Hidden Agenda redux!

Good times are here again! The Liberals have released an attack YouTube (not an ad, just earned media bait — full irony understood here). The video implies Canada is acting like a third world country:

“Cover-up: a description far more familiar to other countries, until now.”

Cover-ups. Where have we heard this before?

[It] shocked the Canadian public and brought to light internal problems in the Canadian [Forces]. Military leadership came into sharp rebuke after a CBC reporter received altered documents, leading to allegations of a cover up. Eventually a public inquiry was called. [It was] controversially cut short by the government…

Is this today’s story of alleged (yes alleged) torture in of Afghans in Afghanistan by Afghans? No. This was about Somalia. This was about Canadians. This was about a cover-up by a Liberal government.

Today, Afghan detainees, one allegedly beaten with a shoe by an Afghan prison guard, is (allegedly!) throwing the country into madness. This is not Canada’s Abu Ghraib as some Liberal strategists have regrettably suggested.

Get the scandal playbook! Look up Chapter 3: What did you know and when did you know it?

The Liberal ad continues:

“When questions arose about what he and his government knew about torture in Afghanistan, Stephen Harper shut down Parliament.”

Flashback to Michael Ignatieff in a New York Times magazine op-ed piece, May 2, 2004:

“To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war.”

And for full context, we know that Michael Ignatieff has since climbed down on the Iraq war, and called it a mistake. And torture? Well, that was intellectual pretzel making, his defenders will say. He has, afterall, grappled with the issue and has come around to the fact that torture is wrong. We think.

Kady O’Malley, then at Macleans got the federal party leaders’ current positions on torture before this latest resurgence of this old story,

Michael Ignatieff:

“His current view is the same view he held as a renowned human rights expert who helped author the Responsibility to Protect: he is opposed.”

Case closed? Seems good enough for some reporters.

And Stephen Harper?

“The Prime Minister unequivocally condemns torture in all its forms. Canada is a signatory to both the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

Good enough for others?

And the prorogation of Parliament? Was this to “cover-up torture” in Afghanistan? The Liberal line is a classic political attack from days gone by: “we don’t know, he just won’t say”.

Much has been said of prorogations and their history. Shutting down Parliament at the apparent whim of a Prime Minister should perhaps open up a broader debate about the use of this power, and those that prorogue may incur the political cost that goes along with it whether large or small. But while we’re on the topic of Parliament and the apparent upset that prorogation has caused some Canadians, surely the dissolution of Parliament at a Prime Minister’s whim should be much worse shouldn’t it?

Flashback to 2000, Jean Chretien in a comfortable majority not only padlocked parliament, shut it down, cast aside committees and put up a chain link fence, but he also fired all MPs from their job and made them reapply, just because Stockwell Day was weak and ready to be slaughtered (he was).

And to 2008 when Stephen Harper, despite his own fixed election date law, called an election citing the log jammed committees in Parliament. Granted, the law allowed for an early election to be called if Parliament could not proceed smoothly, but despite this subjective test for maneuvering within the law and straight into an election, opponents called it crass opportunism because Stephen Harper perceived Stephane Dion to be weak and ready to be slaughetered (he was).

So, does prorogation cause anger and if so, does it amount to a high political price to be paid by whomever invokes it? And yet, dissolution is in effect, Prorogation Plus. Prime Ministers have been accused of political opportunism in the past and will be accused of political opportunism in the future. And if opportunism is the currency of politics, who knew that in Canadian politics we’d see… politics?

The question remains. Is this an unusual time in Canadian politics? Does prorogation cause more upset than dissolution? Are we in a place where down is up and black is white in Canadian politics? If so, does Michael Ignatieff perceive the Prime Minister to be weak and ready to be slaughtered in an election?

I have my doubts.

And Michael Ignatieff? He has his own.



  • Gayle

    It is possible nothing is lost. That depends on whether they agree to reinstate the bills. They certainly do not have to do so.

    Harper knew that risk going in.

  • albertagirl

    So Gayle – you admit that if the opposition is so up in arms over the “lost bills”, voting to reinstate them, as is allowed in our parliamentary system, would be the best thing to do. Not voting to reinstate them, makes the opposition just as bad as the PM, agreed???

