Friday, November 12, 2010

Your Second Daily Dose of Stupidity - Harper's brand

According to the Generalissimo, Canadians don't need to have their Parliament approve the use, allocation, and designation of military forces on foreign soil - Harper and the PMO can do that all by themselves!

At least he was nice enough to offer to debate it (not that it'd apparently make a difference), though only if the Opposition has "something to add." What?

I'm not against keeping a training and policing force over in Afghanistan, to be honest. 1,000 is a bit much to me, but hey, I'm not a general and I don't know the roles needed to be filled, and how many folks you need to fill them. I trust our men and women in uniform will take to this task as brilliantly as they do everything else.

But, I mean, to not even discuss this in Parliament right off the bat seems like an idiotic move on the PM's part. Did he just wake up one day and declare democracy's dead, fuck Parliament, we're doing it my way? Hm...

This is essentially executive authorization of military force in spite of parliamentary decisions to the contrary. I don't remember reading anywhere in that 2007 motion about how Harper is allowed to choose to keep soldiers over there all by himself, in any sort of capacity. It goes, pullout by 2011, discuss rump force left behind for training and policing purposes in Parliament, like we do with every other single decision. I mean, seriously people, this is either laziness or stupidity. I'm not sure which is worse anymore.


  1. I must have missed the debate and the vote in the house when Chretien sent us in there back in 2001.

  2. Legally, as I understand it - though I'll add a caveat that this isn't my area of expertise - Chretien was acting within the law in '01, and Harper would be acting within the law now. A vote in Parliament is not a legal requirement for this sort of thing. (If somebody thinks I'm mistaken and can point to a law/Cdn court decision that says otherwise, I'll gladly listen.)

    Volkov, are you then saying that Rae (and I'm operating on the assumption that he's speaking on behalf of the Liberal Party here) is wrong when he says that a vote isn't necessary?

    My own bias is in favour of a parliamentary vote, but that's more of a political issue, not a legal one, and if both the government and the official opposition, who together make up a majority of seats in the House (I'll spare you any lame coalition jokes...) are in favour, then I'm not *as* fussed about the lack of a vote, though I'd still prefer one.

  3. Hi Volkov,
    I gotta agree with Mr. Hickman. Doesn't need to happen, especially if the troops are performing WITHIN the wire. Would be better if there was a vote, but then again we don't vote participation in UN peacekeeping missions, stationing troops in Europe with NATO and other organisations (such as the OSCE), or sending troops to, say, Haiti.

    Now, personally, I would say that that changes somewhat if the new mission involves even 1% of OUTSIDE the wire 'stuff.' Much more parliamentary scrutiny would be needed, including a debate and most likely a vote.

    But I think we are all getting our horses before the cart here - we don't know any details of Harper's policy-on-the-fly-on-a-new-mission. Let's wait and see the details, scrutinize them, and then oppose or support them in the context of what is right for the troops and the country...

    Doing it any other way would be irresponsible...

  4. Thanks william for your reasoned approach ... would someone please relieve RidOfBrian of his misery and agree to always disallow and / or delete his 12 year old like opinions ?? !! ??

  5. "Harper's policy-on-the-fly-on-a-new-mission"
    Again with the double standard.

    Did I miss the press conference or public mission briefing when Chretien put us in Afghanistan? Where was his "exit strategy"? The CBC didn't even bother to report on Afghanistan untill the Conservatives took command.

  6. ridenrain - closet Chr├ętien fan! Who knew?!?!

  7. How can he be a "Generalissimo" if the opposition can vote him out at the time of their choosing? Don't forget it is a minority.

  8. william, Jason,

    I'm not necessarily inclined to disagree, as it yes, it probably is more for a political/moral/democratic issue, than it is a legal one. However, the point still stands that with the 2007 extension, our Parliament made very clear the commitment and to the extent that commitment would go. It seems very natural that extending this commitment beyond what that hugest of Parliamentary issues, a confidence vote nonetheless, commits us to, deserves its time in Parliament, and it's time put forward in front of the Canadian people.

    As for Rae, no, I do not agree it does not need to be debated. It does. Maybe it's not required, but it's a need, at least in democratic principle. Thank you for both your posts, though, I appreciate every comment!


    Yes, you did miss it.

  9. William, perhaps you could rebut ridenrain rather than name-call? After all, it would appear to be a salient question as to whether or not Liberals had a vote in parliament when Prime Minister Chretien sent Canadians into combat in 2001 or when Martin sent them into combat in Kandahar. If Liberals did, indeed, allow a debate or a vote I'd love to be educated on the topic. If not then it would be a rather hypocritical position to hold today, don't you think?

  10. based on 30 Liberal MPs not showing to vote does it matter if we hold a vote anyways?

  11. CS,

    You're counting how many MPs don't show up for a vote that hasn't even been confirmed in its existence yet?

  12. In some circles we call it a pattern. The LPOC are very critical of many policies but when it may affect the confidence of the government they have been the most loyal supporters of the Conservative agenda since 2006. (This is not open for debate as the votes are public information recorded in the Hansard)

    In Q2- 2009 the LPOC out raised the CPC, it was the anomaly not the pattern. The last time the LPOC were able to be competitive in raising funds was 2003. The rule changes in 2004, 2006 have not benefited the LPOC.

    I look for actions that can be viewed as normal or consistent. Can the LPOC become critical and actually show up to block the government? Yes.

    Based on the pattern of the last four years from the LPOC? Not bloody likely.