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Bring Harper Down over Detainee Issue - Election Anyone?

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AntiSpin
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Joined: Jun 8 2010

Hmmm...clause 10 on this MOU is like a major loophole - the MOU survives dissolution of Parliament and a general election IF and ONLY IF the governing party and the opposition parties agree to the SAME terms FOLLOWING a general election...

So if the government or the opposition wishes to modify the agreement then either the Conservatives, Liberals or Bloc can hit the buzzer and call the whole thing off? No do-overs allowed. And "following an election" can be three months....and perhaps years if negotiations drag on again....


AntiSpin
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Joined: Jun 8 2010

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

Funny how a Liberal friend posted something on facebook that is almost word for word the same.  Strange that.

 

Well if two different people posted it two different sites at two different times it's gotta be right. right? :-)

 

(I posted it on the G&M comment board earlier in the night.....if it's word for word then perhaps your friend got it there....but my original words here and on G&M)


AntiSpin
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Ottawaobserever at June 16, 2010 - 7:27pm -

 

Good post...


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

 

Afghan document deal hides the truth

Secrecy - and Conservatives - win on prisoner abuse agreement

 

 

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/824460--travers...


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

ottawaobserver wrote:
The NDP was arguing that MPs should decide what they'll see, but seek the advice of the panel of jurists about what could be released publicly or discussed about those documents.

Ok, I don't understand what you mean here: "The NDP was arguing that MPs [which MPs?] should decide what they'll [who'll?] see."

 


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

Sorry, that wasn't very clear of me, was it, Unionist.  I meant that the MPs on the committee would decide what they themselves would see.

The whole constitutional basis for the Speaker's ruling was that it was a Committee of the House that could order the production of papers for the committee to see.  That was the crux of it.  They wouldn't have been copied 308 times and distributed to every office or anything like that.


ottawaobserver
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NorthReport wrote:

Afghan document deal hides the truth

Secrecy - and Conservatives - win on prisoner abuse agreement

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/824460--travers-afghan-document-deal-hides-the-truth

You know, this is pretty significant here.  Jim Travers is now breaking from the press gallery's first consensus and saying that the Liberals sold out.  He's basically saying in this column that the Liberals sold out Richard Colvin, and have undercut the position of public servants who are trying so hard to keep telling the truth in this fucking Orwellian city we are increasingly living in.

Given the circles I know that he moves in, he's probably reflecting the point of view he's hearing ... from many senior and retired public servants who are aghast at the behaviour of the Harper government.

I think this is going to be later proven as one of those cases where the "ottawa consensus" of the first news cycle that trashes the NDP for being offside, later results in a realization that the NDP had called it right after all.

Moreover, by not participating in the sham study, NDP MPs will not be bound not to release any documents that might come to them through other means (who said brown envelope), as they might have been if they signed those undertakings in return for very little control over the agreed upon process.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Your last comment is interesting OO


George Victor
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Joined: Oct 28 2007

Capital roundup, observer.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

Thanks guys.  Meanwhile, if you're close to a TV, apparently the Speaker is going to rule at 3 PM eastern, after QP.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

OK, well the Speaker found that the agreement between the three parties met the test of his earlier ruling, so he's not letting Jack Harris move a privilege motion now.  But, he didn't close the door altogether should things not go well later.

Here is the text of Harris' point of privilege from Tuesday in Hansard, by the way.

Many people here asked why the Bloc might agree to go in, while the NDP stayed out, and wondered what could be going on.  I wonder now whether they might be doing a good cop, bad cop routine, although I have no basis for thinking so.  On the other hand, they put Richard Nadeau on that committee, who has the least interest of anyone in that party of cooperating with the NDP (he's from Gatineau, and probably got the assignment for that reason, plus the fact that he's geographically closer).


mybabble
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Joined: Jun 22 2008

Harper's governments actions are of no surprise but the opposing parties now that is an entirely different story as although Canadians wanted government to work together I am certain voters didn't mean that closely.  How can it be?  As Harper's government is so far right and yet there appears to be little opposition or very selective at the very least.  And I am Iggnanomuoius in this that the opposition couldn't like it any better as Harper moves the country far right while Canadians continue to long for somewhere in the middle. 

