Sunday, March 07, 2010

Norman Spector: Lying douchebag?

In order to give this issue the attention it warrants, let's fire up a new blog post and recap the Globe's Norman Spector:

On CBC radio last week, Liberal MP Derek Lee argued strenuously that he and any of his colleagues had the right to obtain any Afghan detainee document, and that MPs also had the right to make the documents public. No ifs, no doubts and no restrictions, according to Mr. Lee.

The question is simple: Did Lee really make those claims? Lines are open, and operators are standing by to describe Norman Spector as a douchebag.

AND IN CONCLUSION, I think we've safely established that Norman Spector is, in fact, a lying douchebag and, as "liberal supporter" suggests and as we've used as analogy a number of times here at CC HQ, he is playing the part of Dilbert's "Bizarre Absolute Guy":

Sane person: "I think Parliament has the right to request any unredacted documents it wants, and have those documents examined by a select committee with the proper security clearance."

Norman Sphincter: "Oh, so you think any MP has the right to see whatever he wants and show it to the public?"

Sane person: "Um, you just took what I said and changed it into a really stupid, bizarre absolute."

Norman Sphincter: "Oh, so I change everything you say!?!?"

Sadly, I suspect that's pretty much what happened.


Ti-Guy said...

No, he didn't. Speculum is confusing the issue by making it sound as if the Opposition has a special right to demand things and make them public, when all Derek Lee was talking about was the power of Parliament as a whole, which includes the Conservative caucus. It ends up sounding unfair/undemocratic because Canadians have become so accustomed to majority governments to the extent that the will of the Parliament and the party in power are usually one and the same. But that's not the case with minority governments.

CC said...

In other words, Spector lied. Quelle surprise.

Dr.Dawg said...

There's a hell of a lot of difference between Parliament deciding as a Parliament to make things public--that's classic Parliamentary supremacy--and individual MPs doing so. Spector should know better.

liberal supporter said...

It seems this is the latest talking point. I had a similar canard tossed at me on Friday, three comments reproduced below, responding to someone who calls himself "Shadow". My apologies for using something I've seen here, it just seemed to fit so well:

======== eric 03-05
Releasing all this information to every MP and senator is just too dangerous.
Who wants to release it to every MP and Senator?

But it gave me a laugh, because it reminds me of the Bizarre Absolute Guy:
Dilbert: We should add this feature to our product to make it more useful.
"Bizarre Absolute" Guy: "Are you telling me that not one person on earth will use our product without that feature?!!"
Dilbert: "You just changed what I said into a bizarre absolute."
"BA" Guy: "Oh, I change everything you say?!"

============= eric 03-05
Liberal Supporter that's how the law works.
Thank you for your assertion.

If we're to believe Liberals like Errol Mendes that parliament's subpeona rights are unlimited and cannot be constrained even by laws parliament itself has passed then an individual MP would have just as much right to know as any other.
I'm glad I dug up that Bizarre Absolute Guy stuff, because you just did it again. Parliament, by a majority vote, has demanded documents be released to a committee. You are now trying to make it sound like an individual MP could demand documents as well. But that would be making it a Bizarre Absolute, no?

That's privilege, either everyone has it or they don't.
Your assertion does not make that so. Parliament can make laws. Individual MPs cannot.

=========== eric 03-05
Peter i'm glad we're in agreement and both of us are in disagreement with Liberal Supporter.
No, I don't think Peter agrees with you, Bizarre Absolute Guy.

Either all 308 MPs and 100+ senators would potentially have the complete and unfettered acsess to everything CSIS and the military knows or it is possible to construct legal limits around what parliamentarians can know.
No, B.A.G., a majority of Parliament must vote to demand whatever documents they want. And there is no quarrel with only showing these documents in camera, or to people who have signed security agreements, or otherwise requiring some security clearance. Your either-or case is a Bizarre Absolute.

You seem to welcome a completely open and transparent executive.
I do too, unless of course, it is taken to the Bizarre Absolute extreme. For example, complete openness and transparency still allows you to go to the bathroom in private. And it allows you to require certain details to be revealed only in a closed meeting and to require security agreements to be in place.

Frankly i'm terrified by the notion.
Not surprising, the way you are framing it. However, it is even more terrifying if our elected Parliament cannot demand to know details of what the government is doing.

KEvron said...

"....according to Mr. Lee"

i bet twats jizzed his sansabelts when he read that.


Ti-Guy said...


Ha! Perfect.