Thursday, May 06, 2010

On deadlines and governments

This gives me a nauseous feeling.
A deadline for political parties to settle an impasse over what access MPs will have to thousands of pages of documents related to Afghan detainee transfers might need extending, Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale says...
At some point you have to draw a clear and immovable line. The Speaker's deadline of two weeks to come to an agreement over documents appeared to be just such a thing. If the parties couldn't agree by then, then the Speaker would rule. No ands, ifs or buts. But what are we hearing from the Liberals? Discussion of requests for extensions and the like.

That's nice. Under normal circumstances an extension might be acceptable. But these are not normal circumstances. The Harper government had been called to task over its outright defiance of the House. It has been given a fortnight to find a way of complying with an order from Parliament. It's a bit like dealing with a student who fails to submit a term paper. A teacher or prof might give them a couple of days and send them a polite note mentioning that they haven't received their paper and pending their explanation, offer them a reasonable grace period for submission, after which they cannot accept it. And then for their trouble the student uses up the grace period, and then writes the instructor to demand more time. Except in this case it's not the student calling for further extension, but the instructor. Good grief, the Liberals and Opposition are in charge, they call the shots for the Conservatives. The intransigent pupil is calling the shots for the teachers.

Now, if the Opposition parties are the ones who cannot agree with each other, we have an Opposition that fucked up the implications of their own initiative. And parliament remains in dysfunction to the benefit of Harper. And, if I were to bet which Opposition party is most obstacular here, it would be the Liberals under the invertebratious Ignatieff whose cataract addled party haruspices seem able to distill nothing but policies of non-oppositional opposition no matter what happens around them [hmm, it might be sad fun to write about the social ontology of the LPC under Ignatieff...].

Anyway, back to my point. Enough is a fucking 'nough. It doesn't matter a whit that Ralph thinks an unprecendented situation calls for "some additional time to make further progress," the Harper crowd has had years to account for themselvs, which they've used to duck behind the troops and calling the Opposition reprehensible things like treasonous Taliban supporters and the like.

If the Harpergoons are still obstructing, it's their problem, not the Opposition's. If the Opposition are obstructing themselves, and somehow this leads to the Harper regime avoiding any sort of accountability over this, we have a very serious problem. Because the Opposition will have excised the teeth of the Speaker's precedent setting ruling by their failure to uphold it's implications. What the hell do we do with that?

No extensions.

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