Harper threatens election to end 'dysfunction'



From Friday's Globe and Mail

August 14, 2008 at 9:35 PM EDT

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday he will not govern over a “dysfunctional” Parliament and warned for the first time he could take matters into his own hands and force the country into a fall election.

Mr. Harper's made his threat as he and other government officials grew increasingly testy over four days of rare summer hearings into the Conservative Party's “in-and-out” advertising scheme in the 2006 election campaign.

He warned the opposition two weeks ago that he would not tolerate parliamentary committees acting as “kangaroo courts,” but a senior Conservative official said Thursday it doesn't look as though the opposition was listening.

A number of Conservative Party workers refused to appear this week before the House of Commons ethics committee, which is probing $1-million in transfers between Conservative headquarters and local campaigns two years ago.

The Tory no-shows increased the chaotic nature of the proceedings and fuelled opposition attacks against the Harper government. But Conservative MPs argue the committee is biased and is ruled by a “tyranny of the majority.”

Speaking in Newfoundland, Mr. Harper said he will quickly see whether Parliament can work when the House and the Senate start fall sittings in mid-September. If Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion can't decide to bring down the government or supports its legislative agenda, he said he will take matters into his own hands.

“In the past few months, and particularly over the summer, we have seen increasing signs that this Parliament is really not working very well any more. It is becoming increasingly dysfunctional,” Mr. Harper said.

“Quite frankly, I'm going to have to make a judgment in the next little while as to whether or not this Parliament can function productively,” he said.

Conservative officials refused to issue a specific ultimatum Thursday or state exactly how the government could fall, but they added their threshold is not only surviving confidence votes, but also enacting laws.

“Governing is more than not just being defeated in the House. It's also being able to pass legislation,” a senior Conservative adviser said.

Mr. Harper's made his comments as Conservative MPs continuously disrupted the proceedings of the House of Commons committee on ethics. A raft of Conservative witnesses have failed to appear, including several who were served with parliamentary summonses.

One witness, an official agent for a former Tory candidate, said a Conservative organizer told witnesses not to attend, and Liberal committee chairman Paul Szabo said another potential witness who did not show up also told a committee clerk that the party told witnesses not to go.

Conservatives have twice tried to crash the hearings, demanding to be heard before or after their scheduled appearance.

Thursday, former Tory candidate Sam Goldstein began yelling at opposition MPs on the committee as it broke for lunch. He had failed to appear on Tuesday, despite a summons, saying he was in court; MPs refused his request to be heard immediately but scheduled him for the end of the day, but Mr. Goldstein left.

On Monday, Tory campaign manager Doug Finley showed up and demanded to be heard two days before he was scheduled, but was refused, and then on Wednesday he failed to appear at the time set by the committee.

Thursday, opposition MPs on the committee passed a motion giving recalcitrant invitees one more chance to appear between Sept. 15 and 30, and suggested that if they do not, they might ask the Speaker to issue a warrant for them to be forced to attend. Tory members opposed that motion, calling for the committee to ask the Speaker for direction.

The Liberals, who will have the votes to tip the scales either way in future confidence votes, are refusing to be boxed in by the Prime Minister. Instead, they argue that the current state of chaos in Ottawa is caused by the Conservative Party's obstructionist tactics, and that the Conservatives are trying to deflect attention away from government scandals.

“This is the Prime Minister who made a virtue of passing fixed-election date legislation, and now he's threatening to cross Sussex Drive and go see his neighbour, the Governor-General, and ask for an election because he's fabricating a crisis where none exists,” Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc said.

With a report from The Canadian Press



Commentary in the Globe and Mail

Dysfunction? How about failing Canada's children by failing to have a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation? How about failing to address the war against me being conducted by the family court judiciary? How about failing to ensure that children are entitled to live with and have a relationship with both parents?
We live in a sick dysfunctional Canada that is absent the Rule of Law, our Supreme Court of Canada has NEVER heard an appeal by a self represented litigant, our Ontario Court of Appeal has systemic process of bias against me to the point that there is almost no point in any male litigating any issue as the Appeal Court judges "get even" that is, even if a male wins a minor issue, he will be hit with such massive cost penalties he will never be able to litigate again.
Some Ottawa Family Court Judges habitually issue orders to permanently deprive father's of any right even to VARY an order, thats right, or even REPLY to a motion by a vindictive mother.

Dysfunction, Stephen Harper is a puppet prime minister. He regurgitates what ever Washington tells him to and its time for a change.

If you are thinking of voting in the Next Election, don't vote for the No Dads Party let by that anti father crusader, Jack Layton. He is one politician who has supported anti father causes for a long time and its time for for a change.
Children across Canada are denied a right to have a relationship with their father because politicians like Jack Layton refuse to endorse a bill that would guarantee a child's right to equal parenting after separation. www.OttawaMensCentre.com