Transport minister Colenette and Minister of Defence Eggelton

POWER GRAB or MISUSE OF POWER:
WHICH SHOULD BE THE MEDIA FOCUS?

   
Niagara Falls, Ontario - Thursday, May 9, 2002 - by: Joe Hueglin
   

cabinet

Cabinet responsibility to Parliament is the foundation of our system of government.

 

 

power
misused

Auditor General Sheila Fraser's finding it necessary to request the RCMP be called in to investigate and her reporting
"There was so little documentation in the files that I cannot confirm or deny what the minister knew or did not know,"
is indisputably an abdication of responsibility. Whether or not criminality or corruption are involved, power was misused.

 

 

interim
orders

Fraser's report has overshadowed media attention to the continuing efforts of the Cabinet to obtain powers beyond Parliament's control. The power of Minister's to issue "interim orders" at their sole discretion. Interim orders can be declared
"if the minister believes that immediate action is required to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect, to health or safety."
Ministers overseeing health, transport, fisheries and oceans or the environment will no longer be bound by the relevant laws passed by Parliament.

 

 

parliament
no veto

The orders would have to be tabled in Parliament after fifteen sitting days, though if Parliament weren't sitting, there would be no requirement that it do so. Even if Parliament debated the orders it would have no power under the bill to veto them. And the orders would not have to be submitted for approval to the full cabinet for forty-five days.

 

 

abuse
of
power

With misuse of existing powers under investigation, with inadequate documentation being available extending a Cabinet Minister's discretionary powers to the extent that existing laws can be set aside without the let or stay of Parliament must be seriously questioned.
   
Reference:
  Where the antiterrorism bill still falls down Globe and Mail editorial Wednesday, May 1, 2002 Page A14
   
  New Public Safety Act threatens civil rights Toronto Star Editorial
May 1, 2002, page A30 http://www.savedemocracy.ca/en/media/0501StarEd.html
   
  Freedom Will Keep Us Safe The revised Public Security Act is still too undemocratic Ottawa Citizen editorial, May 1, 2002, page A16. http://www.savedemocracy.ca/en/media/0501OttCitEd.html
   
  Latest terror bill still excessive Editorial The Daily News (Halifax) Wednesday, May 1, 2002
http://www.savedemocracy.ca/en/media/0501DailyNewsEd.html
   
  Liberals dilute flawed legislation, James Travers Toronto Star, April 30, 2002, page A23 http://www.savedemocracy.ca/en/media/0430TraversColumn.html
   
  For a broader consideration of Bill C-55 see http://www.savedemocracy.ca/en/index.html
   
  Department of Defence have this interesting summary of the new proposed legislation.