Friday, May 11, 2007

Tories Take Their Ball and Go Home

This just keeps getting better and better:
Tory chair storms out of SPP hearing
Freezing in the dark 'not relevant' to talks on integrating with U.S.

… The firestorm erupted within minutes of testimony by University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer that Canadians will be left "to freeze in the dark" if the government forges ahead with plans to integrate energy supplies across North America.

He was testifying on behalf of the Alberta-based Parkland Institute about concerns about the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a 2005 accord by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to streamline economic and security rules across the continent.

The deal, which calls North American "energy security" a priority, will commit Canada to ensuring American energy supplies even though Canada itself -- unlike most industrialized nations -- has no national plan or reserves to protect its own supplies, he argued.

At that point, Tory MP Leon Benoit, chair of the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, which was holding the SPP hearings, ordered Mr. Laxer to halt his testimony, saying it was not relevant.

Opposition MPs called for, and won, a vote to overrule Mr. Benoit's ruling.

Mr. Benoit then threw down his pen, declaring, "This meeting is adjourned," and stormed out, followed by three of the panel's four Conservative members.

Lovely. Our country is being run by four year-olds.

The thing that bothers me the most is that nobody but the politicians directly involved and a few crazy bloggers seem to know or care that this is going on. Honestly, if you took a poll today and asked Canadians if they would like closer economic and security ties with the U.S., what do you think their answer would be?

Of course, nobody actually gives a rat's ass what we think because it isn’t about what’s best for Canadians - it’s about what’s best for big business.

I’ve asked my MP a couple of times now what his position and his party’s position is on SPP, the Harris/Manning report, and deep integration. I’m still waiting for a response. Given that Garth is probably the most responsive MP on the Hill right now, I suspect he’s either desperately busy or he knows full well that I won’t like his answer.

What I really want to hear from Garth and Dion is this: "Yes, the previous Liberal government bought into SPP, but I believe that was a mistake. The vast majority of Canadians don’t want it, I won’t continue to support it, and I will do my best to put an end to any measures already enacted under this initiative".

What do you think the chances are?

(edit - Dave at The Galloping Beaver just posted a detailed account of the many, many rules and standards of practice Benoit's tantrum violated.)

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