I own a car. For the sake of argument, let's imagine that I don't take terrifically good care of it. Maybe I should wash it more often. Change the oil more frequently. Touch up those growing rust spots, that sort of thing. Sure, that would be nice, but in the end, it's my car -- I own it and, ultimately, I am the final voice of authority when it comes to what is to be done to it and with it. With me so far?
One day my car is stolen. I report it to the authorities and, in short order, they locate it and tell me where to come get it from the thief's property. I show up and, sure enough, an officer is there, as well as the thief, who is, oddly, working on my car in his driveway. OK, that's weird, I think, but I'm happy to be getting my wheels back. At which point, things get a bit strange.
I go up to the officer and the thief, fully expecting to reclaim my property, but the thief is telling the officer that, you know, I don't take proper care of my car and that's a shame. If it were him, things would be different. And the officer, bizarrely, is nodding his head in agreement. I demand my car back. The thief counters that, if he's allowed to keep it, it will get better care. What the fuck?
It's my car, I bellow to the officer. Mine. Yes, yes, he understands that and no one is disputing the ownership, but maybe, if the thief and I can work something out -- perhaps a compromise of some kind -- I can get the car most of the time, while he can have it on weekends in exchange for doing maintenance. While I stand there, stunned, the officer tells me that he'll give us a couple weeks to see if we can't come to some kind of arrangement, then walks away.
Are you starting to see why I think Speaker Peter Milliken is such a useless ass?
The resolution of my car issue is based on only one thing -- ownership. I own it, therefore, I can do with it what I will. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks they can do a better job, and that they will clean it, and polish it, and love it, and call it "George." Nobody gives a fuck about any of that. My car. Ownership trumps all. And now you see how badly Peter Milliken fucked up that recent ruling on the Afghan detainee documents.
All he had to do was rule on a point of privilege. That's it. That's all. No one wanted to know any more from him than that. No one wanted 45 minutes of patronizing, fatherly soliloquy. What they wanted was simply this definitive sentence:
"The Chair must conclude that it is within the powers of the House of Commons to ask for the documents sought in the December 10 order it adopted."
That's it. All Milliken needed was to say those words, and finish with, "OK, we're done here, thanks for coming." Finished. Rule for the Opposition, then check his watch to see if he could still make Happy Hour down at the Golden Corral. But, no, he couldn't shut the fuck up, and proceeded to, well, fuck things up by waffling all over the goddamned place:
Now, it seems to me, that the issue before us is this: is it possible to put into place a mechanism by which these documents could be made available to the House without compromising the security and confidentiality of the information they contain? In other words, is it possible for the two sides, working together in the best interest of the Canadians they serve, to devise a means where both their concerns are met?
Shut the hell up, Peter. No one asked you to pass judgment on who you thought might look after that information better, or who might treat it more deferentially, or who might stroke it, and love it, and call it "George." All you were asked to do, Peter, was rule on a point of privilege, then shut the fucking hell up. But, no, it was just too tempting to yammer on tediously about compromise and playing nice and who were the more responsible adults.
That's why Peter Milliken pooched this ruling so monstrously. He had the chance to keep it short and sweet and definitive. Instead, he told the Opposition that, well, sure it was their car, but let's see if we can't come to an amicable time-sharing arrangement with the guy who stole it. Dumb bastard. And given how stupidly waffly Milliken was, I will bet my left nad that it is exactly that waffling that will be the hook on which the Harpercrats will hang their inevitable argument that they won't be handing anything over. Because Milliken gave them an out.
You think I overreact? Who wants to take that bet? Who wants a piece of that action? I'll give you odds.
P.S. Check back in at most a week and a half to learn that I am, once again, absolutely right about absolutely everything all of the time. It's a curse.