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Shutting down Parliament: on the economy, detainees, and senators

The PMO gives its reasons—sort of—for proroguing Parliament


 

I took three main points from the media briefing offered earlier this afternoon by Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, on shutting down Parliament until March 3. MPs had been scheduled to return from their year-end break on Jan. 25.

1. The government is emphasizing the economy. Soudas said a new parliamentary session is needed to set in motion “basically the next phase of the economic action plan.” There will be a budget on March 4, the day following the throne speech that will begin the new session. However, how much “action” can there possibly be in that plan? After all, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been warning Canadians not to expect anything much in the way of new tax cuts or spending. That suggests to me something more like an inaction plan, not necessarily a bad thing, but why does it require a new session?

2. The Conservatives are hoping the Afghan detainees issue will fizzle from lack of Question Period and House committee attention. Asked if the government will at least appoint a new Military Police Complaints Commission chair, to allow the MPCC to resume its own inquiry into the matter, Soudas didn’t come close to answering. Instead, he took the opportunity to slam the opposition parties for pursuing what he cast as a stale file. “They are looking at an issue where it is old news,” he said, adding, “And we’re going to continue focusing on the economy.” Obviously, keeping the issue alive through January and February is now a key challenge facing Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

3. The Prime Minister is eager not to be seen as wasting the work already done by the House on important legislation. Soudas said the private member’s bill to scrap the long-gun registry will not be affected by ending one parliamentary session and beginning another. He said key bills on consumer protection and drug crime will be reintroduced intact in the new session. And he suggested Parliament will function more smoothly when it resumes, since the Prime Minister will have had time to appoint five new senators—not quite enough for a Tory Senate majority, but giving them more senators than the Liberals. All this, though, argues for continuity with the work of the session the Prime Minister is ending, rather than providing any convincing grounds for starting a whole new one.


 

Shutting down Parliament: on the economy, detainees, and senators

  1. 1 – Perhaps there will be spending cuts? Very delicate work that will require the attention of the full team to be sure.

    2 – Valid point.

    3 – You're contradicting yourself. For parliement to work smoothly Liberal obstructionism in the senate must end. This will do so, which is an arguement FOR proroguation.

    • The job of the Opposition is to oppose, NOT to make Parliament 'run smoothly.'

      • Your point?

        And its the job of the gov't to govern, which requires a smooth parliement.

        So they are taking steps to ensure that will happen.

        Everybody is doing their jobs. The situation is as right as rain from where i'm standing.

        • Can you give an example of where the Senate has been obstructionist? Please kindly define what obstruction would look like in a system that expects meaningful review of legislation.

          • You're talking about two different things.

            Its self evident that the senate is obstructing the HOC by not passing their legislation. That is the very defintion of the word.

            If you're asking whether they are doing anything not sanctioned by our system the no, they have every right to act the way they do in our system.

            Then again, does not Harper have every right to act the way he does ?

            Its important to seperate out what he consider to be moral and what we consider to be legal.

          • I noticed elsewhere that you like to use sophist dictionary arguments to deflect. Contextual use of a word can give it nuanced meaning. I interpreted your use to be judgemental, to imply that the obstruction was in some way improper time delaying with no purpose other than to frustrate supposed time shedules. However, I did not wish to make the error of imposing my interpretation on you and asked, giving a hint of where I was coming from.

          • I'm not deflecting anything.

            It is possible to assert that someone is being a rational actor in a situation and still disagree with what they are doing.

            Liberal senators are obstructing. They are free to do so. I do not argue that is improper in terms of their job description (the context you put around the word obstruction).

            I am making a values judgement, coming from a position of supporting the bills they are blocking.

            My assumption is that people who care about things that the Liberal senators are blocking well have a negative judgement of them.

        • I'm sorry, but the govt does not get a 'smooth run', ever. This is a democracy.

          • Why should ANY government get a smooth ride? Be it majority or minority. Unless the Harper regime wants a "smooth" government like Russia or Iran?

    • 3 – go read Wells. he debunked that talking point hours ago.

      • He debunked nothing.

        He suggested using the senate rules in a completely unconventional manner.

        A move that would require the consent of the opposition.

        You really see the Liberals giving their consent to being kicked off committees ?

        LOL.

        • you must have brown eyes.

          He suggested using the senate rules in a completely unconventional manner.

          says the dude that is proroguing Parliament in a completely unconventional manner

          A move that would require the consent of the opposition.

          so does using proroguing Parliament to reset committees.

          also if that is all this was, you could literally prorogue Parliament for an afternoon to get it done.

          like i said your eyes must be brown.

          • "so does using proroguing Parliament to reset committees."

            You really think Liberal senators are going to block the senate from entering session, shut down the gov't of Canada, and spark a constitutional crisis ??

            Lol, yeah right. Unless they want to be out of a job in 10 seconds.

          • you are just demonstrating my point that you are full of it.

            No one suggested that anyone is going to try to block the session, and in another thread another thread Dallan Invictus already told you "The problem with your assumption is that the initial setup of committees upon a new session also proceeds with "opposition co-operation"".

            i would tell you to try to keep up because it would be a lot less aggravating, but we all know the issue is that you refuse to.

          • You don't consider blocking the formation of senate committees (which are required for the senate to function) to be shutting down the senate and consequently the gov't of Canada ??

            Seriously ?

            Opposition co-operation for the formation of committees is ASSUMED by everyone because refusing to grant it is tantamount to shutting down parliement.

            Please don't go around telling people they are full of it when you reveal a complete and utter lack of understanding every time you comment!

          • my point is that that the opposition has equal opportunity to be difficult in the reformation of committees either during in-session changes or during post-prorogation changes you "five alarm moron".

  2. Why does the press, think that this torture thing is anything. Its over 3 years old. Just cause the Liberals want to make noise, doesn't make it news, other than to say, they are making noise.

    And to suggest that Harper is shutting down parliment for it, is wrong.
    I think the reason Harper is shutting down parliment, is for peace and quiet and holiday during the games in B.C.

