Metastasising

(Reuters) – Canada’s minority Conservative government is locked in a power struggle with opposition members of Parliament over allegations that Canadian soldiers left Afghan detainees open to abuse, and the confrontation might just trigger an early election. Last December, the House of Commons, where the Conservatives have a minority of members, ordered the government to turn over uncensored files on people detained by the military in Afghanistan. The government refused, citing national security.

What happens next depends on House of Commons speaker Peter Milliken, who is due to rule shortly on who has the right to control the documents. If he backs Parliament and the government refuses to obey, the House could vote nonconfidence in the government, and that would trigger an election. The government could also refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking it to judge who has priority, or it could set up a special commission. Opposition legislators insist Parliament is supreme and say the government’s behavior shows too much power is concentrated in the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who they portray as being obsessed with secrecy.

“It is one of the fundamental roles of the House of Commons to hold the government to account … it is a basic tenet of our democracy,” said Jack Harris, a member of the left-leaning New Democrats.

Government officials say Canada’s relations with major allies could be seriously harmed if sensitive details leaked out from the documents.

Harper & his neocon cabal have already prorogued parliament which ably demonstrates the neoconservative contempt for…well anything they do not like, democracy, the law, not killing over a million people. This will be remarkable, either torture causes the fall of Harper or it pushes Canada further into an authoritarian ally of the Empire. Going from the UK experience I would not lay bets on the former, none of the Big 3 deviate significantly from war-on-terror dogma & national security fetishism and the continuing cover up of our torture regime has not been a major issue in the General Election. Unless the next Cameron poster calls for water-boarding people on benefits. And you know right there, that such a slight joke can be made shows the reality of 2010, torture is a part of life, people generally expect people our governments claim are very evil indeed will be tortured, protesters & Muslim looking males will on occasion be killed by police and the murder of Afghans is somehow the best method of keeping the streets safe in the homeland.

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