Harper is Prorogue Happy and an Insult to Democracy

OttawaMy how time flies. Has it really been over 12 months since I made prorogue the word of the day?

Prorogue:

tr.v., -rogued, -rogu·ing, -rogues.

  1. To discontinue a session of (a parliament, for example).
  2. To postpone; defer.

Back then, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean granted a request from Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament so he could avoid a confidence vote that would have toppled his minority government. We've just learnt Prime Minister Stephen Harper will prorogue Parliament once more, this time for a two-month break.

The House of Commons and the Senate will come back in March, after the Vancouver Olympics, for a Speech from the Throne and a budget. The move will have the effect of stalling all bills currently in Parliament, including crime bills that the government had said were being delayed by the opposition.

A post-Olympic return would also shut down government committees, which would stop MPs from pursuing the Afghan detainee controversy until Parliament returned.

Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale says “if the government attempts this manoeuvre, it's a shocking insult to democracy" while NDP House Leader Libby Davies says there's no legitimate reason to prorogue Parliament and to do so would be a “political scam.” They're both absolutely right.

I rarely write about Stephen Harper anymore. Truth be told, he's not our prime minister. We've never given him a single seat here in Toronto, and he's not interested in our future support. The man has been PM for almost four years without an ounce of assistance from Canada's biggest city. That's worth something, I suppose, but it's resulted in great political malaise from those of us in the 416.

When did my country become a dictatorship? How is it that so many of my fellow Canadians continue to support this man and his government, when he continuously makes moves to curtail transparency, prohibit journalistic access and limit democracy. This request to prorogue Parliament is the last straw and completely inexcusable.

Is it too much for me to expect my prime minister to be accountable for the Afghan detainees affair? But is this a cowardly move to avoid the scrutiny of a House committee into the treatment of Afghan detainees or is this merely a ploy to gain a majority on Senate committees? Either way, it's not particularly democratic and it reeks of arrogance and politics over governance. It's vintage Harper.

To Mr. Harper: Good luck winning a majority without a seat in this city. The rest of the nation can thank us later for restricting you to minority status.

To Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean: You're where the buck stops. You have the true power here. When Mr. Harper makes his formal request to prorogue Parliament for two-months, just say no. Do it for Canada, do it for democracy, do it for me.

prorogue


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Comments (40 - click here to join in!)

Harper/Democracy Supporter

Idiot Mike, shouldn't you have a big official Liberal logo on your shitty little blog? Please end yourself if the current successful state of the country is such a dictatorship. Moron Liberal (a redundancy).

December 30, 2009 @ 7:03 PM

Dizzy

I don't pay taxes for the government to take three plus months off for vacation.

I like Harper, but I don't like this move. Harper just wants to be PM for the Olympics, as opposed to being on the campaign trail during the event.

December 30, 2009 @ 7:34 PM

elvis

God bless you and the Queen's English (learnt).

While Harper doesn't want to be embarrassed in front of the world during the Olympics (his reason for doing this), I'm sure the Native population will ensure he and the Government are. Good on them too.

December 30, 2009 @ 7:44 PM

kidkawartha

My favorite thing about wingnuts is how they combine two opposite ideas simultaneously and think it's logical.
1. Harper/Democracy Supporter
2. Current successful state of the country=Conservative politics.
The fun just never ends.

December 30, 2009 @ 7:48 PM

Mississauga

Toronto Mike

I think that all this pub you're receiving is somehow making you dizzy. He's not our Prime Minister, please. Typical of a Torontonian to think that the only relevant part of Canada is hogtown.

If you want to talk about a dictatorship, look no further than your own City Hall run by a complete out of touch Mayor. Except for a few, Toronto City Hall is the biggest collection of ineffecient, unproductive, unintelligient misfits that your city has to offer. But thankfully to the ineptitude of Mayor Miller and his collection of rejects, they have been great to all the surrounding cities as they continue to drive all major businesses to the 905 region.

