what it feels like to be in opposition, because you will be there again.'

Yes, we will, but not any time soon.

The most important thing you will learn while in the penalty box, is respect your foe,
until you do,
you can not defeat them.

You (as in Liberals) ain't there yet.

knb said...

Respect is earned wilson, not demanded.

That's the biggest mistake your party is making.

wilson said...

Did you see CTV news tonite?
Craig Oliver reported that Coderre released informtion of the visit of Bernier and Oda before their arrival.
This is a violation of rules of disclosure and he has put their lives at risk.
Oliver reported too that many Libs are not so happy with Coderre's stunt either.

Coderre should be removed from his critic's position. He is a fool.
As is anyone who approves of this stunt.

burlivespipe said...

Wilson, when it comes to 'stunts' you guys are the kings. Standing up in parliament and demanding that the gov't of the day stop trying to help a terrorist -- but when in gov't you play the pals-see-wallsey with Arar like as though you didn't try to supply the rope.
When in opposition your 'so-called Leader' sends a letter to the Wall St Journal decrying our gov'ts decision not to join the war on Iraq... He sez that Canadians by and large stand behind American in that venture. Funny, in gov't your 'so-called Leader' has made few references to the whole debaucle, either his or America's.
When in opposition, your team catterwalls about the lack of democracy and openness by the gov't of the day. In gov't, your 'so-called Leader' pens a booklet on how to grind committees to a standstill, stiff-arm the media from having access to cabinet ministers, and essentially silence all members of the caucus from their role in gov't (find Michael Chong, his mommy's been looking for him...)
And Harper has made sure that there were more photographers than reporters at all his stops in Kandhar, soaking up his pasty image in all the various warfare fashion. He has used the military as a prop. His gov't, to its credit, has invested key $ to make sure they can do their duty. But he's gone over there on a couple of occasions to distract the media from problems at home.
When the Van Doos started seeing their first casualties, his foreign minister floats the idea that the mission will end in 2009, so to get some good headlines in Quebec before by-elections -- when he's not trying to work up some xenophobic hysteria about muslim women at the ballot box.
Nice guy your 'so-called leader.'
It must suck to be idolizing him...

Anonymous said...

Wilson - it's not the military's decision to make first of all.

In an interview with a corresponant over there - the military have no problem with Coderre being there.

Also, if there is an election, Dion won't be able to go over there will he. Someone has to check out the BS.

Coderre DOES have a right and Harper didn't want to grant it to him - there's no arguing about it. Harper could have let Coderre go with Bernier and Oda - how petty Harper is.

lance said...

He should have been allowed to go over w/ Bernier and Oda. It's his right and priviledge as senior Liberal on the Defence committee.

Having said that, the fact that he broadcast their trip prior to their making it flies in the face of all reason, law and priviledge.

Bernier and Oda's trip should have been cancelled as soon as security was breached and Coderre hung out to dry.


knb said...

Lance: Having said that, the fact that he broadcast their trip prior to their making it

Can you show me when/where he did that?

I've not found any evidence of it.

lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lance said...

Hmm. Good question.

I just did a cursory search and I can't find any evidence either.

I stand corrected, at least so far as a five minute google counts against what _seems_ to be "general" knowledge.

I'll retract my condemnation.


lance said...

P'don the dupe . . . double click.