Toronto Mike

Harper is Prorogue Happy and an Insult to Democracy


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


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.

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