Monday, March 22, 2010

Contempt of Parliment: In The Best Interests of Conservatives

It may seem hard to believe, but it's in the best interests of Conservatives if the government released the documents pertaining to the Afghan detainee abuse scandal or at the very least was found in contempt of Parliament. It may seem contrary to the notion of self-preservation, but just as a citizen is better off in being honest in order for others to reciprocate, so too would be the Conservative government. For it is not hard to imagine a day when the Tories will be in opposition and will desire documents, and their request will be denied, because it is the decisions the Conservatives make today that will influence the actions of the opposition in the days to come. If Conservatives value governments in the future respecting Parliament's supremacy, they must value it today and in doing so they will be all the better for it.

The Conservative government if it continues undeterred in withholding documents, will set a precedent that will allow any future government to disobey a request for documents for any reason. National security may seem like a noble justification for denying the request for documents, but it is not a legal one. And in ignoring Parliament's supremacy this time, no matter how honourable the reason, any government to follow may refuse to hand over documents with the slightest of excuses. One can imagine how differently the sponsorship scandal would have occurred if the Martin government withheld documents out of concern for national unity. Out of all this, the perspective Conservatives must hold, is not that contempt of parliament is an attempt to weaken them, but that it is an attempt to strengthen them, through the guarantee of future law and order.

Now I don't blame Conservative supporters for defending this government's decision to withhold documents from Parliament, with the way the Liberals and the like have been on the offensive it's only natural to rush to its defence. Not only is it instinct to defend one's own, but the Conservatives have been conditioned to oppose Liberals and Liberals have been conditioned to oppose Conservatives, so if the Liberals are proposing this government is in contempt of parliament, it is not hard to grasp why Conservatives would oppose it. The problem is, in opposing the contempt motion to protect the Conservative Party, Conservatives are actually causing it more harm than good.

1 comment:

ij said...

Could the reason for the refusal be that the Conservatives fully expect to destroy the Liberals and any other opposition for good, as their great mentor, Tom Flanagan, has encouraged and predicted, thus creating an Alberta-type pseudo-democracy at the federal level with them in power forever? Far fetched? Look at the history of the 20th century...