    Of course, this being a minority parliament, there always has been another option…funny that they scream and complain and yet when push comes to shove, one or more always end up voting with the government.

    Why is that Gayle? If Harper is a dictator and his last two prorogations were such an affront to democracy, voting him down would have been the best thing for the country, don't you think?

  • albertagirl

    “In fact, they can spend the next year criticizing them over and over and over again”

    But why Gayle, if this is such an affront to Democracy as I have been reading, if he is a tyrant and a dictator, why would the opposition not vote to defeat him. Seems like the logical thing to do given their outrage.

    Under our system of government, it is pretty simple – a miniorty parliament can be voted out in a vote of non confidence.

    I would say that calling him a dictator, saying that proroging is an affront to democracy would form the ultimate in non confidence.

    Given that IS our system of government, why would they keep criticizing him. Seems pretty simple to me?

  • Liz J

    If the Parliament buildings are padlocked is the Gotcha Game Coalition going to have to break in to get on with the good work they plan to do for the people of Canada? Love their undying dedication to their own narrow little agenda of slagging the government without a clue or idea to put forward as an alternative, nothing but a pack of hypocrites.

    It's a big loss to the Liberals to have their last little fiefdom with a bit of power taken away when the PM makes Senate appointments to fill the vacancies. That is really their big concern, it's not about prorogation.

  • Gayle

    “But why Gayle, if this is such an affront to Democracy as I have been reading, if he is a tyrant and a dictator, why would the opposition not vote to defeat him.”

    Do Canadians want an election right now? If not, then why should the opposition ignore the will of the people and force one.

    So I understand it would totally grant Harper's wish if the opposition forced an election, but it just ain't gonna happen.

  • http://twitter.com/bgrice Brian G. Rice

    There is a difference between attacking someone for their political actions (like proroguing parliament), and attacking someone personally because you don’t like them.

  • http://twitter.com/bgrice Brian G. Rice

    There is a difference between attacking someone for their political actions (like proroguing parliament), and attacking someone personally because you don’t like them.

  • Gayle

    “Not voting to reinstate them, makes the opposition just as bad as the PM, agreed???”

    Of course not. Why should the opposition cover Harper's mistakes for him? He screwed up. He should take responsibility.

    As I said, however, I hope the opposition says they will reinstate the bills, just as long as Harper comes clean with those documents, and stops playing games with the committee.

    As for your “put up or shut up” argument, that one is getting stale. Al you are doing is exposing your real fear – that this is just the tip of the iceburg, and so long as the opposition gets the opportunity to hammer away at Harper's facade, it is all downhill for the CPC.

    Surely you can see the prudent course is for the opposition to keep chipping away at that armour of his. They have Canadians' attention at the moment – they need to capitalize on that and expose all of Harper's broken promises on accountability. THAT is what is the best thing for the country. And THAT is what you are afraid of.

  • Gayle

    Keep telling yourself that Liz.

  • Joshua

    LOL!Where did they get that ad ,from Alex Jones Infowars?FEAR is a powerful ally!Doom and Gloom!The world is ending!I got a question.If it so bad why worry?LMAO!

  • Liz J

    The ad itself is very silly, had to come from the kids in the bunker. There is also something else that seems to be overlooked, even though it's a concoction, they have put Stephen Harper's name to it which is as inaccurate as as the ad itself and ever so juvenile. It's something one would expect from the grade school gang who put kick me signs on other kids backs for laughs.

  • m123T

    I think there will soon be a diagnosed disease, cured only by a PMSH majority. Harperphopia is preventable. Why do so many liberals and media suffer from RMS, remember that one of years ago.
    They have forgotten all the cancelled inquiries by Chretain, all the prorogations by libeals, all the un-necessary elections called, with 2 yrs left in their mandate and a majority. There are many other things they have forgotten, strangling a man on live tv, pepperspraying students who were against a dictator getting the royal treatment. Oh, and the adscam thingy.
    You can be cured, vote conservative. You have never told us why you have harperphopia, what has he done to you. Oh, I forgot, he caused your fathers cancer.

  • albertagirl

    Oh, I see, this is like – “he is going to wear the recession”?

