They’re Baaaack… Canada and the Constitution

Harper in Parliament
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Maple Leaf that says "Oh! Canada"Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s premature prorogation is over. What did it accomplish? Lots of stress free face time at the Olympics? The public has forgotten all about prorogation, government waste, complicity in war crimes… Have we? I know I haven’t.

Amir Attaran, a Law Professor at the University of Ottawa emphatically states “The first thing is that the government should hand over the documents.”

portait of Attaran
University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran. Photo: Tony Fouhse

Attaran says that “National Security’ is not a legally allowable reason to deny Parliament to access the requested documents.

Parliament is guaranteed access to uncensored documents under the Canadian Constitution.

The government’s ploy to call in a retired judge to make a ruling is a ploy, because being retired he has no authority. In fact, since the Government is paying the judge, he is an employee.

This has ceased to being about Afghan Detainees and whether they are tortured. What is at stake here is extremely high constitutional principle, about whether we are a democracy in which Parliament is supreme, or whether we are inching towards something that is slightly dangerously tyrannical. In which a sitting government can say “parliament, Tough Luck, your priviledges, your constitutional powers don’t matter.”

— Attaran

A question of war crimes

The power to call for persons, papers and records is absolute

It is very clear. The government must comply with the law.

The Rights to Institute Inquiries, to Require the Attendance of Witnesses and to Order the Production of Documents

The power to send for persons, papers and records has been delegated by the House of Commons to its committees in the Standing Orders. It is well established that Parliament has the right to order any and all documents to be laid before it which it believes are necessary for its information. … The power to call for persons, papers and records is absolute, but it is seldom exercised without consideration of the public interest. The House of Commons recognizes that it should not require the production of documents in all cases; considerations of public policy, including national security, foreign relations, and so forth, enter into the decision as to when it is appropriate to order the production of such documents.[327]

House of Commons Procedure and Practice – Second Edition, 2009

[note: the emphasis is mine.]

The Globe and Mail reports: Canadian spies interrogated Afghan prisoners, insiders reveal

Some people think that this is necessary because Canada is at war. Canadian lives are being saved. Does Canada have a reason to be at war besides the fact that President Bush told us to go to war? None that I’ve ever heard.

Canada is supposed to be a sovereign nation, and we should not BE at war without the clear backing of the populace.

Canadian Flag

Canadian soldiers are dying why?

Because they were stupid enough to join our military?

Not so long ago the Canadian military was respected around the world for peacekeeping. Not any more. Now, because of Canadian participation in an unjust war Canadian complicity in torture may be at issue. Is this how you want Canada to behave? I don’t.

Terrible and unconscionable as that is, what is worse is the fact that our government is placing itself above the law in not making the necessary documents available to parliament.

This is a clear and present danger to Canadian democracy.

3 thoughts on “They’re Baaaack… Canada and the Constitution

  1. I see the ‘Constitutional Crises’ as having been ‘triggered’ on Nov. 26, 2009 – See:;500;a37017a574573427

    Comment: Now the ‘crisis’ has morphed into a sh!t storm of epic proportions.

    This is going to get messy. There appears to be many unclean hands here.

    I’ve seen some ‘redacted’ and other perverse things that were sent to an awful number of different people and said some horrific things, while implying yet more horrific tales yet to be told by some ministers (past and present) and their cohorts.


    Prayer, they may hope can save these men from what awaits them, but I think first will come judgment in these cases.

    See for much more and to see why we care!

  2. I don’t think the soldiers “were stupid enough to join the military”. It’s not the soldiers who are stupid, and it’s not necessarily stupid to join the military. But it is stupid for the government to order the military to fight an unwinnable non-war for another country.


  3. I agree. I guess my meaning wasn’t clear enough. Sometimes war is the only option, but this is not one of those times.

    I don’t think any Canadians should be at risk, let alone dying, in this war we should not be in.

    Both Liberal and Conservative governments need to answer for the lapse of judgement which first put our soldiers at risk and then kept them there.

    Prior to this most Canadians enlisting in our military would have believed they were joining a peace keeping force rather than an invasion force. I was trying to say that our soldiers weren’t stupid because the rules were changed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.