And if that means the NDP and Bloc whose leader is someone of interest then so be it as a change is as good as the rest and present government needs to be held responsible for its treatment of prisoners.  And after doing rabble's poll on who is responsible for the BP oil spill made me wonder where Canadians where actually coming from as the reason for all the drilling in Canada is the USA was doing regulations and Canada isn't but rather a place no worry be happy no reglations to contend with as Western Premiers put the public on the hook in more ways than one as TILMA or ILLMUD as I call it is signed to seal the deal while the East goes for the deepest wells in the most natorious waters as Harper is up to his neck in Oil as jobless recovery takes its toil on the underemployed and unemployed. 


skdadl
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OO, is it your understanding (which a few people have tried arguing -- I think of Coyne and of The Jurist, at Accidental Deliberations) that the distinction between "disclosure" and "access" means that at least the members of the ad hoc committee will see everything, or do you read the sections about cabinet and solicitor-client privilege to mean that the government shows those docs only to the panel and makes their claims on their own, w/o the other members of the committee having seen the docs?

 

Sorry -- I'm still getting head around details. I agree on more general levels that this is an exceptionally damaging compromise, and I'm not all that impressed by either the Bloc or the Speaker, frankly, claiming that they can cope otherwise later. Playing eleventy-dimensional chess, are we, fellas? Some of us don't fall for that routine any longer.

I wanted to respond as well to AntiSpin @ 59, and his reading of the fullness of Parliament's powers to limit ... well, how much? To push it to extremes, Parliament cannot in the fullness of its powers decide to limit the fullness of its powers -- that would be a constitutional violation. It would be a horrible precedent to set, but beyond that it would be a violation, and there would be an eventual remedy through the courts, yes? A domestic parallel would be a citizen signing a contract with another to become a slave -- ie, to give up his Charter rights. You can sign such a contract, but it would have no legal validity. Parliament can't give up its rights any more than citizens can.

I realize that you weren't going quite that far, AntiSpin -- can you measure where on the spectrum we are? I also recognize that from a practical pov, in the short term, if the Liberals cave, then a precedent has been set that will be very difficult to remedy, although I think never impossible.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

skdadl wrote:

OO, is it your understanding (which a few people have tried arguing -- I think of Coyne and of The Jurist, at Accidental Deliberations) that the distinction between "disclosure" and "access" means that at least the members of the ad hoc committee will see everything, or do you read the sections about cabinet and solicitor-client privilege to mean that the government shows those docs only to the panel and makes their claims on their own, w/o the other members of the committee having seen the docs?

I haven't read the full text of the original agreement-in-principle, the draft document that the Globe published on Tuesday as the basis of its reporting of Amir Attaran's assessment, nor the final agreement that was tabled in the House later on Tuesday.

I've just followed the reporting on it, and tried to listen to the principles in the first person (i.e., unfiltered by the media) as much as I could.

My understanding is that the government shows the documents it wants to keep to itself to the panel of jurists first, and the panel decides whether the group of MPs gets to see them.  The Liberals agreed to that on the basis that they could pick some of the panellists.  There's also a provision that any MP in that group could refer any document to that panel as well.  Can you spell P-o-i-l-i-e-v-r-e?  I sense another summer of futility.

I gather Aaron Wherry, who has reviewed the documents, has come to the same conclusion.  See here for the link.

skdadl wrote:

I wanted to respond as well to AntiSpin @ 59, and his reading of the fullness of Parliament's powers to limit ... well, how much? To push it to extremes, Parliament cannot in the fullness of its powers decide to limit the fullness of its powers -- that would be a constitutional violation. It would be a horrible precedent to set, but beyond that it would be a violation, and there would be an eventual remedy through the courts, yes? A domestic parallel would be a citizen signing a contract with another to become a slave -- ie, to give up his Charter rights. You can sign such a contract, but it would have no legal validity. Parliament can't give up its rights any more than citizens can.

Well, there was something in the Speaker's ruling about how Parliament can decide to limit its exercise of its powers.  However, I don't think it can do so permanently.  In other words, the House of Commons can vote to invoke closure on a particular bill, but it can't remove its right to consider every bill at three stages, or the right of Members to speak on every bill.

In other words, the limitation would constitutionally be circumscribed, and be reversable by the same means.

This would be my guess anyways.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

Sorry, there was one other relevant point that Jack Harris made about this in the House.  That group of MPs will *not* be a Commons Committee, and thus won't have the historic rights and privileges of such a body, nor will it be able to report anything back to the House.


skdadl
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ottawaobserver wrote:

I've just followed the reporting on it, and tried to listen to the principles in the first person (i.e., unfiltered by the media) as much as I could.

You've just read the reporting, but you're avoiding the media filter?!? Ahem.

