Is Parliament in session? The PMO won’t say

by John Geddes

In one of the more bizarre bits of circumlocution that I’ve ever heard from a prime-ministerial spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press secretary, would not say a few minutes ago if Parliament has been shut down or not.

In a telephone briefing for Parliament Hill media, Soudas confirmed that a new throne speech—launching a fresh parliamentary session—will be delivered March 3, and a budget the following day. That means the present session must be ended, or prorogued, by the Governor General sometime before then. And Soudas did reveal that the PM spoke to the GG today, presumably on that very matter.

But what did they agree to do? On that seemingly straighforward question, Soudas was strangely evasive. “You know,” he said, “discussions between the Prime Minister and Governor General are private, they’re confidential. I’m obvious not aware of the conversations between the Prime Minister and Governor General.”

Well, I guess certain details of such a chat might reasonably be kept private. However, on whether the country’s national legislature continues to be in session, passing laws and such, or not, I would have thought the Prime Minister’s Office might go so far as to let the rest of us in on the secret.

Apparently not. “There was a telephone call between the Prime Minister and the Governor General earlier today,” was all Soudas would tell us. “I never comment on discussions between the Prime Minister and the Governor General.”

How, then, are we to find out? I asked. “Feel free to call Rideau Hall,” Soudas helpfully suggested. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something—my communications with the Governor General’s residence being subject to no particular code of discretion.

More on this later.




Browse

Is Parliament in session? The PMO won’t say

  1. Perhaps we are now to be informed via speeches from balconies.

    • well, we may not be "a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term" anymore, but we are well on our way to being crowned the next Banana Republic Idol!

    • Weren't you the guy on At Issue complaining about how the media likes to build narratives out of meaningless events like Harper's piano playing ?

      I see the "King Harper" narrative is now in full force though.

      A spokz doing a classic, routine, completely ordinary no comment is now acting in a "bizarre" mannger that goes too far.

      • right. cause one couldn't possibly distinguish the importance of harper playing a piano at the nac and harper proroguing parliament. actually one could; you just seem incapable…or unwilling.

    • Perhaps you should not have accepted for years to publish information obtained at press conferences from PMO officials who speak on the condition that they remain anonymous.

    • Call the WSJ or Fox. Maybe they know what's goin' on.

    • And you appear to be at a point of hurling yourself from one. What a drama queen.

    • Aren't we full of the Christmas spirit Andrew. All will be revealed in the fullness of time my friend. Just relax, have a drink(s) tomorrow night and the new year will be full of sweetness and light. You guys will never learn. Harper operates to his own tune and does not allow the so called unbiased media to control him.

  2. Then they really should have done all this in May. It's freezing here.

  3. and if we're lucky Stephen will throw us some crumbs

    • Only if you play nice. Thus far you are failing miserably.

  4. Can somebody please drop an atomic bomb on Dimitri Soudas.

    • He's just doing his job…

      • Ah yes the just-following-orders defense. Carry on then.

        • I don't really enjoy listening to Dimitri Soudas all that much; the evasiveness of many spokespeople these days is annoying.

          I was pointing out that I thought your comment was misdirected and over the top.

    • Classy. Up there with the Oswald Photoshop that went over so well…

      • There there. Have a glass of wram milk and go hug your blankie. It'll be ok. On one's actually going to drop an atomic bomb on Dimitri Soudas.

  5. wtf do we all get the time off.it i dont think politicians should have more time off ,i think they should get back to work like the rest of us and fix the problems facing this nation.

    • You cannot believe that they simply are sitting with their feet up for the next two months. If you do then you really don't know much about what a politician does for a living.

  6. They need time to get the podium out of storage.

  7. manner, not mannger.

    Apologies.

  8. Do you think Harpo has enough material to play piano for two months? Or maybe he just needs time to finish up the book. Last chapter: Olympic Gold?

    • Oh I thought he needed the time off to try out for AC/DC

      • a couple months worth of last minute edits and we have our hockey book finally!

        • Book launch and signing to be held at site of Olympic Gold game. Don Cherry as Senator.

          I had thought it was a nightmare BUT IT'S REAL DAMMIT!

          • holy sh*t you might be right.

  9. If knowing 1 minute earlier would change your life, Maybe the PM would tell you first. They are going to get an extra 30 days out of the deal and give us some peace and quiet while the games are on in B.C.
    And maybe those bills that will be cancelled, will be redone better and not having any changes to them. That would be nice.

