About that prorogation

by Aaron Wherry

Speaking to reporters after QP yesterday, Bob Rae identifies what he is not.

Reporter: What do you make of McGuinty proroguing Parliament or the Legislature?

Rae: Well, I mean I’m not going to get into a daily commentary on events in the Ontario Legislature.  The Premier will make his decisions.  Opposition parties will make their own decision.

Reporter: But a lot of Liberals actually slammed the Harper government when they prorogued Parliament so why doesn’t that apply in this case? 

Rae: Because I’m not a daily commentator on the events in the Ontario Legislature.




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About that prorogation

  1. I wonder, is Mr. Rae is still a member of the ON NDP?

    • No. Mr Rae spoke at the convention of the Ontario Liberal Party this past year.
      He left the ON NDP shortly after resigning from the Ontario Legislature in 1996 and has not been connected with the NDP in any way since.

      • “…….in 1996 and has not been connected with the NDP in any way since……”

        In ANY way?

        I’ve photographs which prove this assertion quite false.

  2. I am a neophyte in the ways of the Canadian Parliamentary Political system so my following questions might appear ‘stupid’, but please, bear with me.

    “What would happen if the Members of Parliament for the governing party remained completely silent during this Question Period y’all have? I mean COMPLETELY silent – not even a “No comment”?”

    “What would happen if all Members of Parliament remained equally silent when queried by a member of the Press?”

    Is there any legal recourse to compel them to speak?

    • Nope! People are wont to remind you that “It’s Question Period, not Answer Period”. Presumably, Parliament could decide to find non-answering cabinet ministers (questions are typically directed to the government, not to mere MPs of the governing party) to be in contempt, and that could lead to sanctions including parliamentary jail, but in a majority parliament, that’s not going to happen.

      • In our system of democracy the government is responsible to parliament, not to the monarch or a God. If it were to refuse answering to the deputies that the people in Canada elect to the HoC it would definitely become a dictatorship – and I don’t mean this as an insult !

        • “……….not to the monarch or a God……”

          Curious?
          Why use the definite article to modify the noun ‘Monarch’ but use the indefinite article (and capitalise the ‘G’ in god) for the noun ‘god’?

          • I do my best to write in your language. How are you in mine? If you find my English grammar offensive we can switch to French – I’m very good at it and I will be happy to correct any problem you have with usage.

          • I was not correcting your grammar.

            Your grammar is fine.

            By writing ‘the monarch’ you are implying there is but one monarch – presumably HRH Queen Elizabeth II. There are, of course, many monarchs.
            By writing ‘a God’ you are implying there is more than one god. This is an Atheist’s tactic, but by affording the word ‘god’ a capital, you imply this particular god, one of many, deserves reverence enough to warrant a capital letter.
            It is self-contradictory.
            It is curious.

            I do not speak or write French – it is illegal to do so from whence I came.
            Latin?
            Ancient Greek?
            Those would be fine

          • By writing ‘the monarch’ you are implying there is but one monarch – presumably HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

            Not really. I don’t think she’s implying that there’s only one monarch, it’s just that in this case she’s referring, specifically, to the particular Monarch of Canada. I think monarch should arguably be capitalized there, but there’s nothing wrong with writing “the Monarch” when you’re referring to a specific monarch, just as it’s perfectly proper to write “the Queen” when referring to a specific queen. There’s no implication there that no other queens or monarchs exist, it’s just an acknowledgement that in the context of the piece you’re referring to a specific monarch, in this case OUR monarch, the Queen of Canada.

            As to “a god”, ironically, the error is the opposite. God SHOULDN’T be capitalized there as this isn’t a reference to the specific person named “God”, in which “God” is being used as a proper noun, but the word is being used to describe a class of beings otherwise known as deities. God is a god, but so is Zeus and we capitalize “God” when referring to Yahweh because in English “God” is Yahweh’s commonly used proper name. When referring to other gods, or the concept of “a god” we don’t need to use a capital because we’re referring generically to the concept of a supreme divine entity, and the group of beings who fit in that category, not to the specific deity commonly known by the proper noun “God”.

            As for the notion that implying that there’s more than one god is an “atheist tactic”, that makes no sense. Why would an atheist, who doesn’t believe that there are ANY gods, imply that there are many gods? What’s more, even an atheist capitalizes Zeus when referring to the Greek god Zeus, and God when referring to the Judeo-Christian god “God”. It’s not about reverence, it’s about being clear with your reader when you’re referring to gods in general, and when you’re referring to a specific god commonly referred to in the Abrahamic religions in English as “the” God in particular.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • From this comment, I gather you lack the self-awareness to realize that you are more so…by far.

          • I’ll take accurate over exciting when critiquing the writing of others. I also think that pedantic is the more accurate criticism than “boring”, but that’s arguably just me being pedantically boring, lol.

            ETA: Only some of the more long-standing commenters may get this reference, but every once in a while someone has to do a post in remembrance of Conan the Grammarian.

    • I would imagine not, but as they say, parliament is the court of public opinion.

      A government that does not answer to the people it governs is not a democratic government. It’s a dictatorship, isn’t it?

