Tuesday, May 03, 2011

 

Re-election to Parliament of a person found guilty of contempt of parliament

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Parliamentary Democracy and the Rule of Law

Greetings Everyone,

The subject of the day is the re-election of Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party to a majority.  There seems to be a rather obvious solution to this problem and an immediate one.

Stephen Harper has been found in contempt of Parliament.  What I want to know is what happens with that?  Harper is in contempt of parliamentary democracy and is rewarded by keeping his job as Prime Minister?

The entire premise of this country is it's foundation upon Rule of Law.  When a citizen is found in contempt of court what happens?  The long and the short of it is, Punishment can range from the person be imprisoned for a period of less than five years or until the person complies with the order or fine.


Reference at: 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contempt_of_court

The privileges enjoyed by Parliament are a part of the general and public law of Canada.  As such, the courts may judicially take notice of and interpret these privileges as they would any branch of law.  Under parliamentary law, contempt of parliament is a federal crime.  Harper has been found guilty of this crime.  The question right now should be:  Why was not Harper barred from seeking re-election and, is his re-election legal?

Quote:  "Under the Constitution Act, 1867, Parliament is empowered to determine the qualifications of members of the House of Commons. The present qualifications are outlined in the Canada Elections Act, which was passed in 2000. The acts bars individuals found guilty of election-related crimes and are prohibited from becoming members for five years (in some cases, seven years) after conviction. The House of Commons voted unanimously to judge Stephen Harper on election-related (parliament) crimes and declared Harper guilty of the criminal charge of contempt of parliament. The House of Commons vote handed Harper a guilty conviction and as punishment for his crime his leadership was immediately stripped."

Check out the entire article at:  http://presscore.ca/2011/?p=1980

Canada Elections Act
CANDIDATES – Qualifications
http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=loi/fel/cea&document=part06&lang=e

Ineligible candidates

65. The following persons are not eligible to be a candidate:

(b) a person who is disentitled under paragraph 502(3)(a) while they are so disentitled;

Stephen Harper was found guilty of the crime of contempt of parliament by the Canadian House of Commons. The guilty verdict disqualified Harper for re-election as he was disentitled as Prime Minister by the House of Commons.

TABLE OF OFFENCES
CANADA ELECTIONS ACT

http://www.elections.ca/res/loi/his/2000/TabOffences_e.pdf

On March 21, 2011 a House of Commons committee ruled that the Harper government was in contempt of Parliament – an offense against the authority or dignity of Parliament, including disobedience to its commands or libel against it or its Members. Punishment for such an offense may take a variety of forms, up to and including imprisonment.

On March 25, 2011 the finding of contempt led to a motion of non-confidence introduced by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. The NDP and BQ supported them, which resulted in the adjornment of the 40th Parliament of Canada, and made Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government the first to fall on a charge of contempt of Parliament.

Any disregard of or attack on the rights, powers and immunities of the House and its Members, either by an outside person or body, or by a Member of the House, is referred to as a “breach of privilege” and is punishable by the House. There are, however, other affronts against the dignity and authority of Parliament which may not fall within one of the specifically defined privileges. Thus, the House also claims the right to punish, as a contempt, any action which, though not a breach of a specific privilege, tends to obstruct or impede the House in the performance of its functions; obstructs or impedes any Member or Officer of the House in the discharge of their duties; or is an offence against the authority or dignity of the House, such as disobedience of its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its Members, or its Officers.

Harper has shrugged this off and brazenly pressed on like the bully he is.  But, he has broken parliamentary law!  If any other citizen of this country would be found in contempt of Parliament they would be punished.  Are there two sets of laws?  One for citizens, one for Stephen Harper?  If so, he is god-like in his super powered abilities to be above the law.

This cannot be ignored.  If it is, then we are in peril.

Are there Constitutional lawyers working on this?  If not, why not?  Are the other political parties focusing on this?  If not, why not?  Every citizen in the country should be asking these questions, following up on and demanding that justice be served.  We are either a country governed by the Rule of Law or we are not.

Well?  Any takers?

Rita

Reference:  House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 Edition

Link:


http://www.parl.gc.ca/marleaumontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Lang=E&Sec=Ch03&Seq=8



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Comments:
Hi Mary. I must admit my surprise and disappointment at the outcome of the election. However life will go on and we can only hope that Mr. Layton will be a more effective leader of the Opposition than his predecessor. I came across a column by Ethan Baron in The Province which says it all better than I can:

My First Time as a Canadian Voter

(Side note: The comments following the article astound me with the obvious lack of intelligence and also with their exceedingly venomous tone.)
 
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