SPRATT: On Harper's Hurry-Up Hypocrisy

SPRATT: On Harper's Hurry-Up Hypocrisy

Postby Oscar » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:25 am

SPRATT: Pass that Bill! Slow that One Down! On Harper's Hurry-Up Hypocrisy

[ http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/03/20/Ha ... ign=200315 ]

Some laws merit careful study. But not Bill C-51.

By Michael Spratt, March 20, 2015 iPolitics


Limit debate, suppress critical views, twist the truth -- they're running down every page in the Conservatives' pre-election playbook. When NDP leader Tom Mulcair asked in the Commons why the government was putting the "emphasis on getting the committee to study the bill as quickly as possible, not as thoroughly as possible," Blaney responded with an ad hominem attack:

"Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve better than an opposition leader who attacks the credibility of those who are there to protect us. Let us face reality. For 30 years, those men and women at CSIS, working at protecting Canadians, have worked within the law. I invite the member to apologize for pretending that they have broken the law, because that is not the case. This is in the report. They are complying with the law."

Blaney needs to read his own department's briefing books a little more closely. Maher Arar [ https://twitter.com/ArarMaher ] and Justice Mosley [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e15599674/ ] could talk at length about how good CSIS is at working "within the law" -- if they were allowed to.

This is all gutter politics, of course. Terror seems to be playing well in an election year. The Conservatives know that the longer the committee studies the bill, the more people come forward to testify to its many and manifest flaws, the harder it will be to present C-51 to the Canadian public as the nation's sword and shield.

Let people drill down into the details and they'll worry less about what terrorists might do and more about what the government intends to do. The last thing the Conservatives can afford to give us is time.

Debate is not a luxury, or something to be sprinted through in order to get things done. It's the essence of our system of government; without it, we don't have a system -- just government. Stockwell Day said it in 2001, and it's still true. Wonder what he'd say today? [Tyee]

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Michael Spratt is a well-known criminal lawyer and partner at the Ottawa law firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners. He has appeared in all levels of court and specializes in complex litigation. Mr. Spratt is frequently called upon to give expert testimony at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. He is a past board member of the Criminal Lawyers' Association and is on the board of directors of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. Mr. Spratt's continuing work can be found at http://www.michaelspratt.com and on Twitter at @mspratt.
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