Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tsk, Tsk Says the Speaker

The Speaker of the House, Peter Milliken, decided to admonish MP's yesterday for what he terms is their descent,

into virtual anarchy, lawlessness and crisis.

Not surprisingly, each party has their own interpretation of what his remarks meant but it's fair to say that when 3 out of 4 political parties agree with each other as to what is going on, a pretty clear picture starts to develop.

Is that to say that the 3 opposition parties have been angels? No, but to that I would say you can only put up with so much before you react.

I've spoken about the antics that have gone on in committee more than once on this blog, but it is really out of control now. Considering that is where the work of the country is meant to get done, this dysfunction should be concerning to all.

One of the most concerning to me is the Justice Committee and the fact that it's Chair Art Hanger has walked out of 2 meetings, refusing to uphold democracy and hold a vote, then proceeded to cancel the next meeting. The Procedures Committee is of concern too. Having put up with a 7 month phony filibuster, Confidence in the Chair was lost. A new one was voted in (albeit against his will, so an example of the opposition pushing back), and as a result he's not scheduled the next meeting. The Environment Committee has been filibustered, but it does get some work done in terms of hearing witnesses.

It's been mentioned that in addition to the 'dirty tricks manual', the government has inserted parliamentary secretaries on committee which is taking direction from the PMO. I have no way of knowing whether or not that is true, but it certainly is plausible.

I don't personally think this situation will be resolved before an election. Speaker Milliken said tsk, tsk, but that is generally his stance on these issues. That's not to say that he minced his words, but he provided no specific guidance.

So, expect more fireworks when parliament returns. Let's hope an opportunity to win an election presents itself soon because until then, it's Kindergarten Kommittee Time on the Hill.

All of that said, I want to give credit where it is due. While it would seem unlikely that I'd agree with Art Hanger on anything, in this case I say kudos to him.

9 comments:

Ron said...

If the work of Parliament was being conducted by the committees I would probably agree with you. From where I sit, it is not. You critise Art Hanger for walking out - you fail to examine and explain why. The Liberals tried to hijack the committee to conduct a witch hunt about something the committee is not constituted to do. He ruled the motion to do so was not in order . The Committee leagal adviser agreed that it was not in order so the opposition chose to ignore the rules and go ahead with the witch hunt. We watched the results of the Ethics committee when it wandered down the road of a kangaroo court and it was a sad sight. For those who get the impression it is only the Conservatives blocking things, I remind you the Libral Chair Szabo ruled out of order a motion to examine Liberal finances at the Ethics committee and then blocked an effort to overrule that decison by the committee. What we have here is Liberals actively pursuing a scortched earth policy of destroy everything and everyone that gets between them and what they want. Their sense of entitlement is alive and well.

Aaron said...

Hey Ron, what committee should be tasked with examining allegations of offering a potential bribe to a sitting MP? Subverting Canadian democracy is a serious affair. Your comments would appear more balanced if you were to suggest an alternate committe that should examine this affair. You didn't.

Maybe we should just sweep it under the rug, eh?

knb said...

No ron, sadly the Con's hold the entitlement title at this point. You see, it's not just the Lib's. All opposition is questioning.

Indeed, when it is politically advantageous for the Bloq or NDP, they break ranks and I'm not suggesting that the Lib's aren't playing politics, but unless you've been watching these meetings, you are deluding yourself.

In the Hanger case, indeed the clerk agreed with him, but that does not mean there isn't another interpretation of what is acceptable. Standing orders do not state that the committee must accept a ruling.

He, Hanger, is ignoring the standing orders. What do you not understand about that? If he is over- ruled, he is required to take a vote. Instead, he stomps out of the room like a 4 year old.

Democracy? Sorry, you play by the rules that were agreed to in this democracy.

I know the Con's are cool with autocracy, but the last time I checked this is still Canada.

Hi-jacking...what a laugh. 7 months of faux filibustering? They get bathroom breaks, food breaks and the filibuster is shut down by the Con Chair after 2 hours. What a joke.

7 months of that? Yeah, that's getting business done. Not having the Con in and out scheme exposed is more important than the business of the country. Kind of like suing the Lib's instead of speaking about what went on with Cadman. Change the channel, click, click, click.

I'll be honest and say I do not know enough about the Ethic's deal at this point. It seems to me they want to investigate the Lib's on fund raising, but as far as I know they changed what was deemed to be improper before the fund raiser and did nothing wrong. Does the objection meet the standing orders? I don't know, but when I find out I'll be consistent. In fact, if Szabo is over ruled, it would be interesting to see the Lib's be honest, again, while the Con's hide.

Funny, when you think back to sponsorship and the witch hunt that was, and still is, I don't recall chairs stomping out of the room, I don't recall filibustering, I don't even recall major objection.

The difference may lie in the fact that the Lib's knew politicians weren't intimately involved. Was there wrong doing? Of course, but not by Liberal's. Did they guard against it well enough? My answer would be no, but in 2008 the Con's still get away with calling Lib's corrupt.

No in contrast to the Con's, we were willing to look at dirty laundry. The Con's have run their laundry through the wash so many times, they don't recognise what they are trying to hide.

The Con's are not entitled to run a majority style government while they are a minority and that my friend is what they are trying to do.

knb said...

Well said Aaron. I suspect ron would tell you, it's going to the courts, so I have no comment.

Accountability?

Hmmm, perhaps that would be a close for most of my posts.

Anonymous said...

YAH YAH YAH...
same old bullshit
Blame it all on the Conservatives...
you people are pathetic

knb said...

btw ron, you did notice that I commended Hanger on his stance to sell technology.

What are your thoughts on that?

knb said...

anon, I'm guessing you are about 5 years old and had your daddy help you spell pathetic.

Participate in a real debate or go away.

Anonymous said...

knb...
Actually I was imitating Liberal dogma. There is no debate unless you agree.
To 'progressives' all Conservatives seem to be NEO-CONS. We are all to be shunned as knuckle-dragging, homophobic, racist, sexist pigs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
My reaction was not that of a five year old, but rather a mature adult that stooped to that level of discourse because of the arguments being presented.
Oh gee, you were so open-minded, actually paying a compliment to a Conservative.
Was it only because he was disagreeing with a government policy?
Or did he happen to agree with you for once?

knb said...

I'm not clear here. Are ron and anon the same commenter?

With respect to my comment about Hanger, I agree with him. In fact I'd go farther and commend him for standing up to Harper and Prentice. You don't see that too often.

Is it because he's retiring? I don't know, but my kudo's were legitimate.

In asking ron what his thoughts were on that, I meant the actual sale, not my position.

I don't expect agreement during debate. I am entitled to an opinion you know, just as you are.

No need to be condescending here. You disagree with me, fair enough. State your case and I'll state mine.

all Conservatives seem to be NEO-CONS. We are all to be shunned as knuckle-dragging, homophobic, racist, sexist pigs.

It's funny, I see that description used by Con's more often than any Libs. I've certainly not used it.

As for all conservatives being neo-con's, no I don't believe that, but the current government certainly is a form of that. If you believe that they are still the Progressive Conservative Party with a new name, I'm afraid you are mistaken.