    Time has shown that Liberals don't know how to act when company is over. I know the torture issue is nothing, we all know it, but the Liberals wouldn't know enough to shut up. And you can bet that when an election comes, they are going to be punished. The Harassment has gone way to far, they keep crying over their loss, and keep making up this kind of Crap, when us Canadians only have one life to live, and don't need the Hell on earth.

    If Liberals want to backstab and carry on, and cause issue, do it somewhere else.

    • The question of possible war crimes is not a minor one, or one easily dismissed.

      In fact:

      OTTAWA–The longer the Conservative government resists calls to launch a public inquiry into the handling of prisoners in Afghanistan, the greater the risk the International Criminal Court will probe Canada's role in the transfer of detainees, says an expert on the law of armed conflict and international rights.

      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/

      • For that matter, even if the war crimes allegation is irrelevant, the more important thing domestically is the lengths they're going to to hide something that they're describing as irrelevant.

        It's never the crime, it's always the cover-up. You'd think the CPC would know that.

        • Yes, if there was nothing to it, the govt would have had a public inquiry long time ago. Trying to cover all this up just makes people even more suspicious.

    • The news is that the government knowingly lied to Canadians about it, then covered it up. They are now effectively in contempt of Parliament, and will be officially declared so once Parliament resumes.

      • You're the judge and jury, are you? lol

        • Agree with you Dennis, AnotPorC isn't the judge / jury…..but that leads me to ask you who is the judge / jury that is going to look into the claims?

          • The voters make the final decision.

          • Do you think that the voters have enough information to make an informed decision regarding the government's handling of the detainee issue?

          • PhilCP,

            What detainee issue, the SPIN or facts?

            I have ZERO doubt the opposition is only using this latest faux scandal to hide the fact they refuse to provide any alternative to the CPC agenda inside the HOC.

            Voters are not paying attention to monthly scandals alleged by the opposition and their media enablers.

            1) Three weeks on a wafer?
            2) Weeks on Raitt demanding an apology, resignation
            3) Weeks calling our government racist over a married Canadian whose sister is hiding and tried to sneak in
            4) A month scaring everyone about H1N1 and using aboriginals as props.
            5) Torch Relay, Novelty Cheques, Letter "c" etc.

            Reality Check:

            The Auditor General gave voters Reports on the mismanagement by the Liberals. Voters give only two federal parties the opportunities to play government. When voters have had enough of the BS, we toss them out. I have lost count how many resignations, public inquiries have been demaned by this opposition.

            The coalition parties have alleged, hidden agenda, rightwing religious conspiracy, the sky is falling for over a year now and they need to make their case to the voters. Just read the Press Release from each opposition party. If not now, when?

            The Canadians want an alternative to Harper by electing two more in November?

            Most people are not losing sleep over human right abuses by Afghans on Afghans or going to change their vote. Anyone else step forward to back up Colvin claims? Why not?

            Testimony of one civil servant vs everyone else. Smoking gun from a shoe beating three years ago showing we did the right thing?

            I trust voters to reward and punish those who are not cooperating in Parliament. I had no problem in October 2008, December 2008, Jan 2009, June 2009, November 2009, December 2009, March 2010 for the opposition to ask us again who should form the government.

          • Thanks CS…I think.

            My question was fairly straightforward, and I gather that your answer is "Yes, there is enough information available", or at least enough for you to be comfortable rendering your judgment.

            Personally, I haven't seen/read/heard enough to be sure; from these comment boards I gather that both of us have like-minded 'supporters'. Also, I don't see the harm in having a few more questions answered, questions that could be cleared up with a few days or weeks of committee work, not months or years. If it really is spin, then that would become obvious to more and more voters as events unfolded. Of course there will always be the hard-core partisans who don't actually need any evidence to render judgment.

            I wasn't really trying to link this one question in with all those other issues……I try to consider each one individually, sometimes taking a stance similar to yours, other times different.

            And I too have stood/will stand ready to vote again; the more the merrier I say.

          • PhilCP,

            The government is not redacting the documents. The civil servants who are apolitical are responsible and in every administration have done so in good faith.
            Do you believe the Liberals and CPC led governments are war criminals and have the cooperation of everyone overseas in a massive cover up? I wish the opposition best of luck with making this a campaign issue.

            Do we need another public Inquiry? The BM-Oliphant $ 20 million waste of taxpayers money, I don't take the cheapseats seriously. The Liberals short circuited every Inquiry and I suspect the CPC would do the same.
            I have no confidence in the opposition doing their job or holding this government to account.

          • Not sure what point you are making wrt redacted documents…

            I'm not a fan of any 'massive cover-up' theory. They are rarely my first choice as an explanation to an 'issue' or 'situation'. I generally believe that it is much more likely that there was a series of smallish errors (some of omission and some of commission), a few oversights and almost certainly some cases of wishful thinking that have combined to give the appearance of possible serious wrong-doing. Yes, in its worst case (which I do believe is quite unlikely) some of those acts would qualify as war crimes.

            It is those few errors of judgment, oversights and wishful thinking (some by civil servants, some by elected officials and some by party staffers) that I want to have identified and documented, and then I want our government to determine if any changes are required. I actually don't even need to see the actual report (security concerns and all); I just want the lingering questions to be given a more thorough investigation than they have received to date.

            Not really that interested in a public inquiry as a method of achieving that, unless all other options are not feasible. That is what I was hinting at when I said not months or years; I should have been clearer.

          • http://www.bluelikeyou.com/2009/12/31/some-insigh

            Listen to the MP3 Rex Murphy with an Robert Gavin on the substance of the issue.

            Gothcha journalism, the level of debate from the actors and the avoidance of our future is the real crime.
            I have become a little thin skinned with the angry left calling our government war criminals and racists without any proof.

    • I hope Dictator Harper along with his political mistress, Michaëlle Jean, can abolish democracy while the NHL playoffs are taking place. We Canadians should be supporting the Toronto Maple Leafs to the finals.

