Friday, March 19, 2010

Inside the new recalibrated Foreign Affairs committee

... the first new recalibrated government filibuster got underway.
The Foreign Affairs committee had one hour before Question Period to schedule a witness list for their investigation into the Rights and Democracy debacle.
Motion from Bernard Patry, Lib : To allow the widow of former Rights and Democracy President Rémy Beauregard to appear before the committee on the 25th to speak on behalf of her dead husband and to schedule the fired R&D staff for the 30th.
Con Deepak Obhrai interjected "We must have a debate first", whereupon Con Chair Dean Allison gave the floor to Con Jim Abbott - yes, him again.
Abbott began with his opinion that the committee "does not have the right to micromanage the Foreign Affairs Dept." The inclusion of Beauregard's widow would be "outside the bounds of this committee" and further "there would be an emotional reaction to a situation over which this committee has absolutely no control."
What if we also allowed corporations like the CBC to appear, he asked, or perhaps the EDC, before veering off into a rant about Bill C-300 and the possible restrictions it might cause Canadian mining abroad.
After half an hour, Patry asked if Abbott was going to respond to his motion about the witness list.
"I'm 30 seconds away from making my point", said Abbott, continuing on about unions and the G8 conference and women in Sudan and arctic sovereignty and the great headlines the Cons get in the G&M and banks and the CMHC until the end of the hour.
Somewhere in there he mentioned that he had no objection to the new R&D president and chair and new board members appearing before the committee because they had been appointed by the government of Canada and "could explain to us what direction the government wants to go."
Well, so much for the new pres and board members being arms length.
As to the fired R&D board members, he said :
"they can send out flyers or go on tv."
When the Chair "adjourned the debate", advising that "as this is going nowhere, opposition and government should get together to agree on a witness list before the next meeting", Abbott had one last point he wished to make :
"Just a quick point of order here - as we know, when a member has the floor, he or she has the floor, so I'm presuming that I will continue to have the floor when we get back together again."
The chair assured him that he would indeed have it and adjourned the meeting.
So. Are we to expect the other committees to go the same way?
Update : Cliff suggests that Abbott needs to hear from us about his shameful behavior here.
Jim Abbott : Telephone:(613) 995-7246 Fax: (613) 996-9923
cc to Chair Dean Allison: Telephone: (613) 995-2772 Fax:(613) 992-2727
and co-committee members Bob Rae : , Paul Dewar : , and Bernard Patry : whose motion it was to allow Trepanier to appear.
Write nice. Remember these sometimes get read out in the House.
If you need talking points, Cliff's got 'em.


opit said...

This foreign affairs story come over the news desk at Care2

Alison said...

Opit's link from COAT.
Haiti : same as it ever was.

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