The torture prorogation?

It was bad enough to prorogue Parliament to avoid an election, but doing the same to try to silence questions about Canada’s role in torturing detainees is far more dubious. As an article in the Ottawa Citizen explains:

When Harper prorogued last fall it was to avoid a vote of non-confidence. This time, it will be to avoid something possibly far more serious — Parliamentary censure of the government, the banishment or imprisonment of Harper and some of his ministers, or the RCMP being asked to execute a Speaker’s warrant.

While the torture allegations are being treated as a partisan issue, I don’t think that is the appropriate frame of view. This is an issue of international law, human rights, and how Canada is going to conduct itself in international military operations. The precise manner in which Canada should deal with detainees and other governments is one that should be scrutinized by Parliament (and, if necessary, the courts) and that scrutiny should occur where Canadians have the opportunity to observe it.

Our procedures for military oversight also need to be examined, to evaluate the question of whether key information is being properly routed up through military and civilian command structures.

[Update: 25 January 2010] This whole situation generated a considerable amount of protest: 200,000 or so coast to coast.

Ah, Vancouver

The degree to which Vancouver is preferable to Ottawa can hardly be overstated. This ocean city is beautiful, green, and almost infinitely more dynamic than the snowbound bureaucracy out east. Whereas it is a challenge to find anywhere novel to go in Ottawa, Vancouver has a multitude of interesting areas, with the bonus that you don’t need to shiver in your long underwear while waiting for a bus to take you there, even in late December.

It was well worth enduring the bus journey for. It’s a shame there isn’t much here, in the way of environmental policy jobs.

LC^3T: Part I concluded

The video above should demonstrate why I normally leave the videography to my far more talented brother Mica. Still, I hope it will convey some sense of what it was like to cross Canada by Greyhound Bus, a few days before Christmas in 2009.

I hope everyone enjoys the holidays.

[Update: 13 January 2010] A video from the second half of the trip is now online.

LC^3T: Calgary – Vancouver

This last section is happening in what may be Greyhound’s oldest bus. The overhead storage space is too small for almost all bags, so there is zero leg room for everyone with carry-on bags piled everywhere.

Still, the end is in sight. One more long and nearly moonless night, and I will be in Vancouver. It is a shame there won’t be much of a mountain view from Revelstoke, due to darkness and bad weather. All my daylight hours were boreal forest or prairie views.

LC^3T: Regina

Regina has the nicest bus station I have seen on the trip so far. It has an enclosed area for the vehicles themselves, and a high-vaulted waiting area for passengers.

I had two seats to myself from Winnipeg to here, so I got some decent sleep for the first time on the trip. Good enough to dream and feel like some road vanished, at least.

The next leg is to Calgary. Soon, I will be decidedly in Western Canada.

LC^3T: Thunder Bay – Winnipeg

Batteries are drained: mental along with phone and music. I bought the wrong batteries for my iPod range extender, but may be able to correct the error when in Winnipeg.

I am meeting my cousin there, which should permit a shower, decent food, and mental refreshment.

I have been looking places up on Wikipedia as I pass through. You don’t learn much about them in a few minutes through a bus window. Bus stations, I can report, are highly uniform in content and appearance.

LC^3T: Sudbury – Thunder Bay

Most of this span will happen in darkness, with sunrise just a couple of hours from Thunder Bay.

So far, all the buses have been completely full, though nobody I have spoken to is going as far as I am. About a day from now, I will enter Manitoba for the first time.

The AAA power source for my iPod is working well, and I have finished more than 1/3 of a book.