    • Nuh uh, You're full of crap. The lies and coverup happened over the last few months and the minister who was caught lying repeatedly is still in charge. This It isn't about stupid partisanship except that some people are so partisan they are willing to let unelected Justice Department officials make up law about what parliament can see or not see, and let the government run by their favourite party do anything and everything to avoid accountability. After months of hiding behind the troops, and politicizing the military, now the government is going to hide behind Olympic athletes, and you, Scott_G are the problem because you think whatever they do is fine as long as they beat the Liberals.

    • Out of 10 As in 1-10, the detainee question was number 8.People are not hearing what boring Dewar has to say.I think harper will come back stronger, nanos poll has him polling very high as who is best suited as the leader of Canada. Go Harper!

      • The sky is falling opposition can't seem to get their act together. Let's hope they use the extra five weeks off to get their campaign platform ready.

        How much will it cost for the Liberal and NDP Carbon Tax to meet Kyoto?

  3. there is no statue of limitation on: war crimes, murder, rape, or torture

  4. The lesson of Watergate: it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.

    Con partisans claim, often and loudly, that nobody cares about a few Taliban fellows getting hit with a shoe… and they are right to an extent. But this is not a story about what happened to some detainees in Afghanistan any more than Watergate was a story about a third-rate burglary. It's a story about the abuse of government power and it is being played out right in front of us, as we speak. Harper is proroguing the House to avoid a lawful order of Parliament. Even Nixon didn't go that far…

    If the government doesn't fear the people, then the people will fear the government.

    • I think your analogy is weak. The Nixon administration broke countless laws in the covering up of Watergate crimes. What's Harper guilty of other than blocking the actions of an opposition and media that is obviously hyping torture allegations for partisan/ideological purposes?

      • The Nixon administration broke countless laws in the covering up of Watergate crimes.

        That's not actually true. Nixon himself would likely have been found guilty of obstruction of justice if he had not been pre-emptively pardoned by Gerald Ford. The act triggering that charge was a direct order to the head of one agency to curtail an investigation. Nixon tried to defy a legal order to produce the tapes by appeal to the Supreme Court invoking 'Executive Privilige." When he lost that appeal and was ordered to release the tapes, he did so, and then resigned.

        Harper, on the other hand, has been ordered by Parliament, to produce documentation related to the Afghan detainees. He has refused to release the information, up until this point, and is now proroguing parliament which has the effect of nullifying (or at least delaying) the legal demand for production of documents.

        • No. Many members of Nixon's administration were convicted of crimes related to the Watergate cover-up, including top aides Ehrlichman and Haldeman.

          The idea that Harper's tactics are in any way of a criminal nature is absurd.

          His denial of documents to Parliament will be decided by the courts. It's also a point of principle. Should Mark Holland be able to get his hands on any top secret documents he wants?

  5. In other words, Harper's going to prance around the country indulging in taxpayer-funded photo-ops, and then hope for an Olympic-induced glow to catapult him into majority territory.

    Well, good luck with that.

    • He's ALREADY in Majority Territory!

    • he'll just play the piano a couple more times, that'll get the sheep bleating in approval

    • I hope you are right and that libs bite the bullet and vote to defeat the government.

  6. Parliament was supposed to reconvene on January 26th. It'll now reconvene on March 3rd, 5 weeks later.

    What's all the fuss about? During that 5 week period, Canada will also be hosting the world at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

    Why the media hysteria. I don't remember media hysteria when Chretien prorogued Parliament 4 times during his stint as PM.

    Let's all take a deep breath folks. The sky ain't falling.

    • Actually, Chretien didn't prorogue Parliament. He did have parliamentary recess where committees could still do their work but the House of Commons was not sitting.

      • via David Akin blog;

        Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament four times during his time as Prime Minister: February 5, 1996; September 18, 1999; September 16, 2002; and November 12, 2003.

        On each occasion, the Liberals killed their own legislation. Several bills ended up dying over and over again due to Liberals proroguing Parliament or calling early elections.

        September 16, 2002 – After a summer of Liberal in-fighting and Jean Chretien being forced to announce his planned retirement date in August, Chretien prorogued Parliament, killing legislation so that he could unveil his legacy agenda.

        According [to] Eddie Goldenberg, Chretien decided to have a Throne Speech just to test the will of the Martinite forces who were trying to push him out early: Chretien was happy. “I like that. It is exactly what we just discussed. Prepare me a statement. But just one more thing,” said the old fox. “I want a Throne Speech in the fall. The government will stand or fall on it. If they want to vote against me on it, then it is the one case in which I will run again.” (Eddie Goldenberg, The Way it Works, p. 380)

        November 12, 2003 – Jean Chretien announced that Parliament was prorogued on the eve of the Liberal leadership convention (so Chretien and Martin didn't have to sit together in the House of Commons and face a dispute over who was Prime Minister). Martin did not become Prime Minister until December 12, 2003 and Parliament did not resume until February 2, 2004 – almost four months later

        The current session has lasted as long as many comparable sessions under the Liberals, and longer than several of the sessions under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

    • Ya, like everyone deserves 3 months off, then a short time later Easter break off, then a short time later summer.

      Harper is a part-time employee and should be paid accordingly. Not worth the cost

      • Parliament was scheduled to resume on January 23rd, now it will reconvene on March 3rd, do the math.

      • To be fair, the executive branch of the government (the cabinet) continues to function while parliament is in recess or prorogued.

    • "The sky ain't falling."

      Unless it is.

    • "I don't remember media hysteria when Chretien prorogued Parliament 4 times during his stint as PM. "

      Weren't you still nursing when Chretien last prorogued parliament?

    • …….Jarrid—how can you compare 4 times in 10 years (Cretien) as being no different than 4 times in 3 years (Harper)??

  7. At the end of the day, we're talking about one month here. Hardly the indefinite suspension that the critics are depicting it as.

