Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Harper maniulation strategy

Thanks to The Galloping Beaver for this from Don Martin:

A secret guidebook that details how to unleash chaos while chairing parliamentary committees has been given to select Tory MPs.

Running some 200 pages including background material, the document - given only to Conservative chairmen - tells them how to favour government agendas, select party-friendly witnesses, coach favourable testimony, set in motion debate-obstructing delays and, if necessary, storm out of meetings to grind parliamentary business to a halt.

The binder fell into my hands yesterday, two days after government whip Jay Hill called chairmen to his office for a refresher course on advancing the government agenda over opposition objections.

A source at that meeting confided that Mr. Hill "lavished praise on the chairs who caused disruptions and admonished those who prefer to lead through consensus" - an interpretation the whip strongly denies.

But the document does illustrate a government preference for manipulative tactics and proves that the chairmen are under intense supervision from the powers above.

Its tactics also fly in the face of yesterday's complaint by Stephen Harper that opposition parties are solely responsible for the committee paralysis now breaking out on Parliament Hill as the summer recess approaches.

It paints in vivid detail what Conservative chairs should say when confronted by challenges to their authority, how to rule opposition MPs out of order during procedural wrangling and even tells government MPs how to debate at committee when a hostile motion is put to a vote.