Canadians, take note. The federal parliament is the institution that exists to provide representational government to the people of Canada – often by means of rancorous debate, grandstanding, and partisan manuevering. This is by design. As in parliamentary democracies throughout the world, cumbersome procedures and carefully balanced legislative powers are a feature rather than a drawback of a bicameral parliament: they exist to make it difficult for any would-be tyrant to make sweeping changes to the fabric of the country, if guarded by a vigilant and loyal opposition. Yet decades of apathy, corruption, bid rigging, and an expanding civil service all weigh heavily upon our parliament, itself increasingly under threat by the impulse to institute administrations capable of executing the wishes of the ruling party with minimal interference. As access to information and accountability is choked to a trickle under the control of a centralized corporatist executive, as global treaties are increasingly negotiated not on the Hill but among the peaks of international finance, the House is increasingly relegated to a vestigial status, a compliant rubber stamp isolated from the decision-making process.
Smoking Guns — Suggested Reading
Archive (Most recent headlines first)
Heritage Minister tars those opposing copyright bill C32 as ‘radical extremists’ | Fraser to audit Parliament’s books | Deal reached on detainee documents – but NDP pulls out | Harper bending to U.S. on sole-source fighter purchase, documents reveal | Liberals aim to put a bullet in bill to scrap gun registry | Tories worked hard to paint bloody Afghan war as peace mission: MEP documents | Harper’s Privy Council message control system is unprecedented, critics say | Prime Minister’s Office tells Tory MPs not to answer Citizen reporter’s questions on expenses | Anti-gun registry bill hits snag as committee votes not to proceed | Canada’s new information czar vows to take on delays in access system | MPs shouldn’t fear expenses audit: AG | MPs reach agreement to share Afghan detainee document information | MPs reject request to audit expenses | Afghan torture documents release talks get extension | MPs divided on Canada-Colombia trade agreement | Detainee documents controlled by a few top bureaucrats | Speaker orders Harper government to cough up Afghan detainee documents | George Galloway: leaked papers reveal Canada’s torment over banning MP | Censors threaten detainee hearings | Quebec Liberals accused of judicial graft, Charest orders inquiry | Access to information risks being ‘obliterated’: report | Canada knew in 2007 Kandahar governor tortured prisoners in dungeon, bombed UN personnel | Feds mulling plan to turn Parliament Hill into high-security zone | Tories table thousands more censored Afghan files | MacKay knew of Afghan detainee concerns: diplomat | Full Afghan withdrawal ‘wrong,’ top Tory says | Tories flood Ottawa with blacked-out documents in response to Afghan torture scandal | Opposition threatens contempt motion over Afghan torture documents | Non-binding motion to limit PM’s prorogation power passes | NDP tables torture-prevention bill | Pot, Palin and prorogation: Stephen Harper gets grilled on YouTube | PM turns to YouTube — and takes questions | Ottawa anticipated Afghan torture allegations: memo | Harper grilled over prorogation, Afghan detainee torture documents | Rights & Democracy dissidents fired | Anti-prorogation group becomes pro-participation | MP threatens motion on Afghan documents | Cabinet ministers’ offices regularly interfere in access to information requests, says Tory staffer | Ottawa reluctantly asks U.S. for assurances Khadr trial will not use evidence CSIS obtained in violation of rights | Conservatives accused of hiding information | Harper government violating Constitution: prof | Conservatives cracking down on criticism of Israel, NGOs warn | Omar Khadr’s rights were violated: Ruling sees top court clash with Tories | Watchdogs describe coming ‘under attack’ by Conservative government | New RCMP watchdog is toothless | Thousands of Canadians protest shuttering of Parliament | UK MPs frozen out of super-secret ACTA copyright talks | Anti-prorogation protest dogs PM | Tories win ‘in-and-out’ ad spending case | Tories fail to appoint military complaints chair, torture inquiry may be delayed | Harper says Parliament brings ‘games’ and ‘instability’ | PM Harper downplays detainee torture scandal, prorogation | Tories force Elections Canada to accept campaign refund, hope to hit Liberals with bill