    • Who is saying the suspension will be indefinite? March 3 seems to be the date being discussed. The issue isn't the length of the break, it's that every time the Conservative government is called to account it runs and hides. The recess could be lengthened if they need a longer break. Prorogation is a larger issue – our democracy is being undermined by the supposed party of accountability.

      • I honestly don't think Canadians want torture allegations hyped up as much as you, the media, the Liberals, and the opposition does. A prime minister is perfectly entitled to prorogue Parliament. And, in a month, the opposition and media will have its chance to yell and scream again. Democracy at work, right?

        • uh…. do you, the media, the Liberals, and the opposition qualify as Canadians too?

          If the only reason for this is to stop the "hype" of the torture allegations, then is this in the interest of the taxpayer, or the interest of the Conservatives?

  8. If you look at polling results since early 2006, the CPC has always done better during House adjournments and has always plunged during sessions. The most recent Nanos shows them at just over 39%, up from 35% just about a month ago; the Christmas adjournment worked its magic. Generally, the less Canadians see of Harper, the more they like him.

    Don't be surprised if Harper goes to an election immediately after this next prorogation, in order to exploit the inevitable bump in the polls he'll receive from a nation grateful for having been allowed to forget all about him and his party for three blessed months.

    • Canadians see Harper often during these breaks. It's the endless opposition screaming and hollering that they're not privy to at these times.

      • "Canadians see Harper often during these breaks."

        Where do Canadians "see him?"

      • It's the endless opposition screaming and hollering that they're not privy to at these times.

        Yes. Being away from an opposition helps Harper enormously. It helped Castro too.

        • Oh my God. Castro throws the opposition in jail, has them executed, or puts them on boats at the mercy of sharks.

          Where in the world do some of you get this stuff? Holy smokes.

          No wonder Harper has to always be on his toes if this is the kind of nonsensical accusation he always has to face.

          • Nonsensical, huh? No, he's not executing anybody, just Canadian parliament and democracy. One man, taking over. Shutting down business and more importantly for him, any opposition whatsoever. For what? His own political positioning….an admirable reason to shut down Parliament….. Or then again, it could be the Olympics, because the PMO has offered several lame options… The Olympics is an even better reason!!

            Because imagining for a moment there's some kind of crisis between now and March 3… say in Afghanistan, which is heating up right now… Parliament just won't be there, and nobody can bring it back in that interval to do anything about the problem! But hey, we can all enjoy the Olympics in unfettered bliss. I just love the weird priorities that represents.

            I frankly hope a crisis does come up, because then Harper will be shown up for what he is: a power-hungry opportunist who could care less about Canadians or the integrity of the Parliament of Canada.

    • Nanos was taken during the session.

      Its actually a bit of an old poll, 'round december 10-13 or something like that ?

      • The House rose on December 11th. So respondents had at least two Harperless days. That's good enough! :)

    • I see Sir Francis is already trying to delegitimize the will of the people.

      Fascinating stuff.

      Those preaching about an end to democracy sure don't like to see it in action….if they think it produces the "wrong" results that is.

      • Since when does the will of Harper equate to the will of the "people"? Has he been declared the "Father of the Nation" by the Calgary bureau of the CPC's Commissariat for National-Ideological Hygiene held in secret conclave?

        If you're referring to the latest poll (albeit obliquely and clumsily), use your fingers to calculate how many people would vote against Harper if given a chance. That reflects the true will of the majority.

  9. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't this kill the EI reform and the NDP's reason for propping up the Conservatives?

    • EI passed.

      • The Fairness to the Self-Employed Act received Royal Assent on December 15, 2009 and became law.

    • EI reform was not the reason the NDP propped up the CPC. The NDP propped up the CPC because the NDP was scared to death of the possibility of Ignatieff forcing an election.

  10. It worked for them last time didn't it? Not a word about the "In&out" committee since – which I believe was the real reason he pulled this chicken —- routine last time.

  11. I can't seem to get as worked up about tis as others here. The less parliament sits the better in my books: If I had my druthers they'd be kicked out of Ottawa for most of the year. Proroguing ever New Year would be a good start.

    And the unimaginably stupid response of Ralph Goodale, that this is the equivalent of shutting down democracy, only confirms me in this belief. Dear Mr. Goodale, parliament is not democracy nor is it nearly as important as you imagine it to be. Go write that 100 times then go sit in the corner with a dunce cap.

    • "I can't seem to get as worked up about this as others here. "

      How wonderful. But this isn't *about you* I'm afraid.

    • …parliament is not democracy…

      So true. Parliament's pretty expendable. All you need for a healthy democracy is an army and an executive ruling by decree.

      • I did not say that parliament was expendable (although I suspect you already knew that).

        What I said was that parliament was not democracy, which it isn't as witness the fact that the English had parliaments for centuries before they had democracy. No institution of government is so important that it can be declared the equivalent of democracy.

        Parliamentary sessions can, and regularly are, shut down without effecting democracy at all. Law and tradition severely limit what any government can do without parliament. In the absence of parliament, Harper can only do what parliament has already passed laws mandated him to do. Anytime he wants to do more than that, he has to recall parliament.

        • "In the absence of parliament, Harper can only do what parliament has already passed laws mandated him to do. Anytime he wants to do more than that, he has to recall parliament."

          You paint an really interesting word picture there! I can see that the only person left standing in Parliament after Mr. Harper's action to prorogue – is Mr. Harper!!

          What about the rest of that rowdy bunch in the House? Despite what you say it seems they are expendable because they've been denied any choice about continuing to debate and mandate what PARLIAMENT, by the way, NOT the PM alone, can do. Denied for two whole months. They WERE voted in by the Canadian public, and they DO represent the opposition parties that represent balance of power in our democracy. Hmmmm.

          What the heck, I guess it's fine to continue paying MP's for doing nothing. (I don't imagine we'll be hearing any comments from Mr. Flaherty about that any time soon……I'm sure Mr. Harper has made sure that won't happen.)