    Yep that “chipping” away at the various pseudo scandals has been working well for them, hasn't it, Gayle.

    I guess you are right – they will keep asking questions because they are too afraid to pull the plug.

    You really are dumb Gayle.

  • east of eden

    Will, please stop parroting the “democracy” shtick. PM Harper shut down Parliament, not democracy. That is nothing but a sock-puppet speaking point. Now, personally, I would have preferred that PM Harper NOT prorogue and, instead, stand up to the hypocritical LPC and set the record straight once and for all. I personally was appalled by the prorogation but…PM Harper did NOT shut down democracy. PM Harper's main problem – and it annoys me to no end – is his insistence on taking the high road. It is obvious that the likes of the LPC, the NPD and Lizzie May, that he is dealing with down and dirty types who can't even see the high road. Time and again, the PM is attacked and time and again, he doesn't fight back. That is my one and only issue with PM Harper – and I am a total Conservative, Harper-backer.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    No personal attacks please.

    I believe that you think she is mistaken or uninformed.

  • kenn2

    Can you folks help clear this up? Whenever I read here that the MSM is Liberal-dominated, or at least Liberal-sympathetic, I look at organizations like the Globe and Mail (… Liberal?), the National Post (…Liberal?), the Toronto Sun (..Liberal?) and CanWest Global, started by the Asper family, and I try to imagine any of them as Liberal… and I fail utterly.

    Could it actually be that since you all hold right-wing views, that anyone or any media outlet that is moderate or centrist is always going to be at least a little to the left of you?

    Also, if Canada is tilting right, then why would the MSM choose to tilt “left” to get ratings? Wouldn't they need to tilt right? Oor don't Conservatives own TVs?

  • kenn2

    “To think that liberals have more concern for taliban terrorists that throw acid in girls faces, burn down schools so girls can't get an education, than they care for our troops is sickening.”

    That's still a lie and you know it.

  • kenn2

    Stephen – first Liz J and now batb have advised us that populist new media tricks like Facebook and youtube are beneath contempt.

    I disagree, I think you were doing something useful when you created those sites last year for the Coalition Crisis. Nonetheless, these have now been outed as cheap tricks, so please use caution in future.

    I sure hope they don't force you to shut down the blog.

  • albertagirl

    Gayle…that does not compute – the opposition are continually telling Canadians that he is a tyrant, a bully, an affront to democracy among many other things….

    So you are telling me that the opposition would rather leave a tyrant and a bully in office than vote to kick him out for the good of the country.

    Wow…sounds like they really aren't doing their jobs!

  • albertagirl

    Valid point Stephen…my apologies Gayle

  • Liz J

    You can retract that I ever said Facebook and You Tube are “beneath contempt”? That's not true at all.

    I was referring to the fact Liberals are broke, they can make full use of those entities because they are free, the cost of prime time mainstream media to spread their message however pathetic or whatever passes for fact in their minds is not something they can afford. They broke the bank on their last pair of silly ads.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense


    I don't know anyone who thinks they are getting a good value for what they pay for “TV”.

    Negative stories get ratings. According to Gallup Conservatives are in the majority in the US and if Fox is the only centre right News. Does it mean the centre left stations are money losers? Yes. (Need a link?)

    Our centre left tv stations are losing money, they have cable monopolies, until Satellite Packages and can't make enough money after paying for Wheel of Fortune and other US content. (Save local tv….yikes!)

    If you would like a better balanced topic current affairs show insightful try CTS -Michael Coren.

  • kenn2

    AG, when constructing a logical proof, your premises need to be true in order for the following conclusions to be true.

    “obviously he believes the troops tortured the Taliban.”
    – nobody, NOBODY is asserting that Cdn troops have tortured detainees. No-one. The question that needs to be answered is whether the Canadian government, when aware that Afghan authorities were likely to torture prisoners, still directed our troops to hand over detainees.

    “obviously he wants to protect the Taliban”
    - I'm ashamed that anyone in Canada would even joke about something like that, when referring to an elected official. Unfortunately some of you seem serious about this.

    I would have thought that someone purporting to support the troops would therefore care that the troops are receiving the best possible support from their government, and especially that their government has put them in a situation that is honourable and just.

