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The rebuttal to Conservatives who protest that proroguing of Parliament is ‘routine’

I posted this yesterday as one of the contributors at the No Prorogue website in its blog section as an opinion piece; I reproduce it for everyone who reads my blog here .

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The best rebuttal I’ve seen to that attempted argument comes from Michael Den Tandt, in his op-ed in the Owen Sound Sun Times decrying Harper’s 2nd prorogue in 2 years:

…there’s another issue, overriding all the others: That is, very simply, cowardice. Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament last winter to get himself out of a serious political jam of his own making. Now he’s done the same thing again, and for the same reason.  It’s actually about “recalibrating” the government and reforming the Senate, the government spin tells us. That’s a crock, and everyone in Ottawa knows it.Harper was taking serious fire on the detainee issue, and he was beginning to find it uncomfortable. The mess in Copenhagen didn’t help. He didn’t want to come back to more controversy. So he closed the doors, hoping the Olympics would take our minds off the workings of government. He had an opportunity to rebut Richard Colvin’s points about detainee handling. Instead he fled and sent Parliament home. He ran away, rather than face his critics in a stand-up, public debate.

Conservative apologists for this have been saying, as has become their habit: What’s the big deal? Jean Chretien prorogued a few times too. It’s routine. Except it’s not routine in a minority Parliament. It’s not routine when you have dozens of bills on the table and work left undone. And it’s not routine to do it two years in a row, and in both cases when you’re under intense political pressure from the opposition.

Next time a Conservative colleague tries to use the “prorogue is routine” argument, remind them of that last paragraph. By the way, that column is coming from a columnist working for Sun Media – hardly a Liberal or NDP loving newspaper chain. When THEY have columnists decrying this, you know Harper has misjudged this move badly.

Don’t let him or his supporters get away justifying his contempt of Parliament through proroguing the House as being “routine”.

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