It has long been evident that both Stephen Harper's cabinet and caucus are trained seals. With Pavlovian discipline, they have been trained to honk on cue. However, yesterday marked a new low in the annals of Canadian democracy. Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House, became the First Seal Among Equals.
On a question of privilege raised by Bob Rae on April 5th, Scheer ruled that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Public Works and the Associate Minister of Defence had not misled the House on the F 35 file:
In my view, no clear evidence has been presented beyond this and thus, the Chair has no choice but to conclude that, it cannot find that Ministers knew or believed that what they were telling the House was not true or that it was intended to be misleading. In other words, the criteria of demonstrating that Ministers knew their statements to the House were incorrect, and that they intended to mislead the House, has not been met.
Accordingly, bound as I am by the very narrow parameters that apply in these situations, and without any evidence that the House was deliberately misled, I cannot arrive at a finding of prima facie privilege in this case.
Let's remember that this ruling comes from the same horn blower who concluded that the Conservative misinformation campaign against Irwin Cotler was "reprehensible" but acceptable. The Speaker of the House has demonstrated that he is now the Prime Minister's Official Seal of Approval.