    So, forgive me, but I happen to think that when a government (or its supporters) tries to deflect questions about the direction it has provided to its troops by claiming it's an attack on the troops themselves… those are the people who are truly doing our troops a disservice.

  • kenn2

    You said “Having to rely on Facebook and Youtube to spread lies on the cheap is really hitting the bottom in politics.”

    …and I took that to mean you felt that using these modes to get the message out was beneath contempt. My apologies if I got this wrong.

  • Gayle

    If it does not compute, maybe your brain is not working properly.

    Maybe go educate yourself on our system of government and get back to me.

  • Gayle

    Yes, we are both getting carried away here. Perhaps you should delete one of my responses to her above.

  • Gayle

    I don't think even Harper would call this one a “pseudo-scandal”. After all, he prorogued Parliament because he was afraid of what might come out, and he has been doing damage control ever since..

  • kenn2

    “I don't know anyone who thinks they are getting a good value for what they pay for “TV”.”

    - what are you referring to? No-one “pays” for TV in North America, the advertisers “pay” for TV. You might pay for enhanced reception (cable or dish) or for cable-only channels, but that's your choice. I'm currently getting about 15 crystal-clear digital HD channels from Canada and the US using an antenna made of coathangers and tinfoil. $0/month.

    Or are you referring to the CBC, who are but one part of the Canadian MSM ? You didn't mention any one of the examples I gave.

    “Our centre left tv stations are losing money”
    – News-flash – ALL local Canadian tv stations are losing money. It's the economy, plus the upheavals of media convergence we're currently experiencing.

    “If you would like a better balanced topic current affairs show insightful try CTS -Michael Coren.”
    - I quite respect Michael Coren, but neither he nor CTS would ever call themselves neutral, it IS the Crossroads Television System, home of Huntley St, their agenda is front and center, and they like it that way. And guess where CTS buys their US content? (oops I gave that away)

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    Media bias in the eye of the beholder, I doubt anyone can help you with your limitations in that regard.
    http://www.fairpress.org/identify.htm (May help)

    Michael Coren will invite all sides and have an heated debate. He has NOT stacked the show panel to push an left vs right agenda (bias).

    I don't watch the other shows. Your bunny ears is not typical (bad example) tin foil hat included.


    What is the average Cable/Tel/Int Bill (All in one?) $70-120 p/mth?

    Top TV Program Ratings

    Hope that helps.

  • kenn2

    I'm not the one claiming media bias, CS. Go fix your own limitations. Word to the wise, a website that has to call itself “fair” somethingorother is usually anything but.

    “Michael Coren will invite all sides and have an heated debate. He has NOT stacked the show panel to push an left vs right agenda.”

    I never said he did. But you usually know where he stands on something (which is also OK). So everyone but Michael stacks their panels? Is that what you're saying?

    “What is the average Cable/Tel/Int Bill (All in one?) $70-120 p/mth?”

    You're paying for tv delivery, not tv content (exception: cable-only channels: you're also paying for content). You do know the difference between content and delivery, right? BTW it's a simple UHF array in the attic, not bunny ears.

    I don't know what you were trying to help me with, but thanks anyway.

  • batb

    No, no, no, kenn2. You misunderstand.

    When I wrote “There is a way to deal with this situation which has nothing to do with cheap tricks like Facebook and youtube,” I wasn't putting down either Facebook or youtube. I don't “do” Facebook, but I really love youtube.

    The cheap trick is all to do with the Liberal$, not Facebook or youtube. They're supposed to be a serious political party, aren't they? Why not use Parliamentary means to go after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his CPC government? Well, we all know that the LPC is stone broke, so I guess that's why.

    But it leaves a tinny taste in one's mouth.

  • kenn2

    God I hate the attack-ad phase of these things. I hated the character-assassination ads run by CPC on Ignatieff, and I also hate this Liberal one.

    You ask -
    “The question remains. Is this an unusual time in Canadian politics? Does prorogation cause more upset than dissolution?”

    The question right now is not about prorogation per se; everyone including the gang here have ably shown that prorogation has been used frequently by both ruling clans. So let's toss that aside.

