To my fellow Canadians:
What is happening in Canadian federal politics at present is much larger than it appears. If leaked documents and interviews about the Afghan detainee affair are to be believed, then the government is guilty of war crimes. While this alone is troubling, there is yet an even larger issue at play here than has or has not the government committed war crimes? --One which threatens the very fabric of our Parliamentary democracy: There is currently, according to the Prime Minister, no way in which Parliament can rightfully determine whether war crimes have been committed or not due to national security concerns in revealing all available evidence. This inability of Parliament in the majority to have any powers over the Prime Minister, follows a pattern during this government, and is of a much more pressing concern than even them having possibly violated the Geneva Conventions. The perceived powers of this Prime Minister are without precedent, and require immediate reversal for the continued survival of our democracy.
Through his actions on the detainee issue, and actions taken on previous threats to his government, the Prime Minister appears to be attempting to establish by precedent the supreme and unitary executive power of the Prime Minister’s Office. The Prime Minister first prorogued Parliament during non-confidence of the house in 2008. At the time, he referred to the majority of the MPs as being members of a coupe d’état when they declared non-confidence in his government and demanded to form a coalition. In the following year, the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament again under shifting explanations, and during a parliamentary investigation of possible war crimes by his government. Now, under a new parliamentary session, the Prime Minister is continuing to stall said investigation, by refusing to reveal key documents to Parliament in unredacted form. He is requesting that there be a possible election if the Opposition cares about the issue. In all of these actions lies a common thread: the Prime Minister is demonstrating his perceived superiority of his office to Parliament. Yet, under word of law of our parliamentary system, the parliament is to be supreme to the PMO.
These actions cannot be allowed to stand. If the Prime Minister succeeds in withholding documents from Parliament into the next election, whether he wins or loses that election he will have succeeded in setting a new precedent for the powers of a Prime Minister’s Office. As seen from recent history in the United States, powers demanded by the executive under one party are seldom returned by the following government, even when said government campaigns on undoing these powers.
Power is corrupting and hard for men to resist. If the so-called war on terrorism continues, or the economic situation deteriorates into civil strife, a future Prime Minister may again prorogue Parliament with or without the confidence of Parliament. A future Prime Minister may also conduct any operations he or she arbitrarily deems vital national security in total secrecy from Parliament, claiming they have no legal obligation to reveal them.
All Canadians must demand a full public inquiry into the detainee affair, with parameters set by the majority of Parliament. Not only must this be done, to rein in one Prime Minister who has gone rogue, but to prevent any future Conservative/Liberal/NDP/Green Prime Minister from sharing in the perceived powers of this Prime Minister through the awful precedent he has set.