Thursday, 24 March 2011

Harper found in contempt

From last week: Committee finds Tories in contempt for stonewalling on crime-bill costs.
An opposition-dominated Commons committee has voted to find Stephen Harper’s government in contempt of Parliament – a historic first as parties gird for a possible election call later this week.

The move paves the way for MPs in the House of Commons to find the Harper government in contempt for stonewalling on the full costs of its tough-on-crime agenda including big prison expansions.

Such a Commons-wide vote could take place as early as Wednesday evening but the Conservatives are expected to try and stall this because it would be embarrassing and feed the opposition narrative that the Tories have abused their power.

The Commons procedure and House affairs committee voted that “the government’s failure to produce documents constitute a contempt of Parliament” and that “this failure impedes the House in the performance of its functions.”

After the Speaker's ruling, it's not a big surprise. Globe and Mail editorial: A government in contempt, no doubt.

Apparently Harper was talking to Jack Layton about getting the NDP to support this week's budget, but with the contempt finding, the NDP base would likely have revolted against such a deal. The net result: the Opposition will bring a motion of non-confidence on Friday, and there'll be an election in early May.

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