Typical of a liberal to call other dictators when they should look in the mirror. I remember writing something that you didn't agree with severals months ago, so what did you do? You blocked my future comments and even gave my IP out when requested by one of your followers. Don't throw stones Mike, don't throw stones. Thanks Toronto.


Mississauga


December 30, 2009 @ 8:07 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississuaga

Firstly, who wouldn't get a little dizzy from a mention in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix? I'm only human.

Secondly, if I blocked your comments and gave out your IP, that can only mean you're Il Duce. We discussed you on Humble and Fred's 20th Anniversary Podcast. Don't pretend you were banned b/c of your opinion - I've never deleted a comment because I disagreed with the opinion expressed. We both know why you were banned.

And finally, are you calling me a "liberal" or a "LIberal". I'm far more of a liberal than I am a Liberal.

December 30, 2009 @ 8:22 PM

RS

@Harper/Democracy Supporter,

If you think it's a "shitty blog" than why bother visiting it and posting comments? Do you have nothing better to do than insult others due to their politics?


I'm surprised your a Democracy Supporter, because Harper is getting ready to take a shit on your democracy.

December 30, 2009 @ 9:19 PM

Rob

Mike,
Can we give this a rest until after the holiday season? (I'm thinking we can all can resume calling each other names starting Monday January 4th 2010.)

Until then I don't give a fetid dingo's kidney, on which politician is trying to gain points right now.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 30, 2009 @ 9:27 PM

McNulty

Why do people like Il Duce and this other guy always use arguments like "You're a moron Liberal" or "Well just look at what so and so did" instead of using facts or arguments to support their ideas?

Please come up with an actual reason why this is good for Canada.

As for Mike's comment that "his is not our Prime Minister", I have to disagree with it. He is. This is how Canadian politics works and Harper is our PM. Like it or not, how he represents the majority of views or not, he is who got elected. I don't like him representing me but that's how it works.

December 31, 2009 @ 7:45 AM

Cambo

What does proroguing have to do with Democracy. He's using a legal tool available to him, probably for a variety of reasons. Namely being the Olympics. This country is flying, economically, because of the current government. It isn't perfect by any means, but it's way better off had Iggy been in charge. Where is he these days anyway????

This move has nothing to do with any concept of "democracy". In fact, there isn't one nation on the earth that is purely democratic. They're all forms of democracy. The move is purely to keep the opposition from hanging on 1 torture case from 3 years ago. And I will bet anything, that if an election were called, Harper would win again. When the economy is doing well, it reflects on the current government...whoever it is. If it's not, they're playing golf...regardless of what the government can say or do.

December 31, 2009 @ 7:46 AM

Ajax Mike

What does the Olympics have to do with anything? I'm as proud as anyone to have the Games in Canada this winter, but that doesn't mean I want my government to stop working. We've had the Games before, did we shut down parliment then?

December 31, 2009 @ 8:56 AM

Cambo

No, the Olympics in the sense the world is watching the Canadian government more so now. The opposition would pounce to embarrass the government during the time. We've had the games before yes, but this is a completely different political clime.

December 31, 2009 @ 9:37 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Cambo

This notion that they'd request a prorogue just so the government isn't embarrassed while the world is watching is precisely why I suggest this is not democratic. That's a terrible reason to ask for a prorogue.

And when I say he's not our PM, I say that as a Torontonian and I say that to emphasize a point. Of course he is our PM, he's Canada's PM and he was elected fairly, but no Toronto MP is a member of the ruling party and Harper shows no interest in courting our favour. In this city, we're just waiting for the rest of Canada to wise up.

December 31, 2009 @ 10:15 AM

Mike from Lowville

Michaëlle Jean is nothing but a Harper whore, much like Lisa Riatt!

December 31, 2009 @ 10:26 AM

Tee

I wish he would prorogue until Dec 31, 2010. That way the politicians of all parties wouldn't be able to scheme as much on how to steal and spend my money.

Government that governs least governs best.

December 31, 2009 @ 10:32 AM

Sammi

I'm waiting for Freddie P's comment on this. I'm sure he will spin it on how rational Harper is.