    It's more about how and when prorogation is used. Harper said publicly that he didn't think the public would much object to it. Sorry, wrong, they object. He gambled, and he's lost. The timing and optics of this snap prorogue simply stink, and he should have anticipated this.

    Anyway, he's just lost a hand, not the whole game, and after break he'll be playing with a stacked deck (Senate), so this will soon be forgotten in March, unless the detainee or other issue festers in the meantime.

    So… Harper can play the politics game as well as any Liberal now. Too bad, I thought he was going to clean things up.

  • kenn2

    It is the job of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to oppose. Call it hector, badger, whine, whimper, whinge, complain… it's still their job. Sauce for the goose, etc. So no sympathy from me on that score.

    Re accountability, I still can't quite fathom how sidestepping issues is an accepted form of that, but March will be here before we know it, recess will be over, and we'll hope for a different flavour of accountability at that time, I guess.

    “Why not use Parliamentary means to go after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his CPC government?”

    …but…but… Parliament's closed! Oh you mean the “call-an-election” thing… no! you first!

    it's like 2 ten-year-olds on the 3m dive board… who will jump first? Hey, quit shovin'!

  • batb

    “It is the job of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to oppose. “


    It's their job to oppose, of course, but constructively, because as part of the government of Canada one of their first priorities is to forward the business of Parliament for the good of all Canadians. This is what the CPC did when they were in Opposition. They suggested alternate policies when they disagreed with the way the Liberal$ were governing — many of those policies then taken up by the LPC as their own.

    Not so with the Liberal$ in Opposition. It's clear that their sole agenda is to usurp power in the HOC. Their lust for power is obscene, largely because they seem to care nothing for Canadians and their families who are being greatly challenged by the current global vulnerability. We don't hear the LPC members suggesting policies to help Canadians. All we hear is frontal attacks on our duly elected Prime Minister and his MPs. That's not being Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, which is why I call them HM's Disloyal Opposition. There's a vast difference.

    For years, the Liberal$ have had AMPLE OPPORTUNITY to unseat PMSH and his government — they don't need the next three weeks. Parliament is prorogued for three weeks, not three months which the rabid members of the LPC and their toadies in the media keep shouting. Three weeks. The HOC would be going back on January 25, Parliament was going to be closed for the two weeks of the Olympics anyway, the House is going back on March 3rd — so, do the math.

    The way the heckling hyenas in the Opposition have been behaving — shouting matches in the HOC, no constructive ideas about how Parliamentary business can move forward FOR THE GOOD OF CANADIANS — it's a good thing that PMSH is resetting the government. It's a much-needed time-out. As a teacher, I'd sure as heck time out clowns who behaved like the Liberal MPs.

    The LPC are like bullies who are used to getting their way and then are gobsmacked — gobsmacked, I tells ya'! — when someone challenges them. Scratch a bully and you'll always find a coward. The LPC MPs are some of the most cowardly, dishonourable, rabble I've ever seen. And, I've been around the block.

  • kenn2

    Ok. Got it. Now tell me about the part where Harper takes the One True Ring and tosses into Mount Doom.

  • albertagirl

    and with a “go educate yourself” Gayle shuts down debate…

    Nice Gayle…unfortuantely, you are making no sense saying it is better for the country, a country that seemingly thinks the PM is a dictator, to keep him in power, even though they have all the power to kick him out, just to keep asking him questions.

    Hmmm – and I am the one that needs to educate myself?

  • albertagirl

    Sorry Ken, but when he says that we need to investigate “the conduct of our troops in the field”, it is a bit of a stretch that he is talking about the Conservative government.

    And Ken…just what about what the Liberal government knew, after all, they were the ones that had no policies…how come you guys are just hammering away at the Tories.

  • Liz J

    Yeah, you did get it wrong, misunderstood, whatever. Take your time, it's a tough job defending the Liberals. It's a tough job defending their pathetic performance as Official Opposition. Their role includes criticism of the the governing party when they feel they have a better alternative and put it forward. You know very well that's not been the case with this latest concoction of the LPC under the pseudo leadership of Ignatieff, a man without leadership experience and a short term of on the job training in politics.

    One would assume a clever person, as Ignatieff is touted as being, would at least be able tussle with ego and opportunism and have common sense and fairness come out on top. It is increasingly obvious he is not fit to take on the top job judging by his leadership of the LPC and his pathetic performance as Opposition leader.