Here's the agreement. The section in question is sec 7. Note that the language concerning "disclosure" is the same as in other sections, and implies only all (ie, other) MPs and the public. It does not apply directly to members of the ad hoc committee, as it clearly does not in the other sections (although their role there is clear).

 

 


mybabble
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Joined: Jun 22 2008

Tories and Conservatives are almost neck and neck in the polls as there is a 3.5 spread between the two parties while the NDP picks up momentum along with the Bloc.   Is there a possiblity of a Liberal win with an NDP Opposition in the next election that is? 


ottawaobserver
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skdadl wrote:

ottawaobserver wrote:

I've just followed the reporting on it, and tried to listen to the principles in the first person (i.e., unfiltered by the media) as much as I could.

You've just read the reporting, but you're avoiding the media filter?!? Ahem.

I've followed the reporting, AND TRIED TO LISTEN TO THE PRINCIPALS (i.e. the key actors, and what they're saying), directly on tape, and not simply read what the media decides to quote from them.

My bad.  I used the wrong spelling of 'principle' vs 'principal' (meaning a value, rather than an actor which I intended), and also was not very clear in general.  Blame the shortness of time, and multi-tasking ;-)  The same reasons I haven't read the actual agreement.


skdadl
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Sorry to sound schoolmarmish, OO. I've appreciated this conversation, with you and others. I think it is true, as some have said, that whatever section 7 says, if the Liberals give it the weak interpretation, then that's the way it will work, and it looks as though that's what is happening. But I would appreciate your reading.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

I'll try.  rotten busy week for me, and no peace and quiet.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

skdadl wrote:

OO, is it your understanding (which a few people have tried arguing -- I think of Coyne and of The Jurist, at Accidental Deliberations) that the distinction between "disclosure" and "access" means that at least the members of the ad hoc committee will see everything, or do you read the sections about cabinet and solicitor-client privilege to mean that the government shows those docs only to the panel and makes their claims on their own, w/o the other members of the committee having seen the docs?

 

I realize you're asking OO this question, but unless I'm gravely mistaken, I think it's pretty clear from the plain language of the agreement (especially section 2(d) - look at the use of the word "disclosed" there, vs. the unfettered "access" that committee members have) that the ad hoc committee sees absolutely everything - both redacted and unredacted - no exceptions. Section 7 does not put any exceptions on limits on "access" - the word used throughout Section 2, that allows committee members to see everything. It only gives the aribiters the power to limit disclosure of some information - i.e. to Parliament as a whole and to the public.


skdadl
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Sorry, Unionist (and others), I didn't mean to close the conversation.

Yes, well, that is Coyne's revised opinion, and it is The Jurist's, but it is not Wherry's or a lot of other people's, as OO says above. So, like, I don't know what to think.

While the principle of parliamentary supremacy is important and a priority, I also think we should be talking about the underlying problem, which is overclassification/claims of privilege for the wrong reasons, usually as cover-ups for violations of the constitution and/or of international law. That's really what's going on here, as in the UK and the U.S. and elsewhere, and the best defences against that we've seen yet have been the courts, especially the UK High Court, except you have to get the cases to them before they can do anything. The U.S. Congress has caved horribly on this front, and our MPs aren't looking a lot better so far.


Unionist
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skdadl wrote:

Yes, well, that is Coyne's revised opinion, and it is The Jurist's, but it is not Wherry's or a lot of other people's, as OO says above. So, like, I don't know what to think.

Well, I never heard of this Wherry dude before, but his opinion is fairly dumb IMO. It is not based on any reference to the text at all, but rather to "conferring with both sides (or at least two of the three sides) of the detainee document agreement" - whoever the heck he means by that. If the Liberals and the Bloc don't actually insist upon the powers which the very plain language of the text confers on them, that's their (and I guess our) problem. But the deal clearly gives full access to every document in unredacted and redacted form to the ad hoc committee. I see no exceptions there.

Who besides Wherry shares that interpretation?


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

Jim Travers, for one.   Also, the Jurist put out a subsequent post on the agreement, here:

http://accidentaldeliberations.blogspot.com/2010/06/second-thoughts.html

The deal is also (for what it's worth) not going over terribly well in large parts of the Liberal blogosphere.

Aaron Wherry is a writer at Macleans.  Unionist, I'm not going to defend a lot of the journalism that's practiced in Ottawa (Paul Wells recently called it a "protection racket" on CTV Power Play), but what Wherry wrote was a euphemism for saying that he consulted with experts from a variety of points of view in the different parties, and outside experts with an opinion.  It's a common modus operandi.


