Thursday, June 14, 2007

Environment Committee scuttled

The Environment Committee appears to gone the way of other government committees who deviate from the Con party line.

Faced with the prospect of testimony hostile to the Con environment plan from a witness previously expected to be 'friendly', Environment Committee Chair and Con MP Bob Mills attempted to change the witness line-up, and when over-ruled by the rest of the committee he promptly resigned as committee chair. No other Con agreed to stand in for Mills, thereby effectively shutting down the hearings.

Another one for the growing list of sabotaged committees.
The silenced witness was Mark Jaccard, a Simon Fraser University economist who Environment Minister John Baird counted on to validate the Con non-environment plan right up til this week when Jaccard published a scathing review of the government's climate change targets via the previously supportive C.D.Howe Institute.

Now we all remember the 200 page Con dirty tricks manual with its suggestions on how to disrupt and terminate committees not holding to the Con party line, and the subsequent leak to NaPo's Don Martin a month ago that Con party whip Jay Hill leaned on committee chairs who didn't play along :

"A source at that meeting confided that [government whip] Mr. [Jay] Hill "lavished praise on the chairs who caused disruptions and admonished those who prefer to lead through consensus".

So it's more than a little interesting that following his resignation as Environment Committee Chair, Bob Mills refused all interviews and instead "referred all questions on the matter to the Conservative whip".

Con whip Jay Hill, apparently not yet informed of Mills' resignation, declined to be interviewed when questioned on it by reporters.

I imagine Bob Mills, an apparently decent guy by all accounts, actually expected to get a little work done when he came to Ottawa. I don't imagine he saw resigning his position as a way of achieving that.
Just how much pressure are these committee chairs under to entirely discredit the whole concept of government?
This entirely ridiculous experiment in being governed by people who hate government has been an unmitigated disaster.



MgS said...

The Cons are little more than Bush-style Rethuglicans whose disrespect for their own nation is beyond measure.

thwap said...

Important post. I'll be referring to it at election time.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that if the Cons are going to throw out the rules to block the business of government, everyone else should get together to work around them. The rules may say the governing party is supposed to be the chair. Well, you know, too bad. It seems to me that if the Cons refuse to chair a committee, then the majority should vote in a chair from some other party and just keep going--and if the old chair wants back into the committee, they can beg. And sign a good conduct agreement.

Alison said...

PLG : Which is pretty much what happened after Benoit adjourned and stormed out of the IntTrade meet on water and energy. The remaining memebers carried on,Laxer gave his testimony, and it officially went up on Hansard a few days later despite the meeting having been adjourned.
Probably something to do with whether the remaining members stand their ground.

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