"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The passive voice

In one of the several hastily-arranged interviews Tom Rideout did on Friday to put out the latest spending-scandal fire, he fed VOCM the following heap of compost:

Look that's all poppycock nonsense and dribble from people who don't know what they're talking about. Members have to concur with the, with the ban on donations. Members have to concur with the fact that discretionary spending is gone. All of these matters that was in the rules as brought forward by Judge Green have been accepted and implemented. There's the matter of some mechanisms that can't be put in place overnight.
The use of the passive voice is always a tip-off that someone is being cute about something.

The rules "have been accepted and implemented" by whom or by what?

Certainly not by the House of Assembly: the rules, including those against discretionary funds, donations from public funds, and limits on charitable donations with personal funds by "independently wealthy" sitting MHAs — hi, Danny Williams and foundation — do not come into force until October 9, 2007.

Repeat: the rules do not come into force until election day.

By necessary implication, as Tom Rideout, LL.B., can tell you, that means they are not in force now.

So when Tom Rideout, LL.B., says, "members have to concur with the, with the ban on donations... Members have to concur with the fact that discretionary spending is gone," perhaps Tom Rideout, LL.B. can explain, why not?

What is the legal obligation? — Bear in mind, repeat: the rules are not in force now, and will not be until election day.

There is none.

Meanwhile, yesterday on VOCM's Morning Running of the Reptiles, Paul Oram told the former Ambassador and Minister Plenipotentiary:
Well, you know, just on a quick note first of all amendments were put in place because of course as you know this was a very detailed report and you know, to all parties in the House including Justice Greene wanted to give us time to be to implement this in the correct manner and we wanted to get this thing passed through the House.
The report was so detailed they had to amend it?

Justice Greene wanted to give them time to implement it in the correct manner, so they passed the bill at all stages of debate in a single day's sitting?

The Premier's attack-poodle continues:
We wanted to get it done so . . .but as our caucus, you know, we sat down and we said look we are going to follow the rules are there by Justice Greene and . . .and you know move forward and that's what we've done.... I can tell you now that when it comes to our caucus that we are not making donations.
Very good. The PC caucus, at least, has agreed, internally it would seem, to follow the Greene rules, including the ones on donations.

But if they didn't have a philosophical, moral, or legal objection to restraining themselves so, why the reluctance to put it into legal force until October 9, 2007, which is, again, election day?

And if they were in such a rush to implement the Greene recommendations, why bother with a deferred commencement date at all?

MHAs patted themselves on the back during the June 14th debate (such as it was) on the bill implementing the Greene recommendations and report, for moving so quickly not just to pass the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act, but also to move even quicker than the good judge recommended, to pass the just-add-water House rules, the Members’ Resources and Allowances Rules.

As Kelvin Parsons said,
I can say to the Government House Leader right now that, on the understanding that amendment is coming forward, we will certainly be in favour of that. As far as we can see there will not be any need for detailed discussions or whatever in Committee with respect to enforcing and having those rules become a part of this bill as well.
They can take that back-pat back.

Tom Rideout says that MHAs have to "concur" with rules that are of no legal effect for another four months, without offering up any mechanism that obliges them to "concur" so.

And while he says there are mechanisms that "can't be put in place overnight", rules such as the ban on donations are laid out in black and white. There is no room for "implementation". It's a rule, or it's not; no guidelines required.

And the "detailed report" "can't be put in place overnight", yet there was no need for debate or discussion when it came before the House, which passed it, at all stages, inside of 24 hours?


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