December 31, 2009 @ 10:38 AM

McNulty

Sammi is probably right. Freddie will spin it and say what a wise move this is and how the Liberals caused this to happen.

Or he actually will agree that this is a bad move and will therefore not comment on it at all.

December 31, 2009 @ 11:05 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

The Globe has an editorial today that's pretty spot-on.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/the-globes-view-democracy-diminished-accountability-avoided/article1415626/

For the second consecutive December, Stephen Harper is putting Parliament on ice. In the act, the Prime Minister is turning prorogation, a sometimes sensible parliamentary procedure, into an underhanded manoeuvre to avoid being accountable to Parliament. In the interests of political expediency, the government will diminish the democratic rights of Canadians.

Proroguing stops committee work and makes all legislation pending before Parliament vanish. Historically, it has been used when a government has implemented most of its agenda. Until Mr. Harper's innovation, it was not an annual occurrence; the last minority government to use it more than once was Lester B. Pearson's Liberal administration in the 1960s.

Today, the Conservative agenda remains unfulfilled. More than half of all government bills - 37 of 64 - introduced since January, 2009, have yet to be passed into law. Eleven of these are justice bills, dealing with such weighty matters as elimination of the faint-hope clause (which still needs to be taken up by the Senate) and tougher sentencing for white-collar criminals and drug traffickers. These can be re-introduced when the new Parliament resumes in March, but they will need to go through the legislative process anew. In any case, Mr. Harper's decision means Parliament will lose more than 20 days: time that could have been used debating, amending and passing these bills.

There is a tactical political advantage to prorogation. The government temporarily eludes an issue of national importance that is particularly inconvenient: its knowledge of torture of Afghan detainees. Government members have already acted as truants when Afghanistan committee hearings are called. The government failed to provide documents to committee members, and implied it will disregard a parliamentary order to produce those documents. Prorogation is the logical extension of such thinking: shut down parliamentary debate entirely.

Prorogation would also allow the government a freer hand in the Senate: five vacancies need to be filled, and committees can be reconstituted after prorogation, giving Conservatives a "governing majority."

Political calculation is clearly behind the decision to prorogue. The Conservatives are hoping to bask in the glow of Olympic glory while dodging the mess and scrutiny of lawmaking, Question Period and an outstanding, unprecedented order from Parliament to provide transparency and truth on the detainee file. Then, they hope to return in March, stronger in the Senate and ready to reclaim, they hope, the public agenda.

Canada's democracy should not be conducted solely on the basis of convenience for the governing party. If the debate over detainees cannot be carried out in Parliament, then it should continue among Canadians at large. On this and other important issues, the government cannot delay accountability forever.

December 31, 2009 @ 12:20 PM

Rob

Mike,
How about discussing more important things, like:
How many Canadians will get metals at the 2010 Winter Olympics?
Will the Women's and Men's
Hockey teams get gold?
and the most important thing,
Where is the 5th Podcast of Humble and Fred? and what is taking so long?

December 31, 2009 @ 3:53 PM

Toronto Icarus

Here we can agree. Harper is a complete gee-bag that has (and continues to ) destroy Canada's standing in the world.

December 31, 2009 @ 6:21 PM

Freddie P.

A childish a naive posting Mike... ridiculous in fact...
The "RATIONAL MAN" has been forced into it by a "cowardly" opposition that puts politics before our soldiers.
The Prime Minister is acting on behalf of all the poor bastards fighting for you and your fucked up city that doesn't have enough brains to do what's right for Canada.
War sucks, and shit happens, and we've finally got a PM who puts the welfare and reputation of his country, above petty socialist poltiics.
As "Cambo" says "proroguing" is part of democracy, unless of course its not convenient for suck ass socialists.
All of you should grow up a bit.
I find it fascinating that you talk about Harper "not" being your Prime Minister, meanwhile he's got support in every other corner of the country.
Doesn't that tell you something... like Toronto is a pathetic waste land of backwards politics.
You don't like Stephen Harper simply because he's a Conservaitve... end of story...
Meanwhile we're coming off a government, LIBERALS, who were probably the most corrupt in the history of the country.
Toronto shouldn't be proud of shunning the Conservatives, it should be ashamed.
For cryin' out loud, look at your goddamn Mayor

I'll say it again. Grow up.

