Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Governor General Must Not Allow Stephen Harper to Dissolve Parliament - Again!

Despite the severity of the current situation, our media is clearly either providing cover, or have a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to our Parliamentary system.

Perhaps one of the most convoluted articles came from the Star Phoenix in Saskatchewan. Even the title is misleading: Iacobucci must determine role of Parliament

It is not up to the retired judge to determine the role of Parliament. That was determined in 1867 and I don't believe this gentleman was around then.

The author describes some of the delay tactics used by the Conservatives, including that of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson who 'appointed former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci to look into what sort of information parliamentarians should be permitted to see'.

This is not a determination that anyone needs to make, since it is already written into our constitution, that they are privy to all documentation, without exception. And as a retired judge, he has no legal authority to dictate to Parliament, the highest court in the land.

By refusing to turn over the uncensored documents Parliament has requested, there is a suggestion that this government is in contempt of the very body from which its power to govern stems ... Mr. Harper has suggested he was elected by Canadians and has no responsibility to answer to the House of Commons.

There is a lot of 'suggesting' going on here, but no facts. Mr. Harper does indeed have a responsibility to the House of Commons, and there is not a 'suggestion' of contempt, but a clear legal definition.

That question of the supremacy of Parliament is at the root of what former justice Iacobucci must decide, whether it is explicitly included in the terms of his appointment or not. For better or worse, Canadians have made it clear they are not particularly concerned over the fate of the Taliban prisoners who were captured by Canadian forces. But they also made it clear in polling that there were concerns over the nonchalant attitude the prime minister has shown over his constitutional and democratic obligations to Parliament and Canadians.

Now I don't know who wrote this, but they were 'Afghan Detainees', not necessarily 'Taliban'. In fact many of the people our troops are currently fighting, are villagers, who have taken up arms against what they see as an invading army. And according to those in the field, for every civilian who is killed or captured, Afghan families lose two young men to Taliban recruitment.

And I don't know who they have been talking to, but I can assure this author that Canadians very much do care, because at the end of the day, if we don't hold a full public inquiry, the International Criminal Courts will, and Canada could be charged with war crimes. And no amount of spin will work with that authority.
One supposes that, whether this pressure will result in a full-blown public inquiry, will have to be determined by public acceptance of the government's position.

If only it were that easy. It's no wonder Stephen Harper has a God complex, when there are those in the media constantly polishing his halo.

However, despite this country's journalistic deficit, this cannot be just swept under the rug. There are rumours that Harper may once again go to the Governor General and ask her to dissolve Parliament, if this becomes too hot to handle.

I tried to call today but her message box was full. I will try again tomorrow, and you should too.

Her phone number is 1-800-465-6890, or you can email her at info@gg.ca

I sent an email to my MP Peter Milliken (copied to Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton)

I am writing to express my concern with the recent Parliamentary crisis, and it is indeed a crisis. Our prime minister has suggested to the media that he was elected by Canadians and has no responsibility to answer to the House of Commons.

However, he was not elected by all Canadians, and his legitimacy is based not only on winning one of the 308 seats in the House, but on maintaining the confidence of the other 307 Members of Parliament.

As Canadians, when we elect the person who will represent us, we transfer a trust, and that trust is not limited to the party in power.

Mr. Harper is setting a very dangerous precedence, by withholding information; and while I have no doubt that former justice, Frank Iacobucci, is capable and above reproach; he does not trump the power of Parliament. The power that was given to them by us, and by the constitution of our country.

Therefore, I am requesting that you do not accept this alternative, but demand that all documents be given to the people we placed our trust in. If not, then I believe that our very democracy will no longer be legitimate.


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