  • kenn2

    “the conduct of our troops in the field”

    I know that you wouldn't just pull a quote and use it out of context, so I'll wait for you to provide a link to this.


  • albertagirl

    Ken – you do know that a dissolution results in an election, right.

    Prorogation is used to end a session.


    Effects of Prorogation
    Prorogation of a session brings to an end all proceedings before Parliament. With certain exceptions, unfinished business “dies” on the Order Paper and must be started anew in a subsequent session.

    Bills which have not received Royal Assent before prorogation are “entirely terminated” and, in order to be proceeded with in the new session, must be reintroduced as if they had never existed.[113]

    Dissolution terminates a Parliament, ending all business in the Senate and in the House of Commons, and is followed by a general election

    So are you saying he should have disolved the sitting?

  • albertagirl

    No problem Kenn


    “Ignatieff said the documents would shed light on such crucial matters as whether Canada has respected international law and human rights, “the conduct of our troops in the field” and the conduct of the government which appears to have ignored warnings about torture”

    second last paragraph in the article – to make it easy

  • kenn2

    There are several tools in the ole parliamentary governing toolbox:
    - dissolution
    - prorogation
    - suspension of Parliament (a pause like prorogation, but doesn't require tossing out incomplete bills and ongoing work)
    - and, of course, an oldie but a goodie – continuing to govern.

    Harper made his choice. He gets to wear it. Til March, anyways.

  • albertagirl

    Did you go to the parliamentary site and read the effects of each of the various “tools”

    The only tool that allows a new budget is prorogation

    Dissolution results in an election

  • kenn2

    Thanks. It also isn't a complete verbatim quote, just a reporter's paraphrasing, with the same quote stuck in the middle, but I'm willing to accept it as accurate.

    You do know that this refers to the documents requested by Commons committee that Harper is refusing to release, right? From the same article: “And he lambasted Harper for proroguing rather than complying with a Commons resolution demanding that the government turn over documents related to torture accusations levelled by diplomat Richard Colvin.”

    Ignatieff is completely talking about the Conservative government. The documents in question would no doubt exonerate the Canadian troops, like we've heard all along from other sources, but by failing to release them, Harper himself has left the question of troop conduct spinning in the air. And then the CPC tries to stick this on the Liberals. Despicable. Have we mentioned how MacKay has lied to the HoC on this?

    No matter how you slice and dice it, there are no allegations of wrongdoing against Canadian troops and no-one is calling for an investigation of the troops.

  • albertagirl

    And did you address my point about the lack of policy in place when the CPC came to power and what the Liberal government knew about detainee transfer?

    WE will agree to disagree on this one…I am sorry, but I do not care one iota if the Afgan police beat a murderer with a shoe.

    This is a witch hunt, plain and simple.

  • Liz J

    You are right, albertagirl, it's a witch hunt, the prorogation has created a witch hunt interruptus, that's what has them all in a tizzy, all frustrated their gotcha game moves got put on hold.

  • kenn2

    I agree that the detainee transfer agreement initially created by the outgoing Liberal government is part of the issue. Further, I've said all along that I don't think there's that serious an issue at the heart of this, and that the Harper government could easily clear themselves on this. But they haven't, it's just been smear, deny, prorogue.

    This is about the Conservative government, and actually has f*ck all to do with what one Afghan did to another with his footwear. So on that, I don't care either.

    I'd be content to drop this too, but every time someone here yells “they's attackin' our troops! – they loves the Taliban!”, my blood boils.

    Just let the damn witch out of the cupboard, already.

  • albertagirl

    You realize that this can be brought forward after March 3, don't you?

    So really, nothing is lost

  • kenn2

    help! I'm running out of column space! :P

  • Gayle

    Ha ha ha

    You seem unable to grasp the fact the opposition may criticize without forcing an election.

    This whole “I dare you to call an election” crap is all about having an election when it is most advantageous to Harper. Stop pretending it is anything else.

    The opposition will criticize – and when the country is ready they will force an election – but not before the country is ready. It is all about that whole “listening to the people” stuff you and yours used to think was the way things should be run.