Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Afghan detainee docs decision: When the law is no longer applicable‏‏

Further to this post,
Afghan detainee docs: Crown privilege rules
well, it doesn't. A key argument in the government's refusal to produce to the Commons unredacted documents on the Afghan detainee matter is that there are statutory provisions against doing so in some circumstances. But Speaker Peter Milliken's has ruled that the House of Commons' right to demand documents is effectively absolute.

To my mind the cornerstone of the ruling is a citation on Australian Senate practice that maintains just one House of Parliament, even one committee, can over-ride a statutory prohibition when demanding the production of documents by the government.

It seems most most odd to me that the Australian citation allows a statutory prohibition--which must be passed by both Houses of Parliament--effectively to be over-ridden by a vote in just one of those houses; indeed it would seem by a vote in just one committee with a relatively small number of members.

I wonder, in that light, whether the Speaker should have placed such importance on the citation:
Odgers`Australian Senate Practice, 12th edition, at page 51, states clearly:
―Parliamentary privilege is not affected by provisions in statutes which prohibit in general terms the disclosure of categories of information...Statutory provisions of this type do not prevent the disclosure of information covered by the provisions to a House of the Parliament or to a parliamentary committee in the course of a parliamentary inquiry. They ... do not prevent committees seeking the information covered by such provisions or persons who have that information providing it to committees.‖
In light of these various authorities [others before quote begins], the Chair must conclude that the House does indeed have the right to ask for the documents listed in the Order of December 10, 2009..


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or in simple English, Statutory Regulations and Laws apply to all Canadians except Parliamentarians.

So it is true, some Canadians are more equal than others.

And remember, these are the same equal Canadians who refuse to allow us less equal Canadians to examine their parliamentary expense accounts.

Ya right, so they are telling me my crap stinks but theirs doesn't ?

11:53 a.m., April 28, 2010  

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