That seems to have fallen by the wayside, as Ms. Goar and Mr. Maher recall the examples of Harper and the Conservatives shutting down independent committees and those who strayed from the government’s official line, and we may now be heading for yet another proroguing of Parliament to avoid more accountability on the Afghan detainees front:
The Conservative government will ask the governor general to suspend Parliament today, delaying the return of MPs until the beginning of March. Sources say the government is expected to prevent Parliament coming back on its scheduled return date of Jan. 25 so it can keep the House in recess until after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver…Preventing the return of Parliament until after the Olympics would effectively shut down all government committees, which would stop MPs from pursuing the Afghan detainee controversy until Parliament returned. “If the government attempts this manoeuvre, it’s a shocking insult to democracy,” said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale. “The government is in a very sticky place with respect to Afghan detainees and they’re running from accountability here — this is a cut and run government.”
If Harper prorogues as rumoured, I wonder how many Canadian governments have prorogued twice in the span of little over a year – not many, if any, I suspect.
UPDATE: Like Cynic, if this 2nd prorogue in little over a year were to happen, I’m not expecting Blogging Tory head and ‘Manning Centre for Building Democracy’s senior fellow’ Stephen Taylor to come out with any condemnations of that manoeuvrer, nor Preston Manning, for that matter. “The ends justify the means” will be at play here for our conservative colleagues, I suspect. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, though.
UPDATE 2 @ 12:37 pm: Andrew Coyne asks some tough questions here over this prorogue manoeuvrer, if it happens.
UPDATE 3 @ 1:03 pm: And here is your official confirmation: Harper has decided he needs a two month vacation.
UPDATE 4 @ 1:43 pm: Earlier, before the prorogue announcement became official, James Bow, the head of the The Blogging Alliance of Nonpartisan Canadians affiliation, is strongly critical of this move as well, and points out the supposed reason for doing this – so the Conservatives can get a majority on Senate Committees – is pretty thin gruel for suspending Parliament a whole 2 months to do so, and it’s more likely a move to avoid scrutiny in the winter months over the Afghan detainee issue and putting off the Speaker issuing a Warrant prdering him and his government to turn over the uncensored Afghan documents to Parliament:
It’s important to note that, if the composition of the senate committees were really his issue, Harper could resolve this problem far earlier than March. He could, in fact, prorogue parliament in one day. Shut it down, appoint his senators, restart, and issue a new throne speech. That he isn’t doing this; that parliament is to be out of session for two whole months, is a telling statement of what it is he truly wants to avoid…
Here, now, we have a prime minister who seeks to suspend the work of parliament — not, as it could have been argued last year, to establish a seven week cooling period before facing the prospect of changing a government in the middle of an economic crisis, but to thwart the work of various committees asking questions in the name of accountability. This is a prime minister who has defied the principle of parliamentary supremacy, ignoring a direct order by vote of parliament to turn over uncensored documents to a parliamentary committee for investigation, in order to save his own political skin. Whatever high ideals the move to suspend parliament last year might have had, they’re not present here. The move is nakedly political, and shames our democracy.
UPDATE 5 @ 2:49 pm: The official PMO line for why Harper needs to prorogue is so they can implement the last phase of their economic action plan. Huh?