Quote: Originally Posted by pegger
True - I actually thought Milliken's response was measured and very non-partisan - he found for the government in some cases, and against in others - and at the end he called them all (both sides) on their childish antics, and basically told them to grow up and work together.
I'm going to disagree here. Though he tried very hard to appear to be fair. There are portions of his findings I find troubling.
Here are two quotes of the comments in question...
As to the procedural validity of the order, as well as its form, the Chair wishes to draw the attention of the House to Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, fourth edition, which states at pages 245 and 246:
Previous to the session of 1876, it was customary to move for all papers by address to the Governor General, but since that time the regular practice of the English houses has been followed. It is now the usage to move for addresses only with respect to matters affecting imperial interests, the royal prerogative or the Governor in Council. On the other hand, it is the constitutional right of either House to ask for such information as it can directly obtain by its own order from any department or officer of the government...papers may be directly ordered when they relate to canals and railways, post office, customs, militia, fisheries, dismissal of public officers, harbours and public works and other matters under the immediate control and direction of the different departments of the government.
As this passage makes clear, an order is issued when seeking papers that fall under the “immediate control and direction of the different departments of the government”. As an example, in the case of the documents related to the Chief of the Defence Staff referred to by the parliamentary secretary, it is simply not credible to claim that these documents are not under the control of the government.
The hon. member for Kootenay--Columbia argued that even if the documents were provided to the committee, the committee could not, given their sensitive nature, make use of them publicly. However, I cannot agree with his conclusion that this obviates the government's requirement to provide the documents ordered by the House. To accept such a notion would completely undermine the importance of the role of parliamentarians in holding the government to account.
What's being negated here, and I may be wrong, is the fact that not all the documentation, is related to specific acts by Federal bodies controlled by the gov't. Some of these documents, by shear deductive reasoning, will undoubtedly pertain to persons and objectives under control or duty to other national organizations and services.
It possibly makes those documents sensitive in nature and therefore subject to the Security of Information Act. I realize how convenient that is. But the gov't has already provided volumes of documents, and has forwarded the rest to retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci, for review. Which I view as a sincere attempt to gather a ruling on whether or not the documents in question can be released without threatening national security, or breaching the rights of groups/organizations, not falling under the control of the Gov't of Canada.
In this quote he makes a finding, on the claims, without knowing what's in the documentation...
The parliamentary secretary has referred to certain rulings of my predecessors in making his arguments and has also provided additional material in support of his contention. The Chair has examined these precedents—a ruling from 1959 by Mr. Speaker Michener and a ruling from 1982 by Madam Speaker Sauvť—but is not convinced that they directly support the particular circumstances faced by the House in this case.
This only furthers my suspicion that he is not acting in a clearly non partisan manner. He would have to be privy to the content of the documents to make that assertion.
I find it pathetic that our parliament has gotten to this situation - and I bet you can guess who I hold primarily responsable for that, but at the end of the day the ruling was the right one.
I too find it pathetic. And Iflatly blame all the parties involved. The Gov't should have been more forth coming in it's transparency and made known its intent from the get go. The oppositions is merely using an antiquated law to force the gov't to run with a glass of water, in hopes something will spill so they have something to point at.
My concern now is that in 2 weeks - what will play out - which side will step up and be more "grown up" and which go after cheap political shots (which all parties seem more apt to go towards).
If I'm right, this may actually lead to the Supreme Court and rightly so. Since most of the allegations levied at the gov't by the Liberal opposition, like intimidation and witness tampering, were shot down by Milliken. It's safe to bet that the gov't really isn't hiding anything that shouldn't be. They are, IMHO, simply trying to protect interests of national security and the security of parties our gov't agencies and Forces work in concert with.
Last edited by CDNBear; Apr 28th, 2010 at 08:18 AM..