Life, the unive...
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Joined: Mar 23 2007

The hypocriscy displayed from the begining of the thread to posts near the end of it is breath-taking.  It also reveals a true agenda.  Funny how the attacks on the issue stop when the NDP becomes the ones standing up for the issues as outlined earlier in the thread.  Funny that.  And oh so revealing.


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

ottawaobserver wrote:

Aaron Wherry is a writer at Macleans.  Unionist, I'm not going to defend a lot of the journalism that's practiced in Ottawa (Paul Wells recently called it a "protection racket" on CTV Power Play), but what Wherry wrote was a euphemism for saying that he consulted with experts from a variety of points of view in the different parties, and outside experts with an opinion.  It's a common modus operandi.

For example, here is one of them who he's gotten to go on the record about it:

Aaron Wherry's blog wrote:

At my request, a few thoughts from Lorne Sossin on the Conservative-Liberal-Bloc memorandum of understanding.

The reference to the solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality (para. 7) potentially could be used to shield much of the material which is at the heart of the debate, but I think these are issues which cannot be ignored, and the delegation of decision-making over them outside a partisan framework to a panel of independent arbiters, guided by the overall goal of maximizing disclosure and transparency, is a fair and reasonable solution to a thorny dilemma. It also, however, puts additional pressure on the selection of the arbiters and the need for these individuals to enjoy broad credibility and trust across party lines.


Unionist
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ottawaobserver wrote:

Jim Travers, for one.   Also, the Jurist put out a subsequent post on the agreement, here:

http://accidentaldeliberations.blogspot.com/2010/06/second-thoughts.html

Well no, OO, here's what the Jurist actually says:

Quote:

First off, I'll stick to my initial interpretation that on its face, the agreement wouldn't seem to prevent the MPs on the committee from reviewing documents subject to a claim of Cabinet confidence or solicitor-client privilege. But if the Libs plan on interpreting the agreement to accept that they won't have access to those documents, then the fact that the deal could be interpreted more favourably if they pressed the point won't do anybody much good.

In short, s/he shares precisely my reading of the language - but says that the Libs plan on "interpreting" it less favourably, and therefore that it doesn't matter what it says. That's real treachery on the Liberals' part, but wouldn't prevent (say) the Bloc from insisting on the plain language.

As for Jim Travers, please point me to his reading of the language. Sounds to me as if the language is a lot stronger than the wimps who will be applying it.

ETA: Also, your quoted comments from Lorne Sossin are quite ambiguous. He says the language could be used to "shield" documents - but doesn't explicitly say he means shielding them from the ad hoc committee.

So I still haven't seen anyone's direct opinion that says the ad hoc committee isn't entitled to access to all documents, full stop.


ottawaobserver
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Unionist, give over.  I wasn't trying to argue that the Jurist took the same position.  Admittedly, I've been working in time slices here, but I've tried to post all relevant evidence and analysis, regardless of the direction it points in.  Sorry if the covering notes were not up to snuff.


Unionist
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Ok OO, sorry I misunderstood - but it's still important to know whether the ad hoc committee can see all documents without exception - or not. My reading of the plain English says they can. If anyone says otherwise (not "I heard someone who thinks otherwise" but "that's not what it means - here's why"), I'd still like to know. Because if my reading is right, then nothing can be hidden from the Liberals and Bloc, and they can see everything before the review panel does.

I still think the overall agreement is a victory for Harper. But it's also vital to know just how far the Liberals have capitulated. I also haven't seen any comment from the Bloc on this question, but I'll look around.

ETA: Hahaha! Guess who the Bloc's nominee for the ad hoc committee is? Luc Desnoyers - retired Québec Director of the CAW! He was very respected in the broader labour movement, never getting involved in the internecine battles. He was also the Bloc's member on the anti-democratic CPCCA, and helped convince Duceppe to pull out last February (I believe). He was also to the left of Duceppe on foreign policy issues like Afghanistan (last time I heard him speak, at any rate, which has been a couple years now, and before he retired and ran for office). In any event, he's no slouch, and hopefully he'll take up this task with the appropriate dedication - if the text of the sellout agreement allows him to.

Source.

Still looking for their comments on the deal, though...


ottawaobserver
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Joined: Feb 24 2008

I think I saw something, but I don't remember where now.  If I come across it, I'll post.  The second, or possibly backup, member is Richard Nadeau (the one who barely beat Francoise Boivin to keep his seat in Gatineau).  I presume he was appointed partly as a shot against the NDP, but partly because his seat is their closest one to Ottawa.


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