    The press are like that yippy dog,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov-1S8Xxd94&fe

  10. So Parliament will be prorgued and we haven't found out the exact date because the GG hasn't made it official so the Liberal whiners at MacLeans are upset?

    Sorry if the world doesn't revolve around you MacLeans, but you will have to wait until the OFFICIAL announcement and that will be made by the GG.

  11. Is Steve Harper In session.I simply do not like this man and his tactics
    however taking into account with the Olympics coming soon and Canada being on center stage.I guess we need to be selling Canada.
    Hopefully he will fall and break his neck up in whistler

    • And a merry Christmas and a happy new year to you as well. Hope people treat you exactly as you treat other people. In the meantime if you can't add to the discussion why bother commenting at all.

    • Wow, the class keeps on coming. Disagreeing with policies and tactics is fine. Wishing for (better yet, WORKING for) the defeat of a disfavoured politician is way cool. What you're up to is just pathetic.

  12. The only ones this will anger is the lefties.They have tried their damnedest to do everything possible to make Harper and the government look bad.Carolynn Bennett's academy award performance on swine flu the great flu epidemic that fizzled .Copenhagen that their saviour in Obama proved to be less in agreement with than Harper.The detainee torturing that only seems to grab the beltway while our sons and daughters are dieing.To let this bunch of hypocrites the chance to condemn our military and country during the Olympics never.Good Move Harper

    • Right. Because proroguing parliament is almost as sexy as cancer. Oh right that was someone impersonating a CON minister…

  13. If it is shut down, below is a list of some of the bills that die on the order paper. Here is a list of 32 bills that Harper killed today.

    - 15 "crime bills" die, including 11 amendments to the Criminal Code , including the various minimum sentence amendments, etc. Harper has introduced and killed some of these at least 3 times now.

    - Bill C-58 dies (mandatory reporting of internet child porn over which the Cons accused the Bloc of supporting child porn because they wouldn't speed the bill along)

    - 2 free trade agreement bills (Jordon and Columbia) and one significant US trade law (C-60)

    - Bill C-6, re consumer safety products

    • Oh no!
      If only there were some magical way to re-do the bills in, say, the next session or something…

      • And at their exact same position if the opposition provides consent !

        So long as the opposition doesn't obstruct parliement then this bills dying arguement is complete and utter trash.

        • minus half a year to a year, hoping Harper doesn't call or force yet another election or prorogue yet again.

      • Justice Minister Rob Nicholson continued to rage against Liberal senators, accusing them of delaying a bill…"This idea that this should be delayed beyond the (Thanksgiving week) break is ridiculous," Nicholson fumed. (Oct 8, 2009)

      • So what you're saying is that the Conservative talking points about it being imperative that the bills be passed now (Right now! No, don't you dare delay them by debating! Now!) was all just a load of bull?

    • All of these bills will be brought back with a far greater chance of success.The Conservatives will be in charge of the Senate .Twits like Goodale wil have theri chance to put his big wind bag mouth where our money is by voting down the budget.We all know this will not happen because the Liberals would end up in third place in the next election.Layton will holler but will be thrilled with this move.

  14. Let me guess – Nobody else gets to report it until CTV has delivered their script.

  15. Can you read ?

    My point was between playing the piano and a reporter being given a "no comment".

    That has to be the most overblown "no comment" in history.

    Geddes thinks its some revolutioniary thing, Coyne chimes in saying its further evidence of King Harper.

  16. yeah and where you are saying that this is comparable to the non-story narrative re piano playing, i am saying you are full of it.

    • No, you quite clearly tried to suggest I was saying that prorogation is a non-story on the level of piano playing, which is quite clearly not what I said.

      Your pride seems to prevent you from admitting your mistake.

      For the final time – Geddes recieving a "no comment" from Dimitri Soudas is a complete and utter non-story that did not require a blog posting.

      The only reason "no comment" was made into a blog posting is because it fit a media narrative, in the same way that paino playing fit a media narrative.

    • No need to further debase yourself, you seem quite clearly out of sorts today.

      Cheer up, i'm sure your reading comprehension will be back tommorow !

      • pls explain, if your only point was the 'no comment' why you raised either piano playing or the Coyne's burgeoning the King meme.

