In the case surrounding Ms. Oda, Mr. Milliken said a prima facie breach of privilege exists and the whole affair merits further consideration by the committee to "clear the air."
In doing so, he did not accept the government's suggestion that Ms. Oda had given "clear, accurate and honest answers" when she appeared before another committee last December and was questioned about who had inserted the word "Not" on a decision to de-fund the charity Kairos.
In the dispute over the financial information, the Speaker resolved that the government had not provided all the cost details called for by the Finance committee and said he found it "unsettling" that there was no explanation given for the omissions.
The Conservatives had said they were unable to provide the Finance committee with the cost of a number of its justice bills, including a bill ending the practice of giving criminals double credit for time served before sentencing, because of Cabinet confidences. The government eventually released some figures but the Speaker agreed with the Liberals that this information was insufficient and he reiterated the unlimited power of committees to request papers and records.
... The House of Commons was being asked to wave through spending when it had no real idea about what the money was being spent on. The opposition demanded more information and one hopes all MPs will now have some idea of the cost of the legislation they're voting upon. Similarly, the opposition felt Ms. Oda was less than forthright during her committee appearance and will now have the chance to censure her.
The real unravelling taking place is the Conservative party's strategy of running the country out of the Prime Minister's Office--a black hole at the centre of government that absorbs power and emits very little information that might prove inconvenient. The fingerprints on both files inevitably lead back to the PMO.
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Speaker rules against Tories
John Ivision: Two black eyes for Tories, courtesy of democracy.