One might reasonably ask at this point: is the Harper government legitimate? Or did it steal its majority?
With the support of 75% of the population, opposition parties continue their call for an independent public inquiry—or even a Royal Commission. Meanwhile, Elections Canada continues its virtually secret probe into some of the affected ridings.
Need I reiterate that Elections Canada has no quasi-judicial authority to compel testimony or the production of documents records? Nor is it likely to get increased investigative powers anytime soon.
But it’s the only game in town at the moment.
Meanwhile, what is happening in that empty shell formerly known as Parliament?
Parliamentary committees operate out of the public eye in unprecedented fashion. Today is no exception: the absurdly misnamed Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, attempting to administer a HUAC-like pillorying of former Liberal staffer Adam Carroll (“Vikileaks”), went in camera for no discernible reason—after the execrable Dean Del Mastro had promised the opposite. Here’s a piece of CBC journalist Kady O’Malley’s indignant liveblog:
Wait, what? We’re going in camera now? …[NDP MP] Pierre Luc Dessault points out that Del Mastro himself agreed that they wouldn’t go in camera for future business in future, but it’s hopeless: the motion carries and the room is cleared. Well, that was deeply, darkly annoying.
What’s left? Oh, the opposition’s right to ask questions. Well, Conservative catspaw Andrew Scheer is there to ensure that the government remains unaccountable during Question Period. And as for detailed written questions, the opposition can ask, but this government simply refuses to answer.
Finally, when all else fails, parliamentarians can be told at any time to pack their bags and go home. But why bother? Harper has by now essentially gutted Parliament, destroying in the process the very notion of responsible government. And now it appears he may have taken power illegitimately, with massive vote fraud reported in up to a quarter of Canadian electoral ridings. Are we seeing a slow-mo coup d’état taking place before our very eyes?
[H/t Dan Gardner re opposition written questions]