Lowering the temperature

Lowering the temperature
Coolness factor. Photo by Scott Rodgerson / Unsplash

Thank goodness for minor opposition parties, I guess, for bringing back a much-needed adult tone to what is, inarguably, a very serious discussion.

Elizabeth May, leader of the two-member Green Party, made good use of her security clearance to look at that famous unredacted report about parliamentarians who, we hear, may be helping countries other than the one they’re sworn to serve.

One of the big problems with this file is that we can’t just name people who are mentioned in a report because if they indeed did something illegal this case should be argued in court with all the appropriate safeguards and procedural fairness (witch hunts are just no good) and if they did not in fact do anything illegal or even unethical then they shouldn’t be mentioned in the context of that report. Mentioning names would also run afoul of the country’s official secrets law. But you can’t also ignore the issue and say, meh, it’s probably alright.

May was able to read the unredacted report and she came up with a solid way to say something useful that helps reassure everyone about the safety of our current parliamentary institutions without outing anyone.

“I can say I have no worries about anyone in the House of Commons,” May told reporters Tuesday.

She says among the persons named there is one, a former MP, who should be investigated further and that this person should, in due time, be named publicly. In the context of a formal investigation, not in a twitter thread.

But the winner for Best Grown-Up Performance goes to the Bloc Québécois for its motion asking for the Hogue Commission on foreign interference to look into this issue, which was won the support of everyone in the House except the Green Party because, May said, it was performative rather than substantive. I don’t know that I agree with her – but then, I don’t have any security clearance and haven’t seen the report. In any case, 320 MPs voted in favour of the Bloc motion and it was swiftly adopted.

Interesting to note that of all federal party leaders, only two do not currently have the required security clearance to have access to the unredacted report. Yves-François Blanchet, Bloc leader, never really needed it but is currently in the process of obtaining it so he can look at the unredacted report for himself. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has clearance but at the time of writing had not to my knowledge read the report yet. Only Pierre Poilievre appears not to have security clearance and if he’s in the process of obtaining it, he’s being mighty quiet about it. Getting that kind of security clearance is not an easy process and there is a bunch of rumours online about why Poilievre never got it and if he wants to put those rumours to rest and prove he has what it takes to get the kind of security clearance that would allow him to be briefed on top security matters, he just might want to get on that.