          Seems to me you've nailed the Harper version of Canadian democracy very succinctly! And I say, Lord preserve us from President Harper, our very own George Dubya clone.

  12. Harper needs to prorogue and then cut the funding to all political parties but the conservatives while parliament is out of session. Canadians are ready for a fundamental shift in this country, from the corrupt and rotting politics of the east to the moral and entrepreneurial spirit of the west.

    Let’s lose the pansy reputation for being a lot of clowns towing the UN line, to one where our strong military backs the government decisions with force when needed (rather than fighting them with worthless politically motivated investigations around so called “war crimes”). We need to prosecute and attack the corrupt environmentalists and “climate scientists” who want us all to die in the cold of their hoax of global warming. We need strong laws, including the death penalty, against drugs, abortion, and gangs. Stop coddling child criminals and MAKE THEM PAY for the evil that they do. If they take a life, they lose theirs, it really is that simple. Stop investigating the use of Tasers as if the police need to apologize for keeping us safe.

    We need to start acknowledging the role of God in the daily life of ALL Canadians (*GOD* keeps our land strong and free, not left wing socialists and atheists who want to tax us to death) by making it our national religion and making sure that immigrants are obliged to acknowledge and respect this fact. We need to overhaul the supreme court so that it ends its politically motivated decision making process, always favoring the rights of criminals and terrorists over those of hard working citizens and patriots. The Canadian people are sick and tired of paying taxes and supporting broken social systems like welfare, public health care and public schooling. We need to involve the private sector in ALL ASPECTS of governance, only reserving the very basic services (military, etc) for the public purse.

    It is time for a real revolution in this country. God Bless Canada.

    • Man, that's some FANTASTIC satire!!! Well done sir!

    • Quit being so wishy-washy James.

      God hates a coward.

    • Wow… just… wow. That is either one of the best pieces of satire or one of the scariest screeds I have ever seen. Sadly, I suspect that it's not satire.

      • Definitely satrical in nature. And might I add something else to his list of actions:

        We must change our flag from boring old red and white to red, white, and blue!

    • It is time for a real revolution in this country.

      So get in touch with me if you'd like some great tickets to the beheadings–right in the orchestra, just a few feet from the guillotine. You'll want to claim yours soon; they're going like hot-cakes! Corporate packages are available, and the venue is wheelchair accessible.

    • This is either satire or a clarion call to action. I assume the former since any attempt to impose religion ( or similar superstition) will ofcourse result in all right thinking their level best to resist such attempts by force. Resistance to tyranny is not just a right it is the duty of all citizens of what is (for the moment anyway) still a free country.

    • Keep your make believe friends out of my government James.

    • Oh wow, I really hope you are joking.

      That just sounds perfectly insane. Seems like the USA has been leaking some of their ignorant folk northwards.

    • James,
      Wouldn't it be way easier, rather than remaking Canada, if you just moved to another country? You seem to be unhappy with just about everything…

    • James Wayland, I suggest you move the US and join Beck, Hannity & Limbaugh. That s where you will find the company appropriate for your views

  13. Where have you been? International conferences, funding announcements, official visits, photo-ops, etc, etc.

    • …being snubbed by China, being snubbed by the US, on Fox News, setting fires with provincial premiers, giving non-answers and allowing no questions is the primary 'high season' for this so-called PM. He's prorogued parliament more times than the last four PMs put together. Heaven forbid he try to make parliament work, like Pearson did…

  14. Part 2

    In addition, when the House is prorogued, no documents may be tabled until the first day of the new session. If documents requested through an Order of the House or an Address to the Governor General have not been tabled at the time of prorogation, the requests carry over from session to session, within the same Parliament.

    http://tinyurl.com/ybjf63j

    He can't be forced to table the documents when Parliament is not in session.

  15. There is no need for folks to get their knickers in a knot over this issue. Each of the Opposition parties would have done no less in similar circumstances. The Prime Minister and his Ministers cannot be in two places at once. With the way folks think in this Country, one would need the wisdom of Solomon to proceed on any topic. Sure there are myriad issues that need to be addressed and so it will be ad infinitum. They will get done – and done well. We have a good government, a terrific Prime Minister. Thank God for what we have and a Happy New Year to all.

    • pat are you on yhe conservitive payroll,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      • No, I think Patricia is just one of us many, many who like our present Government. The liberal years of arrogance, mockery and outright thieving are not long enough past. Way to go Patricia. Way to go Conservatives.

  16. I should also note that Nixon was "guilty" of using institutions of power like the FBI and CIA in order to conduct the cover-up. Maybe not technically crimes, but certainly impeachable, which he was certainly facing before resignation.

    Proroguing Parliament for a month is hardly the apocalypse.

  17. Five weeks, Jarrid?

    You're saying an additional five weeks isn't the end of the political world as we know it?

    If a pooping cartoon,
    an unseen wafer and
    big cheques,

    attracts hyperventilating headlines preaching the coming political apocalypse,

    surely you don't expect our frantic scandal chasers to put five weeks in some sort of perspective do you?

    Jarrid, haven't you read the threads on this topic today?

    It's the end of democracy as we know it.

    • I, am wondering, if this is leading up to, putting the NAU, in place? It, seems to me, our, Canadian Constitution, is null and void. Our, Civil Rights. seems to have vanished. Democracy and Freedom. has been taken away from Canadians. Our, voices are no longer heard. Our protests against the HST, meant nothing to our politicians, they are doing it anyway. The chaos in, Canada, is matched to, the same chaos , going on in the USA. The country's of, Canada, the USA and Mexico, will be one large state. Every policy in the three countries, will be identical. The, Americans, are working on a, health plan, education, and currency, all, identical. The, new dollar will be the Amero. There, have been, many meetings, to discuss the NAU. And, yes, we no longer a democracy. I, think, the NAU, will be communist, or, perhaps fascism. The, reason I said communist, is because, China seems to be calling the shots. Our mills, have been shipped to China. Both the USA and Canada, have shipped our industries to China. Prince Rupert, has been expanded to host, large ships, from China? Because, there will be no borders, between the three countries, there is going to be a super highway from Mexico, through The USA and Canada. The Canadian National Railroad, went to the USA, as well as, the British Columbia Railroad. There, will be spurs to the rail lines, there will be roads, connecting to the super highway. All of this is, so China's goods, have easy access for dispersal of goods. There, are going to be words said, over, who gets the Arctic. There could, possibly, be a war between, Iran and the USA. In fact, there will always be, wars and rumors of wars. All of this could be my suspicious nature, but, it seems to fit the events, that, are going on.

  18. He does? I thought Jesus had love and understanding for everyone. Maybe that's just me.

  19. nor does it serve the taxpayer

    • Endlessly hyping torture allegations serves the taxpayer?

      Government doesn't shut down because Parliament is in session.

      • cancelled committees? abandoned legislation?
        Let's be honest here – prorogation serves little but the needs of the Conservative Party.

  20. ole long nose is at it again ,when parlement resumes ,his nose should be at least a foot long,,he will go down in history as a very hated man,,all you conservs,take note,of your beloved steve,,,,,,

  21. But you'd never catch the chickensh*^ Cons running on that platform… instead we've got deficits up to our eyeballs (beginning prior to the economic downturn), vote buying deluxe continuing in la belle province, unscrupulous games being played from behind the war room doors and a PM who doesn't like Canada's system of governance, nor having to be responsible or accountable.
    Please run on that screed. I dare say Canadians need to hear more of it, because a little light on the CONs true purpose can only be good for the electorate, right?

  22. Like the poster said, his numbers go up. Next.

    • "International conferences, funding announcements, official visits, photo-ops, etc, etc. "

      Which ones? Be specific.

  23. A disgusting shameful government runs Canada. It has the gall to disgrace our Forces by wrapping itself in the same flag our men and women are dying under.

    The Generals and the politicians that basically lied to Parliament to save their skins in response to the Colvin allegations after sending our Forces to war minus Geneva Convention education. The buffoonery of Hillier only showed his flash and no substance.

    Conservative leadership is non-leadership and morally bankrupt.

    Let this clown of a government choose now the Olympic flag as another cover for their ineptitude.

    Prorogue Parliament and hand the names of Harper, Hillier and MacKay to the ICC.

  24. The PMO astroturfers are out in full force today

    • brother, is this the best you can come up with.

  25. In other words, you don't have a coherent response to any of it, right?

    • "In other words, you don't have a coherent response to any of it, right?"

      In other words, you're stupid, right?

      • In order to have a coherent response, I think we'll need a coherent question. Or a coherent reason given for proroguing.

        IMHO, Harper just needs some time to get his meds balanced. Either that man is on high doses of SSRI's & benzodiazepines or the Zombie Master is ruling this country,

  26. millions and millions of "astroturfers",

    who are likely to put Harper in a majority this spring.

  27. And he suggested Parliament will function more smoothly when it resumes, since the Prime Minister will have had time to appoint five new senators—not quite enough for a Tory Senate majority, but giving them more senators than the Liberals.

    And the railways ran on time in Nazi Germany.

    • Yep. Leave it to a lieberal to bring another Nazi nattering into the fray. What a dunderhead this dude is. Go back to bed dummy.

  28. Keeping away from an opposition can take many forms. Castro uses one; Harper uses another. The intention is the same

    You're the one who brought this up, by the way. You appear quite certain that Harper's popularity rises when he insulates himself from criticism. That is your assertion. Deal with the implications.

  29. Today I tore up my membership in the CRAP party. I invite all honest citizens to do the same. The dishonest ones can keep theirs since Harpers' gang is their natural home. Having the Conservative party around allows us to segragate the crooks and thugs and makes them easier to identify. I also immediately made a contribution to the liberal party and will continue to do so untill this vile regime is no more than an unpleasant memory. Where is Brian Mulroney when we need him?

    • Thank you – you have just help me make up my mind and I have just got back from handing in my little red lieberal card and went and joined the CPC party. I was forgiving enough of their general all around incompetence ever since martin's coup against Chretien but now seiing how stevie has run circles around both Dion and Iggy I can not in good conscience vote for the poor excuse of a poltical party not to metnion the waste of my time and energy!

    • Bye, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

      • I proudly sent in my year end donation to the Conservative Party yesterday. Go Conservatives. Dump the Lieberals on their collective azz.

        • Me too. I just sent another $400 to the CPC before year-end. I am proud of our Canadian Government

        • So long as political parties help themselves to our money (the buck-ninety-five per vote, the borderline-criminal special income tax credit rules favouring themselves), they ain't getting a penny extra from me.

  30. I'm sorry, but comparing any democratically elected Canadian prime minister to that thug Castro is idiotic. You honestly can't do any better than that?

    Read this thread again. I didn't bring the topic up. Geez.

    • Read this thread again. I didn't bring the topic up.

      Hey! I know! Let's review our exchange together, Dennis…

      I said, "the less Canadians see of Harper, the more they like him". No mention of the Opposition there.

      You said, "It's the endless opposition screaming and hollering that they're not privy to at these times". Oh dear. All of a sudden, we're talking about the Opposition. Did I miss something up there?

      …comparing any democratically elected Canadian prime minister to that thug Castro is idiotic.

      Not really. As long as the terms are objectively reasonable, as I think mine were. If I were to say that Castro and Harper are similar insofar as both have nostrils, I think that would be objectively reasonable.

      But, if you insist, I shall use a democratically elected thug/buffoon instead, and suggest that Harper is rather like Hugo Chavez in his fear of and loathing for legitimate opposition. Happy now?

      • Don't bother Sir Francis, by the time DF is confronted with what he did actually say, imply or attempt to convey he's usually long gone.

        • And just like that…POOF! Where's Dennis_F?

