Last week when House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken brought down his privilege rulings, which were critical of the government, the Liberals began a preachy discourse in defence of democracy and in particular the supremacy of Parliament. In some ways who could blame them, because they weren't really getting much traction on the other issues they were taking to the political market place. Ironically, though, they were setting themselves up for trouble.
You see the Speaker said his rulings needed to be studied further by a parliamentary committee. The first set of those committee hearings began Wednesday. However, before the sun even set the Liberals had issued a press release condemning the government, which brought forward new information and a legion of witnesses to address the concerns raised by the Speaker. It is hard to conceive how the Liberals, if they were serious about reviewing the material and testimony to make democracy work for Canadians, would be blasting the government before dusk on Day 1. I am a speed-reader myself and am not bad at multi-tasking, but what the Liberals did in terms of reflection must set some Guinness Book record.
Legitimacy would have required some real investigation and analysis, not a Viagra-like induced rush to a conclusion that suits their own political desires. If you are going to accuse the Harper government (I wasn't mandated to use that title) of hypocrisy, it is probably not wise to behave in such an obviously hypocritical manner yourself.
For all I know the government material may not have met the conditions set out by the Speaker. But the way the Liberals handled things Wednesday clearly illustrated the only democracy they're interested in involves them running it. The criticism of the government last week was in some ways deserved but the Liberal antics this week make them look like co-conspirators to democratic diminution.
Pot, meet kettle.
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