      • And a ‘dictatorship’ is considered bad?
        Do you actually believe the unlettered, swarthy masses know what is good for them?
        Today, seven of the first 12 customers who experienced the exquisite joy of having me ‘serve’ them were unable to confirm to me that they ‘know’ Ireland is an island. And none of them were aware of the fact that there are actually two Irelands – Northern and Real!

        And all of these people vote!

        • Maybe the seven customers just didn’t appreciate being questioned by you! Who do you think you are ? Interrogator, judge and executioner?

          I have met medical doctorS who were unable to strap babies in car seats. Yes, all these people have the right to vote. Consider yourself lucky to live in a democracy, one of its main features being that you can leave anytime you want, without having to obtain the permission of the government. You can avail yourself of this privilege anytime you wish.

          • “……..Who do you think you are ? Interrogator, judge and executioner?…….”

            As a matter of fact, I am the first two for sure. To become also the last; executioner, would require quite a ‘mistake’ on my part. Mistakes have happened to others who serve customers as I do, and in our wonderful democracy, these ‘mistakes’ are well hidden from the people!
            Are you sure we are not already in a dictatorship?

        • There’s a lot of appeal to a meritocracy. But you should pick up Saul’s “On Equilibrium” and give it a read. He points out reasons why a meritocracy ultimately produces a stagnant society, but it essentially boils down to, “We only recognize merit in areas where we already know it’s important.. however real advances usually come from areas we didn’t think were important in the first place.”

          Dictatorships are considered bad in general because there’s no real guarantee you’ll get a decent, or even intelligent person at the helm.. it could just be the guy who’s best at manipulating individual people, and a complete ignoramus at doing anything to benefit the society as a whole — and once there, there’s little to no check on their ability to screw things up for the rest of us.

          • “……….Dictatorships are considered bad in general because there’s no real guarantee you’ll get a decent, or even intelligent person at the helm………”

            And Democracy provides a guarantee that the deeply stupid electorate get ‘a decent, or even intelligent person at the helm’?

            We are in a Dictatorship. It just isn’t one of people or a person. It is one of a system. And I for one welcome it! The deeply stupid electorate think they have a say, but they don’t. And this is good!

          • Read the rest of the post.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Learn what a paragraph is.

          • May as well give up, Thwim. He’s Emily on acid.

          • Heh. Fair enough. The first post was an attempt to see if conversation can be held, but after that it just got too easy to mock, and I’m lousy at resisting temptation.

        • Northern and Real? Really?
          There’s Eire and N Ireland and N Ireland is part of the United Kingdom so really there is Eire and the UK. Unless N Ireland now sit in the UN, the EU and issue passports.

          • Northern Ireland is NOT part of the United Kingdom.
            England, Scotland and Wales together with the province of Northern Ireland, form the country officially known as “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”
            Okay, maybe it is.
            But the Isle of Man certainly isn’t!

            And my quip about ‘Northern’ and ‘Real’ was intended to evoke the following response:

            “Oh dear! ‘Real’ Ireland? And I thought The Troubles were over”

  3. Weak, weak, weak.

    What a sickening response.

    • Yeah, brutal.

      Fate occasionally hands folks the opportunity to show that they truly meant what they said just a few months ago. But no, equivocation, magnifying the tiniest distinction to seem like a night and day difference between “this” and “that”. Almost unbelievable.

      I’m similarly feeling kinda queasy.

      (And yes, ALTF, I do have an adequate antiemetic at hand. ;-) )

  4. Big difference. McGuinty resigned. Harper didn’t resign. Not comparable.

    Can’t you pundit guys take YES for an answer? He resigned!

    You would have to be pretty naive to think Hudak would not try to engineer the defeat of the Government before the new leader is chosen and force McGuinty to fight another election.

    • It’s a big distinction and I do think McGuinty acted much more honourably than Harper, but that doesn’t let Dalton off scott free.

      • I’d say there is enough stink to cover both of them. It could be argued that Harper – at least – came back to face the music. McGuinty, on the other hand, sneaked out in the middle of the night like a deadbeat tenant. And he bricked up the doors and windows on his way out, to boot.

        The problem that our democracy faces is that constitutional conventions were developed at a time when personal honour could be relied upon. With this modern crop of politicians – people without an ounce of personal integrity – our system is collapsing in a cloud of apathy. Actions which formerly would have been a personal disgrace are now shrugged off as “clever tactics” or defended as “not actually illegal” as if that were some kind of strength,

        In a healthy democracy, both Harper and McGuinty would be shunned as cheaters and charlatans. In Canada, they are called ‘successful political leaders’ by their peers and by a wheedling press corps looking to get latched on to the public teat.

        • Now that’s odd because I think it’s more acceptable to pro-rogue when you are qutting as leader,at least you’re taking consequences. people have been mentioning that if Harper had quit when he first pro-rogued the entire matter wouldn’t have seemed as bad, and while hindsight might put it in a different light I think that assessment is correct.

          And it’s nice to think that earlier politicans were better people. but 19th century prime ministerial candidates used to to revel in how easy it was to say one thing in new Brunswick and another in Montreal, knowing one group would never see the newspapers of the other.

    • I’ll be happy for Harper to prorogue Parliament again if it means he’ll resign.

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