        • Ok.

          Coyne was on At Issue earlier this year explaining how annoying it was for the media to take minor events like Harper playing the piano and fitting them into larger narratives.

          So what we have here is a "no comment" being taken and blown into evidence of the pre-existing media narrative about King Harper.

          I am not comparing the importance of prorogation to Harper playing the piano or suggesting that it is a non-story.

          What I am saying is that this specific, routine, and irrelevant "no comment" IS a non-story being tied into an existing story, which I agree is a valid and important issue to discuss.

          • ok. thanks for the clarification. that was not clear in your original comment.

  17. No don't call the GG, keep calling Harper's office that way if you don't get a response the PM is "at it again being secretive and insular". If you actually do get a response from the PMO then they are usurping the GG when the announcement is supposed to come from the GG. Either way you get a same old same old story that liberals and most of your audience want to hear. While your at this why don't you ask him when he stopped beating his wife or when he stopped using heroin? If this doesn't work for you then you can always just re-spin it as just more unwarranted paranoia of the press who NEVER have a strong political bias or agenda. Keep up the inspiring work Geddes, it is the hard work demonstrated in pieces like this that drive people away from traditional media.

  18. I wonder if the expression "go fish" figured in the telephone conversation between the PM and the GG?

  19. Maybe Harper just informed the GG of his plans but she was non-comittal? Could that be it — that Harper didn't ask for it because he wasn't sure she would agree to it?

    Seems to me if she had agreed to it, Harper would have rolled up and announced his talking points from Rideau Hall.

    • Harper isn't in town but don't let that bother you. Keep on with the talking points.

  20. “I never comment on discussions between the Prime Minister and the Governor General.”

    Write that one down for future reference.

  21. Hey John, it's been almost 2 hours…. where's the update? Why haven't we heard from the GG? I can see a conspiracy theory on the horizon if she doesn't say something soon….

  22. Now Iffy can move up his Thinkers Tea from March to January!!!

  23. An additional five weeks (from Jan 27 to March 4),

    means the end to democracy in Canada. I'm told by posters and commenters alike here, that we're now a brutal dictatorship.

    No loss of perspective here.

    Then again,

    Harper may not have ate a communion wafer, so….you know…the end of days was already upon us.

  24. "I would have thought the Prime Minister's Office might go so far as to let the rest of us in on the secret."

    ???

    The GG acts on the advice of the PM. She's the one who decides if parliement is in session or not. Its the job of her spokesperson to make these sort of announcements.

    This story reads like: Harper spokesmen does something improper

    when it should should read: reporter complains about source not giving him info.

    • Oh, settle down, Dimitri.

    • Well yes, but if the PMO is announcing that we'll having another throne speech, why be coy about it? If they're waiting for the GG to speak first, why have the PMO brief the press beforehand. This is a bit odd.

  25. He needs the time to prepare a second piano piece to play.

  26. This is the first REAL man you've had since Trudeau gave you the finger. I like Harper more. He is understated and not given to Gaullic demonstrations of insouciance. We need more of the understated, dare I say Protestant type of leader.
    Protestants even have more humble churches, less ostentatious. Yes. I like Harper. A lot. Keep him going I say as he matches exactly the true Canadian, not some esoteric lice from the continent with Euro trash creds.

    • he's an evangelist not a protestant. protestants shun him.

    • Ah yes, the REAL man – the man who married a woman who is not smart enough to obtain a degree. Dion was not a REAL man – nor a REAL-leader because his wife was too smart. Read Conservative Stephen Taylor he'll explain it all. Dion could not appeal to REAL Canadian voters because he married an intelligent, educated woman. And REAL Canadians don't think REAL men marry intelligent women. Were you one of those who referred to Dion as Stephanie?

  27. Well. That settles it for me. I'm gonna put away my l'il flag and not .. not .. watch the Olympics.

    Gonna go to a nice quiet l'il spot in southern North Carolina and abuse golf balls.

    That'll fix 'em.

    To quote the great Shane MacGowan .. Bugger off, ya bast–ds, bugger off …

  28. COWARDS! They BOTH should show up and announce this to Canadians. Typical of wannabe dictators. GG is an accomplice!

  29. I find this convenient considering that in Ontario and BC, the Government is introducing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) starting July 1 of 2010.
    Out of sight, out of mind…………right!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *