Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Conservatives sure like their manufactured crises

They're threatening to ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament on the extraordinary basis that the government is unable to work if the Senate fails to pass their crime legislation by March 1st. A few points here...

This would seem to violate the Harper government's own legislation preventing the government from manufacturing its own defeat. They are not supposed to be in the business of bringing about an election until the next fixed election date in 2009. To manufacture this crisis in government for their own political benefit shows that there are few lengths to which they won't go, even in order to circumvent laws of their own doing. The Governor General should get some legal advice, now, on her options here, including the option to say a firm no to this nonsense.

To equate the present situation to the Senate's failure to pass the Free Trade Agreement in 1988 smacks of desperation. The Conservatives in 1988 had a majority in the House of Commons, they don't now. And this domestic crime legislation is in no way comparable in magnitude to an international trade treaty over which there were significant political differences and which warranted an election. There is support for the majority of the components of this crime legislation, the Senate is just looking at legitimate questions of constitutional scrutiny.

Let's say the Senate finishes its work by mid-March...then what's the rush? Does somebody turn into a pumpkin on March 1st if the Senate doesn't pass the bill by then? Where's the urgent hue and cry from the Canadian public on this? It's not there.

Not to mention the Conservatives own responsibility for the delay of a bill they claim to be so urgent. They're the ones who put an end to the last Parliamentary session because they were getting hammered on the Afghan detainee issue. And they're transparently citing weekends and holidays in their tally of "delay" days against the Senate.
But Liberal Senate Leader Celine Hervieux-Payette pointed out that the Senate committee studying the bill has agreed to extend its hours and sit through a planned break in mid-February.

Opposition politicians also note that four of the five bills reintroduced last fall were on track to pass last spring - until the Conservatives opted to cut the parliamentary session short and begin a fresh one.

Van Loan dodged those questions and how forcing an early election, once again derailing legislation, would help the suddenly urgent bills pass any faster.

The Tories let months pass after the introduction of the crime bills in their original form, Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs noted.
It's ludicrous.

With all of the issues at the forefront of our public conscious right now, a crime bill is what they're seeking to die on? And manufacture a crisis in government in order to get their election? Some days it just feels like these guys are too much. Too clever by half in their machinations. This definitely feels like one of those days.