Monday, April 26, 2010

Speaker Peter Milliken: EPIC FAIL.

The fact that this much time has passed since Peter Milliken was asked to rule on the Afghan detainee documents means he is already as appallingly useless as that worthless hack Michaelle Jean. That decision should have been an eight-second no-brainer. I don't see this ending well.

Dan Gardner has more.


Jim Parrett said...

It won't end well. Milliken is another pawn in the great con game. Good riddance Jean, and while we're at it, why don't you fuck off too, Milliken.

thwap said...

I can't fathom what's taking so long either.

Boris said...

I don't know. Maybe in the best case he's offering the Cons generous amounts of room to save themselves. In the worst case, he's too Canadian for Canada and is simply refusing to rock the boat, or likes the Cons and reckons that if he simply doesn't rule, the motion stays in limbo indefinitely. Who knows.

Scotian said...

As much as I want to see him rule the proper way (that being that under our system and all the precedents I know of that Parliament is supreme) I can also understand I think the problem he faces. The Speaker's position is to be kept as neutral/nonpartisan as possible, and any ruling on this point is going to be made into a major political bombshell. If he rules against the opposition, then he is seen as a tool of a government and acting against the history of our Parliament (which is why I said what I said earlier about which is the proper decision) and if he rules against the government he knows from watching how this government works that he and his office will be slimed as a Liberal partisan hack perverting the powers of his office. Milliken always struck me as a Speaker that wants to preserve the repute and credibility of his office more than anything else and he wants desperately to not be in this position where he knows that to the right thing will place his office under massive attack by a government that has repeatedly proven to be willing to lie and deceive Canadians about how Parliament works. So he has delayed to hope that the parties involved will remove this catch 22 from his plate.

Unfortunately for him I don't see that happening, and I don't see how he can rule in any other way than there exists a prima facie case for a breach of Parliamentary Privilege existing with the Afghan documents situation. While I feel sorry for him and this situation, since it is clear this cup will not be able to pass by him given the positions of all involved and the time he has given for it to happen it is time to bite the bullet and present the ugly truth, that we have a government appearing to be in contempt of Parliament and that a formal investigation of such is required and prepare for the CPC smear machine's efforts to slime him and the Office despite his being their own appointee.

Seriously, I really do feel sorry for him, he is in a can't win situation not just personally but for his Office as well, but ultimately he has to discharge the responsibilities of that Office in a correct manner to also maintain it's credibility, neutrality and honour and it is time he did so despite the firestorm of CPC reaction that decision will engender. For him to rule with the government would be on a par with Bush V Gore in terms of standing prior precedent on its head and I have a hard time seeing Millikan being willing to do such (at least of his own free will, that is, and if he didn't rule against the government here I personally would be wondering whether he was facing significant and serious duress) given his record of respecting precedent.

The Seer said...

I second Scotian's analysis. The Speaker finds himself in the spot heretofore occupied by Michaelle Jean.

thwap said...

It seems to me that it is clearly harper's fault for this series of constitutional crises and that it is up to Milliken to stand up and fight for his office.

His choice is to preserve some sort of aura of impartiality by compromising the purpose of the office, or to rule according to the precedents and the facts, that is "impartially" and let harper reap his whirlwind.

harper is an idiot who is on his way out the door and into a goddamned prison cell.

Scotian said...

The Seer:

While I thank you for seconding my analysis, I cannot agree with your equating the position Milliken has with the GG. She holds what is primarily a ceremonial position with very limited and narrowly defined powers, which means she is not expected to be placed in positions where she has to act in the political realm as a rule, whereas the role of the Speaker has a great deal more power and influence in the political realm by virtue of the powers and position/requirements of that Office. Also, there was some reasonable basis for Jean to act as she did despite the preferences of many in the public, but I cannot see how under the precedents of our Parliamentary system that Milliken can do anything but rule that Harper's government appears to be in contempt of Parliament given the long history of precedents regarding Parliamentary Privilege that we have in this country.

In many ways the situation is worse for Milliken than it ever was for Jean IMHO because of the fact that while we do not expect a GG to make decisions that fundamentally impact our political working environment we do expect, indeed require that of someone in the role of Speaker of the House.

That being said, the blame for this situation I would argue is entirely on the PM for creating this situation in the first place. Milliken has to follow the precedents that exist whenever he makes a ruling in the House, and the history of precedents regarding Parliamentary Privilege as I understand it makes it all but impossible for Milliken to do anything other than rule against the government in this case. It really sucks to be him right now IMHO, and I can understand why he doesn't want to act but really, he has to he cannot leave this grenade unpinned forever.

As bad as the choice was for Jean at least she had a choice available, I don't see how Milliken has any choice at all given precedent in this matter, which is why I cannot equate the two myself. Although in terms of the level of ugliness ruling against this government would buy in that they are similar, that much I would certainly agree about, which I have no doubt is why Milliken has been delaying as long as he has hoping something would break and let him escape the firestorm he knows this ruling would create.

Harper is proving to be as destructive to our Parliamentary system as I feared he would be and warned against for all these years. I really wish this was one time where I wasn't Cassandra...*sigh*

The Seer said...


I see Harper as a bully. He is at least trying to put the Speaker in the same spot as the GG. On reflection, I agree the Speaker has less room to move. One way or another, he's going to take a bullet. You would think any professional politician would identify with the speaker is this kind of a situation.

Scotian said...

Harper gives the term "bully" a bad name he is so abusive and destructive towards all that do not worship at his metaphorical feet. I suspect there are many professional politicians that can relate to Milliken's situation on the federal level, I even wouldn't be surprised to see the odd one or two even within the CPC caucus (not that we will ever hear about it while Harper is leader at the very minimum even if they do exist).

Harper I think is making a mistake though in thinking he can pressure Milliken to act the way he wants, while I think Milliken would prefer to not have to deal with this, I also think than when push comes to shove he will act first in accordance to his understanding of the responsibility of his Office and the precedents governing, it is consistent with how he has operated as Speaker throughout his time in that Office. I really don't get the sense that Milliken is the type to fold/back down to smear jobs when he thinks principles are at stake regarding the Office of Speaker, he always struck me as one of the most dedicated MPs in the House to preserving and performing the role of the Speaker in the highest and truest sense of the job's responsibilities, which is why I said earlier that I would seriously consider him under coercion of some type if he were to rule in the government's favour given the precedents involved here.

I really hope and pray that my read of Milliken is accurate, because the damage that would be done if he ruled for the government in this decision would be fundamentally catastrophic to accountable responsible government in our federal system, as Dr. Dawg pointed out a few days ago in a post on this topic.