  31. Nobody believes you were a member of the Conservative Party. Nice try. Or not.

    • "Nobody believes you were a member of the Conservative Party. Nice try. Or not. "

      Ha! You accusing someone of lying is so rich it has to be fattening.

      • Name one instance where I've lied, you smear artist.

    • To bad for you I really was. i even got my own copies of the bad taste "Duffygrams"sent out by the party.

      • Sorry, no one who was a member of the party turns around and calls it "CRAP", which is the childish term that leftists have used for the Alliance for years. Anyone can sign up for those things. Steve Janke gets Liberal E-mails all the time. Next.

        • I seem to recall the exact acronym was C-CRAP (okay, I added the hyphen). Which we, like, did.

  32. he really, really wants them to eat that per vote subsidy

  33. Don't think it was a poison pill since Harper was obviously surprised by the coalition coup in response.

    People want the government they elected, so I'll doubt Harper will give them a reason to turn on him like they have Iggy.

    • because he didn't anticipate what all possible responses does not mean that it was not a poison pill.

      if people want the government they elected we would have revolt in the streets right now. the things SH promised that he has since walked away from is getting v.long.

      • By that logic, no government every acts according to the will of the people, since they almost never get 50% of the vote. Next.

  34. I was a member and everyone knows I tore up my membership. I've written hundreds of LTE explaining why. As it turns out, Mr. Harper *is* an alleged war criminal.

    • Sure you were. Calling someone a war criminal is a sure sign that you once loved the guy. next.

  35. The Conservatives are already saying that Chretien "prorogued" Parliament four times. Did Chretien actually do that or did he just have Parliament recessed. I thought Parliament has only been prorogued three times since the start of Confederation.

    • I found prorogation in these years: 1847 1872 1873 1886 1895 1909 1938 1939 1983 2008

      Mr Haper and John A McDonald both used it to evade a confidence vote; McDonald was evading questions of corruption and profiteering from the national railway project; Haper was avoiding charges of fiscal incompetence (apparently unaware there was a recession in progress for more than a year)

  36. I'd have never guessed that Going For Gold is more important than Making Parliament work. Wonder how much I paid for the focus group that figured that one out.

    • It's a wonky, erratic, yet endearing little piece of gadgetry.

  37. I just watched the interview with Dmitri Soudas on CTV. I had never seen him before. What a disingenuous and immoral spokesman. To compare him to the proverbial second-hand car salesman would disparage those who work on second-hand car lots.

    How long will Canadians tolerate the total dishonesty and obfuscation of the Conservatives, with mouthpieces like this guy, John Baird and Peter Van Loan? How stupid do they think Canadians are? I am just totally offended by the adolescent mentality of the PMO, and its complete contempt for Canadians, the Canadian constitution, and Canadian values. And you know who appoints the members of the PMO. Or is the oil companies?

    • Not quite all he said
      He also said- .Harper has accused the Senate, where the opposition Liberals now have the most seats, of thwarting his legislative program. Soudas said that while the Conservative Party will still lack a formal majority in the Senate after the appointments, it will have a governing minority

      • Do you know what else thwarts a legislative program? Proroguing parliament.

    • Who is paying Mr Soudras salary? If It is the taxpayer (You, me and all Canadians) he is doing a very poor job and should be fired. If is the Conservative party then he is doing a very good job and should be given a raise.

  38. Mad as Hell, you are nuts.

  39. also found in 2003, 1955, 1919, 1880, 1891, 1894

  40. it has been used a few times
    1. to evade charges of corruption and/or incompetence
    2. to deal with war or famine
    3. in the middle of five year majority terms, to get another speach from the throne

    In Harper's case the first use is the reason.

    • Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament four times during his time as Prime Minister: February 5, 1996; September 18, 1999; September 16, 2002; and November 12, 2003.

      I think you are letting your dislike of the Conservatives cloud your judgment. It is just politics. It is hardly the end of the world. Harper is doing it for his own political benefit, but I can't believe anyone is naive enough to buy into all this rhetoric from the opposition parties. They'd do the exact same thing in his position. It is unwise to become emotionally or ideologically beholden to any of the parties.

  41. As far as I can see….Harper has been excellent and the nibble-head naysaying liberals can only upset the good work Haper has done.

    The liberals have no leader, no ideas, no credability and no hope of fooling taxpayers that they are not criminals.

    Harper is right….Yet Again!

    • In other words, you're stupid, right?

      • Zilla don't listen to a dimwhit like anon. You hit the nail bang on the head about the lieberalistas. Iggy and anon can hold hands while walking down loser trail.

  42. how can harper justify shutting down the country for two or three months when he actually does nothing? harper is corrupt and he's a useles idiot.

  43. Harper is a brilliant leader. He is doing what needs to be done, the important things that matter to CANADIANS.

    The corruption resides among the Liberal gargoyles that lust power and would slit any throat to get POWER for their own personal profit.

    I will put my faith in mature, responsible thinkers, rather than the rabid criminals seeking rent!

  44. Honestly people relax take a little time and watch the Olympics. The PM has not done anything that Chretian didn't do four times so I guess he is only 1/2 as bad as the Liberals (g)

  45. Don't you mean "RABID CRIMINALS SEEKING RENT!"

    Gawd, you wingnuts and your half measures all the time.

  46. Recent history is your enemy.

    Blabber away

  47. Circuses, but no bread. That's what Harper is offering. Why should the Olympics be more important the a working parliamentary democracy?

    Incredible! I hope the Governor General says no, as indeed she should.

    • NO bread, maybe a wafer then.As in wafer gate!

  48. Man I love all the Liberals posting on this forum screaming about democracy…my God they're leader is from the USA, he was appointed by an appointed board from Toronto, he now wants to appoint his candidates….and these Liberals want to give us a lesson on democracy…yah sure.

  49. What's even more funny is PM Harper is giving the opps a chance to bring down this evil "undemocratic" "war crimes" government. Reading the comments from the Harper haters, there is no way this government should be able to keep governing.

    But I bet the liberals support the budget and the throne speech.

    • Of course they will, and they will look stupid doing so.

  50. Oops. that was meant to be in response to Sir Francis somewhere else in this convoluted Intense Debate platform.

  51. Speaking of the Cons second Annual taxpayer extented Christmas Vacation ( Senators included) then going to the Olympics, I wonder if the taxpayers who are paying for their junket (s) (they are on full pay and benefits) will stand and applaud when they notice them or see them on the big screen TV. Me thinks it would be best/safer if they stay home, not to mention security cost savings.

  52. , Soudas – talking points re: Afgan detaines
    *They are looking at an issue where it is old news,” he said,*

    So is the Sponsorship scandal, but it is used to attack the Liberals again and again.

  53. Now, to my way of thinking, Mr. Harper is one smart fellow. He knows when to "hold 'em and when to fold 'em."
    Those lieberalistas can have their iggys and jacks and especially milly mays but for my money, I'll stick with the Conservatives and let the catterwalling losers rant all they want. It don't hurt to have words bounced around some. Oh, by the way, lets get that dang Duceppes block bunch out of federal politics.

  54. Oh Macleans please don't tell me you're about to go the way of much of the rest of the blogshere…mindless partisan blathering and name calling.

    • Agreed, kcm. The occasional partisan dig is tolerable if there is a debatable argument to go with it. The rash of "you're stupid" and "you're lying" is why I gave up on most other sites and settled comfortably here. You and I have at each other frequently on matters of policy, and that's cool. I hereby enthusiastically second your motion calling for a disappearance of the garbage that has shown up lately.

      • I'm definitely with you there MYL. Respect for one's opponent is not at all dependant on one's political views. I don't mind, i even relish sharp disagreement…but this labelling and self congratulatory attempts to belittle and smear your opponent is nauseating…hopefully Macleans will keep those interested in honest debate around?

  55. It is absolutely outrageous that Stephen Harper abuses his power as Prime Minister! Time and time again he has shown himself to be an unscruplous, conniving, petty politician!

    But, he is a politician you may point out. Yet, what makes it so maddening is the fact that he started out wanting to reform the political process, that he elicited much hope in that regard in the hearts of people like myself, and finally that he is an evangelical Christian.

    Sadly, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Evangelical Christians should feel embarrased that one of their own professes Christ as Lord in church yet doesn’t model his behaviour in the workplace. Sure, he is a staunch supporter of Israel and an opponent of gay marriage, but I hope, they will have the moral courage to condemn him when he is unethical and behaves inappropriately, just as they surely praise him when he is “moral” and shares their political and social views.

  56. Oh Macleans please don't tell me you're about to go the way of much of the rest of the blogshere…mindless partisan blathering and name calling.

  57. "Lord preserve us from President Harper, our very own George Dubya clone."

    Is your life really so empty and meaningless that you are desperately clinging to your hatred of Bush even now. I can only hope that Obama is defeated by another Republican in 2012 so you have a moral compass to orient your hatred around.

  58. Oh good. Right up the Con/Harper alley! Don't argue the issues…because you can't…. just throw dirt at the other person's personal views. At least you didn't shut me down…..
    Happy New Year, Jules.

  59. Oh, I get it. The government (read Harper) doesn't want an opposition so (he) just shuts down parliament. Now there's a novel idea in a democracy! Suspect voters will be only too happy to let the cons know what they think of this crap at the next election. And that can't happen soon enough for me.

  60. Stevie will continue in this conduct until enough Canadians rouse themselves from their stupor and realize what he is doing to our parliamentt and concept of democracy.

  61. It's not about the break, it's about killing the Parliamentary session and destroying much of the work that's been done this session as the bills die. It's also traditional to prorogue the Friday before the new session, to allow the committees to continue to work during breaks. Harper wants to kill the committees, though – anti-democratic to the extreme.

  62. Three other small points of fact:

    1.The GG is proroguing Parliament at the PM's request, not the PM. She can always say no.

    2.Just because Parliament is not sitting does not mean that an MP is not “working”. If it did then I guess the members should also not get paid for the 267 days that the House did not “sit” last year?

    3.The GG is not stopping the House from sitting for 2 months, more like two weeks. The House was due to sit on 25 Jan then, by agreement of all parties adjourn for the Olympics on the 5th of Feb and reconvene on the 1st of Mar. So the PM has prorogued for a total of an additional 10 working days. Hardly the end of the world or a great threat to democracy.

    Once again the media sensationalize and the opposition overplays their hand only to look silly and in the end further erode the public's trust in them.

  63. Many Canadians, including myself, are appalled that the GG has, yet again, decided to grant the Prime Minister's request to prorogue parliament.

    For the second time in a year we have a dysfunctional Prime Minister and his equally dysfunctional government going into hiding because things aren't going their way. This, imo, is a despicable misuse of prorogation.

    Do taxpayers not have a right to expect that the government remain at work, carrying out the business of the country, as they were elected to do? This particularly so when many Canadians are hurting from job losses, pension losses and ever-increasing taxation? Are we not entitled to know from our government the events surrounding the Afghanistan issue? Don't Canadians deserve better governance?

    Lastly, should the GG not be asking the opposition if they could form a government? Surely this would be better than the present government of shenanigans.

  64. This is not about the detainee issue. It is all about the Senate. It is precisely because of pending legislation and the government's inability to get it passed by a dysfunctional Senate that the PM has requested prorogation. The unelected, Liberal dominated Senate is out of control. They took a bill passed unanimously by all parties in the HoC and killed it. Clearly Iffy has lost control of his Senators and indeed his entire party. This situation has compelled the PM to act and his only recourse is to gain control of the Senate by appointing five new Senators and asking the GG to prorogue. The govt can then pass legislation that expresses the will of Parliament and then institute Senate reforms. The timing of this had little to do with the detainee issue which the opposition can pick up in Mar and more to do with announcing it at a time of year where it would get the least attention by the media and the public, a standard media tactic used by all parties and is right out of the LPC playbook.

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