After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Coyne to Harper: The Speaker's ruling *IS* the only applicable law, period!

For once in my life I can say I am in perfect agreement with everything Andrew Coyne has written in this piece. Something those arguing Harper has some sort of statutory legal duty to protect documents are not understanding (intentionally or not I really don't know, and since it matters not at the practical level I don't really care at this point) is that the power of government is derived from the Parliament, not the other way around. Harper is PM because he commands the plurality of seats, he was not elected PM, he was elected a MEMBER of PARLIAMENT who then as the leader of the party which garnered the most seats was given the chance to form the government and hold it by showing it has the confidence of the House, which this government has managed to date.

What this shows is that the powers he holds as PM and his government has comes from the institution of Parliament itself first, and therefore no government can arbitrarily decide it has powers to dictate to Parliament itself, only Parliament can do that with a majority of the MPs voting for explicit limitations on its own powers, something which has NEVER happened in terms of the power to compel release of any government documents, period, end of sentence, full stop. Therefore the only law Harper as PM has to accept is controlling at this point is the ruling of the Speaker of the House. If he does not then he is fundamentally breaking the law of this land, the fundamental process by which our government is designed by our Constitution to operate, and is showing the most naked contempt for the rule of law applying to his Office that any PM in our history has shown.

This went beyond a partisan issue with this ruling people, at least for anyone that cares about our system of government, how it works, and the fundamental laws and processes by which we govern ourselves. Anyone that is a real political conservative (as in the non party/partisan kind) that is not horrified by what Harper appears to be saying/doing now that this ruling has been made either does not understand how our system of government works or has allowed their personal biases against other parties and political philosophies/ideologies to blind themselves to what is happening here.

I have always opposed Harper not because I was a party partisan of anyone, but because I feared the damage he would do with dangerous precedent setting actions at the process level to how we governed ourselves, anyone that had followed his speeches and writings throughout his adult life could see that he held how we operate as a system of government in naked contempt. Here we have the proof positive of this, where he is saying that his concerns about security trump the fundamental law of the land even after being told in no uncertain terms that he is completely wrong, as Coyne points out in this article as shown in the ruling by the Speaker.

Now, what I really find a terrifying thought is that Harper is doing this knowingly and that he knows he is legally in the wrong, but thinks he can slip it past the wider public as some arcane niggling little piece of nonsense that doesn't really matter, and given how he has been able to sell some of his other misrepresentations about how Parliament works in the past he may be right. That reflects poorly on we the citizens and the media we rely to keep us properly informed about such matters in a factually correct manner. After all, no democracy (whatever the model) works if the citizenry fails to be informed about not just basic political issues and personalities but also in how we operate our governments.

What that doesn't change is that Harper is committing a power grab in our system worse than any of his predecessors in that Office, and when you consider some of the other things done in our political history that is no small thing at all. That there are so many people out there that refuse to understand/accept that Harper is committing serious illegality in his argument, and if he refuses to completely comply with the Speaker's ruling and claims to do so would somehow be breaking the law shows to me at least too many people that are either ignorant of some basic civics (bad enough) or worse know and don't care because they place their partisanship ahead of the law (which is far worse and more contemptible).

This goes to the core of the "hidden agenda" argument about Harper, it was never so much about his ideology, it was about his naked contempt for the way in which we govern ourselves under our Constitution and Parliamentary processes and his desires to change things to suit his political/ideological preferences whether or not the processes and limits of our system of government permitted it or not. This is only the most egregious case of his placing his desires above our way of governing, not the first, but it is clearly the most dangerous to date as well. I really wish more people would understand that Harper is not a conservative by any rational sense of the word, he is something foreign to the concept in any Canadian rooted sense of the term, indeed he betrays the honourable legacy of Canadian conservativism with this action and it is too bad there are as many self described conservatives that fail to grasp this basic reality. At least Andrew Coyne clearly does.

Now I know I will likely continue to be branded just another partisan for writing this, and I don't really care because I know I am not. I am someone that always cared about the process side of things as much as the policy side, and I say this, what Harper is doing here is far worse than any other scandal in our history. This kind of naked contempt for the basic operating principles of our government is far worse than any money scandal in our history by anyone, it is the worst abuse of power scandal I know of in our history by anyone at the federal level let alone an actual sitting Prime Minister. To stay silent about such when you see it happening before your eyes is to be selling out our history and our honour as a nation and as a people, pure and simple, and this would be true no matter what the political philosophy of the person attempting to do what Harper is doing.

I place my honour ahead of any partisanship in such matters, and I know that most Canadians would as well if they actually understood the argument and issues involved here as clearly as Coyne has shown he does. We can only hope that if Harper goes down this road any further that the Opposition leaders and members and the responsible political journalists (not opinion writers but those that are supposed to be more concerned with the facts, you know journalists/reporters) of this nation make this all clear, because it really is about as important a political issue as any this nation has ever faced in its history, no ifs ands or buts about it. It would also help that those that understand this write to their local papers and media sources about this too to try and help make sure that this is treated with all the serious consideration it truly deserves.


Blogger A Political Junkie said...

Well written piece.

Stephen Harper has always thought he was smarter than average as reflected in this comment by Preston Manning:

“Stephen had difficulty accepting that there might be a few other people (not many, perhaps, but a few) who were as smart as he was with respect to policy and strategy. And Stephen, at this point, was not really prepared to be a team player or team builder.”

This still rings true today and I think forms the core of his character.

What has always frightened me about Mr. Harper was his strong leaning as an Alberta separatist as reflected in his "firewall letter" when he was with the National Citizen's Coalition. This letter is rarely mentioned by the media, and despite my best efforts, never brought up in discussion by the Opposition. I have always felt that this letter reflects the true, apolitical, pre-partisan Harper who now represents himself as a born-again federalist, making himself palatable to the voting public, especially in eastern and central Canada.

Apparently, he has fooled some of the people some of the time.

Sun May 02, 10:39:00 AM 2010  

Post a Comment

<< Home