Friday, March 05, 2010

Do not taunt Derek Lee, Super Careful MP

Update (3:00 p.m.): Update in form of new post coming....

Is the Afghan detainee document showdown to begin today? Harper stuck to his refusal to release the documents in Question Period yesterday. Sounds like today is the day for Derek Lee, Super Careful MP™, to introduce his motion:
A Liberal MP is planning to introduce a motion, as early as Friday, asking fellow MPs to find the government in contempt of Parliament. The motion would also authorize parliamentary officers to seize all documents pertaining to the question of whether enemy prisoners taken by Canadian soldiers were tortured by Afghan authorities.
Here is the order of business for Friday up in the big house. Looks like high noonish could be the time for the motion.

A reminder...Derek Lee, Super Careful MP™, has gone out of his way to label this motion as a normal exercise of Parliament's powers. As in, this is not a confidence vote and here, let me show you the many ways in which it is not. As in, a provision in the motion itself which explicitly states it is not. As in, a letter to the Governor General repeating, in his view, that the motion is not of the confidence variety. He has also been careful publicly not to escalate this needlessly:
"I am pretty sure as an elected politician now that Canadians don’t want an election," Ontario MP Derek Lee told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday. "But if there's going to be one, it has to be a big issue, it has to be a clear issue, there has to be an impasse that's unresolvable in the House and I don’t quite see that yet."

Lee said he doesn't think it's necessary to "go to the wall" on this.

"I think that we can all walk and chew gum at the same time, and asserting a parliamentary procedural authority is probably not something that Canadians want to go to an election at this time."
...
"This is not a question of confidence in the government," Lee said. "It’s a question of someone asserting his or her own constitutional right. And I am doing that for Canadians on behalf of Parliament.
We are not calling him Super Careful MP™ for no reason. He is clearly not going to the mattresses.

Now all of this does not preclude someone of a less careful demeanour from stomping all over the peaceful orderliness of the issue's advancement thus far. We know who that someone might be. But if Lee continues keeping his head down and going about his business, the reasonableness and sheer geekiness of it all might catch on. As in, the public will ask, this is something Mr. Harper wants to go to war on? Que? Shiny happy post-Olympic period and all, does not compute, please work it out. Mr. Harper, in this post-prorogation period, might want to remember, as Frank Graves said, "...the suspension “lit the fuse on a wide range of growing anxieties.”" Who will be deemed the more likely fuse-lighter, Lee or Harper?

We shall see what happens, if indeed this motion is introduced today, that is. It could be the beginning of the end of this issue, or something like that.