From The Hill Times:
House Speaker to rule on historic confrontation between PM, opposition parties
"House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken will rule this week on the historic confrontation between the opposition parties and the government over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's refusal to hand over secret information about potential detainee torture in Afghanistan, sources say. "
Attorney General Nicholson maintains that it is his right to refuse access for national security reasons. Others maintain that the power of governance is in the hands of the elected members of parliament, most of whom are not members of the minority Conservative Party now in power.
I hate to think what may actually be in those papers if they are trying so hard to cover them up. The truth will out, I'm sure. Harper just hopes he can stall long enough that the whole thing will just go away.
"Liberal MP Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River, Ont.) launched the Commons legal attack against the government nearly two months ago, after Prime Minister Harper suspended Parliament for a month to delay the government's reaction to a Dec. 10 opposition motion ordering production of the uncensored documents...'[I]t is only among the uninformed and the negligently ignorant that the power to send for persons, papers and records would appear unclear,' Mr. Lee told the Commons in his rebuttal to Mr. Nicholson. 'Those powers and authorities are all part of Canada's Constitution. How desperately embarrassing it is that the attorney general of Canada could stand in this place and say these things.'"
The uninformed and negligently ignorant. That's what we're stuck with at the moment.
The Globe and Mail on April 21 quoted Errol Mendes, University of Ottawa law professor and constitutional expert, on the importance of Peter Milliken's decision.
“It’s huge,” said Errol Mendes...[C]enturies of precedent dictate that Parliament is supreme in holding the government to account, he observed.
“If the Speaker rules against the opposition motions, it would not be too hyperbolic to say we have changed our system of governance,” he maintained. “The executive would no longer be accountable to the House of Commons.”
But then again, Stephen Harper never wanted to "first among equals" or to share power with anybody. He doesn't even have a deputy prime minister. I suppose that would be as alien to him as the idea of a deputy dictator.
In 2006, Shortly after Stephen Harper was elected as PM, D.L. McCracken brought together this trio of quotes by and about Stephen Harper.
"Three ads in particular stand out - Stephen Harper is quoted in the first ad as saying, "America, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world"; from an article in the Washington Post in late 2005, "Canada may elect the most pro-American leader in the western world. Harper is pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto and socially conservative. Bush's new best friend is the poster boy for his ideal foreign leader. A Harper victory will put a smile on George W. Bush's face."; and finally this little gem, "Canada is content to become a second-tier socialist country boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status. You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it". "
It must be working. I don't recognize Canada. I'm a stranger in a strange land. What we need at all these hearings and inquiries is a Fair Witness.