PM suspends Parliament | Proroguing Parliament not ruled out: Harper | Peter MacKay, Red Cross discussed detainees in 2006 | Fury grows over Tory anti-Semitism charge levelled against Canadian churches | Colvin disputes witnesses’ detainee testimony | Tories sabotage Afghan committee meeting | Ottawa won’t release Afghan torture documents | Tories, Liberals, Bloc approve HST for Ontario and B.C. | Richard Colvin’s Afghan torture memos reveal government concealed prisoner access issues | Torture claims unreliable, officials say, despite having found evidence of torture | Liberals to support HST bill | Tory HST protest halts Ontario question period | MPs vote public inquiry into Afghan detainees, Tories ignore majority motion | Torture claims weren’t probed, official testified | Harper government changes tune on Afghan prisoner issue | Federal HST tax bill to be introduced, plays politics with law | Colvin’s testimony true: former Afghan MP | Hillier says he saw no credible reports of torture | Afghan torture emails reached MacKay’s office | Opposition wants documentation prior to government torture rebuttal, PM cries foul | Ontario Tories walk out to protest lack of hearings on HST | Canadian officials discussed torture in 2006 | Canada shamed on Afghan prisoner torture | Canada ignored torture warnings: Diplomat | Parliament votes ‘in principle’ to scrap gun registry, bill moves to second reading | Aspiring government economists must reveal views on stimulus plan | Fund me or axe me, parliamentary budget officer says | Tories move closer to killing gun registry | Protesters disrupting question period detained and bloodied by hill security | No way to escape Afghan combat post-2011, Hillier says | Pass climate bill before UN summit, Layton says | Ottawa won’t budge on secrecy laws | Ottawa was warned Afghan detainees might be tortured | Harper’s hedge on H1N1 shot sparks confusion | Ontario health minister quits over $1B scandal | Liberal MP introduces war resisters bill | McGuinty won’t deny political interference with Freedom of Information requests | Ont. Liberals block committee probe of eHealth chiefs | Bernier’s mislaid files held foreign policy secrets: report | Flaherty chooses himself as authority on banking oversight | CSIS ignored Khadr’s human rights: Parliamentary report | Information commissioner quits, Ottawa chided for lacking ‘guts’ | Ottawa appeals court order to repatriate Omar Khadr | MPs call for clear policy against torture | MPs call for expanded privacy law | Prepare to be boarded! Pirate Party wins entry to European Parliament | MPs from all four parties ink secret deal on cash | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | Canadian Parliament Threatens People For Posting Video Of Proceedings Online | Former Justice Minister Accused in Suit of Accepting Kickbacks | Moores linked to Airbus before Mulroney came to power, memo reveals | Schreiber Inquiry: Premier’s wife testifies bank account was to be hers, not Mulroney’s | Israeli parliament approves Netanyahu’s new government | Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry steers clear of ‘Airbus affair’ on first day | Canada, allies will never defeat Taliban, PM says | Government secrecy ‘grim,’ watchdog says | Harper government withholds listeriosis notes | Behemoth budget bill to be rammed through parliament unread | Former privacy czar Radwanski acquitted of fraud charges | Harper drops Cadman libel lawsuit against Liberals | Ignatieff seeks Harper-like control of party message | Watchdog alarmed by Harper’s information clampdown | Ottawa risks erasing decade of debt reduction | Mulroney-Schreiber probe has no jurisdiction to find liability
Ban-happy Ontario accused of ‘Big Brotherism’ | Counterterrorism squad secretly taped arrest of British whistleblower, elected MP | Liberal crown for Ignatieff? | Decision to prorogue parliament sets ‘very dangerous’ precedent: constitutional expert | Harper halts parliament amid row | Mulroney confidant knew about Airbus commissions: CBC News investigation | Tories release secret tape of ‘coalition’ strategy meeting | Cuts to party subsidies will stay: Flaherty | Tories back down on plan to withdraw funding for opposition parties | Stephen Harper, evil genius, to pull financial plug on opposition: National Post | Deficits ‘essential,’ Harper says | ‘Hard decisions’ needed during economic crisis: throne speech | Harper’s own lawyer decides to bail on Cadman scandal | Cadman ‘bribe tape’ not altered as Harper claimed, expert finds | Harper wins delay of hearing on Cadman tape | Tories admit to using regional funds for federal campaign last election | Comedian begins asking Harper question, cuffed by RCMP | Green Party leader calls out Harper, Layton for debate boycott threats | Tories announced $8.8B in spending before election call | Files tagged as `sensitive’ cause unfair delays, watchdog says | Harper testifies he authorized offer to Cadman | Tentacles of Secrecy Grip Tightly | PM’s tactic `authoritarian’ | Tory ‘Guilty before proven innocent’ law to make debut in court | Judge orders analysis of Cadman audio tape | Federal government quietly releases $490B military plan | Parliament losing power, author says | Information lockdown: How Harper Controls the Spin | Son of ‘Patriot Act’ Author Denies Connection to Obama-NAFTA Leak | Signs point to PMO in NAFTA leak | Government could have planted Couillard bug: former CSIS agent | Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach | PM’s aide fuelled uproar | Elected Parliamentarians Neutered by PM-Appointed ‘Courtiers’ | Another Conservative candidate attacks ‘in-out’ ad scheme | Tape suggests PM knew of alleged Cadman offer | Donations of money, property and services continue to corrupt Canadian politics
‘What is it they’re trying to hide?’ NDP asks for military export data | The Mulroney Affair: Why politicians seek out the rich | Harper to create government-run media centre: report | Twenty years ago today, the clock clicked down on free trade
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