December 31, 2009 @ 8:53 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Freddie, what took you so long?

I think you were busy designing your spin.

December 31, 2009 @ 11:02 PM

Sammi

What would Harper be like if he had a majority government??

January 1, 2010 @ 7:30 AM

Freddie P.

There is no spin.. just maturity..

Oh.. by the way, Happy New Year.. we can only hope it brings a Conservative majority so the whole country can grow up a bit.

January 1, 2010 @ 9:39 AM

Sammi

Fred, if any other party was in power right now and did the exact same thing....you would be all over it and you know it.

You are just as biased in your leanings as as you accuse others on their leanings.

January 1, 2010 @ 10:22 AM

Freddie P.

Bullshit.

January 1, 2010 @ 12:09 PM

Sammi

Fred...your response says it all.

January 1, 2010 @ 12:42 PM

Mississauga

Freddie isn't biased... just logical.

Mike, you and I are the only ones who know why you banned me. If you had a sense of humour, what you took as a knock, the two pros H&F knew I was just breaking balls.

Happy New Year

January 1, 2010 @ 12:44 PM

Mississauga

And Mike, what were you doing reading the Globe and Mail? You seem like a Toronto Star guy.

January 1, 2010 @ 12:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississauga
It's worth noting for the audience at large that I blocked your IP address before you ever commented over here. The comments in question were were at the late-great humblehoward.com.

The Globe and Mail is actually the only paper currently delivered to my house, believe it or not. But you're right... I received the Toronto Star for decades until quite recently.

Taliban Mike

January 1, 2010 @ 1:04 PM

MississaugaBlogger.com

If I ever become Governor General we'll settle all this nonsense over a game if shinny on my residences frozen pool.

January 1, 2010 @ 1:15 PM

Mississauga

See Mike, I know you better than you think.

January 1, 2010 @ 1:19 PM

elvis

Ital Pasta rules.

January 1, 2010 @ 2:39 PM

Frank the Tank

Might be Conservative at 40, but it's looking like it will be Alliance at 50.

January 1, 2010 @ 5:57 PM

pam

Mike, you are still young and very naive. When you are older, you will understand why we can't have socialist dickhead like Layton as our PM. Take the environment. Taliban Jack wants to throw in with Al Gore, who in my view is a dangerous dictator who clearly wants to rule the world. The Climate conference wasn't about the future of mankind - far from it. Rather it was a plot to systematically re-distribute the wealth of the countries like ours to the third world. And I for one, wont have it. So, Harper, in my view, can do whatever he needs to do to keep these socialist/communists at bay. Happy New Year...

January 1, 2010 @ 7:00 PM

Mississauga

Hey Elvis... mamada

January 1, 2010 @ 11:13 PM

Mike from Lowville

So, let me get this straight. With age, comes maturity and with that fact, all you do and believe in is right. All that are younger are naive and don't have a clue. More like senility.

@Pam, you really think the Climate conference wasn't about the future of mankind? A plot to systematically re-distribute the wealth of the countries like ours to the third world? That's already happening and has been for a while now. You know, this Global Economy that everyone says is so important! But wait, you must be like a, um, 20 something? That must be your problem, it's an age thing.

Nice logic eh FreddieP?

Happy Delusional New Year Harper lovers!

January 2, 2010 @ 11:10 AM

Pam

Lowville: -FYI - my comments were directed at Toronto Mike, not you. In

January 2, 2010 @ 12:07 PM

Pauly Walnuts

Dictatorship?! Seriously? It's a minority parliament! If Harper is running a dictatorship how come he hasn't been brought down by a vote of non-confidence? Oh ya I forgot there is nobody better than him available.

January 2, 2010 @ 7:49 PM

Kidney Stones

Great site, exactly what I was looking for, I can't get your RSS feed to work right in google chrome though, is it on my end?

February 3, 2010 @ 9:10 AM

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