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Opinions on prorogation of Parliament

I have just a minor quibble with an otherwise excellent Andrew Coyne column at Macleans where he condemns Harper’s contempt of Parliament. I noted this part of his column, which seems a tad resigned or cynical at the reaction of “some folks”:

Each time Parliament allows one of these abuses to pass, its power is reduced a little more. Indeed, so diminished has it become that it is hard for some observers to muster much indignation at this latest assault: it’s only Parliament, after all. It’s exactly this sort of whittling away by degrees that has allowed closure, for example, to be invoked more or less routinely to cut of Parliamentary debates, where once it was to be used only in the most extreme circumstances.

“Some observers” may have trouble mustering indignation at this latest shuttering of Parliament, but if you read the front page of Progressive Bloggers for example, or Liblogs, and so on, you see a LOT of indignation at this manoeuvrer.  Perhaps Andrew is only referring to observers who happen to have guestblog columns in major newspapers, but blog roots folks who don’t get to do those columns have opinions that count as well, and they are overwhelmingly negative.  (That’s not a knock against Jeff, by the way; I know he’s as disgusted at this latest Harper stunt as the rest of us).

Also, as an aside, and as noted at several of the aforementioned blogs that are indignant, there are plenty of media observers and editorials this morning who are very indignant at this move, so at least some portions of the country aren’t yet willing to shrug at this latest attempt by Harper to make Parliament irrelevant, or to avoid accountability by shutting it down for a couple of months. That gives me hope.

The Afghan detainees issue will not go away just because Harper wants it to. It will be an imperative of the opposition parties to follow through with their demands of uncensored Afghan detainee documents when Parliament returns,and get the Speaker to issue his Warrant ordering the government to do so. Indeed, the media, opposition parties and everyday citizens who are actively involved/engaged in the Canadian political process need to keep digging on this issue – an issue Harper would like to see buried and go away. (The International Criminal Court may not let him bury this issue,  but that’s still down the road).

10 comments to Opinions on prorogation of Parliament

  • Robert

    Here are some civil disobedient things to consider doing:
    1. Email your Conservative MP constantly and request a meeting in his/her constituency office, keep track of correspondence and responses, be persistent, make them work at home, tie up his/her time meeting with non-Conservatives, go in with complicated files to deal with, get a passport, assistance with the renovation rebate program, be creative, but make them be in the office meeting with you;
    2. Start a “Boo Harper” campaign on Facebook and Twitter, to boo whenever he or one of his Ministers appear at an Olympic event in BC, wear black armbands with the Conservative logo with a red circle and diagonal line threw it, until democracy returns to Canada;
    3. Send an email to the Governor General with the
    Subject heading: Resign
    Dear Governor General:
    Although I appreciate that you are doing a fantastic job handing out medals, awards and anniversary greetings, as well as, traveling around the country and the world, not to mention eating seal meat; your real job is to be a check in our Constitutional system of government and to protect the institutions of democracy that support it and make it accountable to the people, on this responsibility you have failed and have weakened our democracy, therefore, I regretfully request that you resign since you have already abdicated your Constitutional duties entrusted to you by the people of Canada.

  • Penelope Polyzou

    It is a dangerous erosion of our democratic system in a time where wide range discussions and control on Government policies are vital important. This kind of erosion of democratic institutions has lead the way to dictatorships in the past, especially in difficult economic conditions, see Germany in the 1930’s.

  • @Paladiea: (not sure if I have this threaded reply thingy working)….actually, nothing in my last line indicates an opinion regarding ‘whether we have a democracy or not’; rather it poorly expresses the fact that politicians are political animals (shocka!)who will take whatever expedient measures they feel necessary to protect their skins – regardless of political stripe. In this regard PMSH is no different than those who have gone before, nor those who will come after.

    At any rate I am not entirely sure what you mean by whether we have a democracy or not? Surely proroguing a parliament is entirely legal manoevre and consistent with the Westminster Parliamentry procedure we have lived with since the founding of this country? That you or I may not like it is immaterial to the process. Would you prefer that this measure be removed as a means of managing parliament? (At any rate I am not sure how it could be done)

  • ASME

    Harper created this music. He needs to learn to dance to it istead of singing. Prorouging at this time is disgusting. Stand like a man and face the dance if you are correct Mr. Harper regarding the issues of Afghanistan, the environment and the economy. Instead, you are hiding behind the skirt of the Govenor General. And….what is this drival of following the United States regarding the environment? What do you stand for that is truly Canadian? What is your ethic?

  • I hope you will be just as indignant when, at some future point, one of the other parties holds the reins and finds it expedient to prorogue parliament – not reserving your righteousness for only the Harper conservatives. If you are truly upset at the contempt for parliament apparently demonstrated in this instance by the Conservatives, it would be intellectually dishonest to ignore the antics of any party in commons or in committee. Otherwise one might get the impression that you are nothing but a partisan hack.

    I for one am hardly surprised. Uncomfortable with the heat lately – shut ‘er down. What would you do?

    • Paladiea

      @junior,

      Here’s an idea, how about we cross that bridge when we come to it.

      I also take it from your last line that you don’t care whether we have a democracy or not. Good to know.

    • marie

      Junior, your title says it all about you. Still wearing braces and already playing partisan games with no idea of what real democracy means. Time to grow up Junior

      Shutting it down is a cowardly thing to do Junior and it simply sends a message of guilt to Canadians about the workings of this Bullish government and inept PM.It bears the question of what is he really trying to hide. He will pay the price in the next election which can’t come soon enough for me. Can’t wait to get this piece of garbage to the dumpster where he and his parroting goons belong.

      • @ marie: please do educate me on what a real democracy means then. With the metal in my braces interfering with my brainwaves..

        ..cowardly it may be, but that doesn’t in and of itself make it undemocratic.
        ..bullish and inept PMSH may also be – but in this regard hardly differentiates himself from other PMs we have had;
        ..and undoubtedly he is trying to avoid more questions re Afstan.

        ..proroquing parliament is consistent with the Westminster Parliamentry tradition. It’s application in this instance may be cynical and expedient, but hardly undemocratic.

        As you seem to be very worked up on this, to the point of adhominem attacks, I suggest you put your energies to contacting your MP or party of choice and insisting that they call for a vote of non-confidence at the earliest opportunity.

  • I will suggest that the opposition continue to hammer the government of the Afghan prisoner issue. The opposition needs to make the connection that when the government withholds or blacks-out documents, it not only not trusting parliamentarians, the government does not trust Canadian voters.

    The above is not enough. The opposition also needs to connect with voters on domestic issues–preferably economic ones. I know the environment is supposed to be important. I have come to believe that voters base their voting preferences on issues that affect themselves personally. Climate change is a global issue. However, it is not personal enough unless a voter can actually see the CO2 gas or smog floating around them. People are going to base their vote on how well they are doing economically in their households. Again, the opposition needs to come up with domestic issues that affects most Canadians personally.

    I will now focus on Michael Ignatieff. Just because Parliament is prorogued, that does not mean that Ignatieff should go into hibernation. He needs to both meet the voters and be prepared for the next election. He needs to be ready by March when Parliament is recalled. He needs to show direction and confidence. If Canadians do not want an election, Ignatieff needs to convince them that they need one. If Ignatieff is not confident in himself, then why should Canadians be confident in him?

  • […] it’s because  Canada’s very own tiny, perfect fascist has had the nerve to prorogue Parliament til […]

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