Thursday, December 08, 2011

High times in Canadian politics

This quote from a Liberal Senator goes to a key question with this government:
Liberal Senator Robert Peterson said he thinks the closure motion was brought in because the Tories feared an extended debate over the court ruling. But he saw no practical way to derail the bill.

“If they're going to ignore the law, then I guess they'll ignore it,” he said. “It's a matter of whether we respect the laws of the land or we don't. I guess if you want to pick and choose which ones you like, which ones you don't like, I guess you can do that.

“When a federal judge says you've acted improperly and you can't do this, what more can you do?”
I think there's a slight tone of resignation there that doesn't necessarily reflect what's going on in Ottawa in response to the Conservative push to carry on with the Wheat Board legislation. It's noted in this iPolitics report that Liberal Senators attempted to argue the Senate shouldn't be hearing the bill given the Federal Court decision yesterday. Further, Frank Valeriote and James Cowan, opposition leader in the Senate, have raised a question of parliamentary privilege as another route of opposition:
“The government can change the law, but can’t breach the law when it changes it,” Valeriote said. He accused the government of violating the rights of MPs by forcing them to debate and vote on a bill that the court has found to be illegal.

The issue comes down to the rule of law, he told Speaker Andrew Scheer, who earlier rejected opposition complaints about the bill’s legality. Valeriote wants the matter referred to a committee.
It's another one of the grey areas exploited by Conservatives. Where a choice is permitted, because it is technically not prohibited, but where the choice should not be prudently exercised. There is the possibility that the Federal Court decision may ultimately rule the day following all appeals. So there's doubt presently cast over the government's course of action. Prudent governments respect accountability mechanisms and such legal decisions. This one clearly doesn't. See prorogation, winter of '09. I honestly don't know where this goes from here but it can be said that they're showing themselves, boldly, and reactions will be spawned.