The Short Parliament

ANDREW COYNE: In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time?

As Canadian democracy spirals further down the drain:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will prorogue Parliament Wednesday 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.

Question: In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time? To ignore explicit parliamentary votes demanding the production of documents? To stonewall independent inquiries? Perhaps the rules allow it elsewhere, but is it the practice? Does convention not still forbid it? Is it not viewed in other countries as dictatorial behaviour, and therefore, you know … not done?

So, rather than submit himself to the inquiries of elected parliamentarians, the King will dismiss Parliament, in the grand tradition of kings past. The question is: what will Parliament do now? If historical precedent is any guide, it should meet anyway. Let those MPs who wish to do the people’s business convene on the usual timetable, and let those with other loyalties disport themselves as they may.

If MPs are barred at the doors to Parliament — and wouldn’t that be an interesting scene — let them meet somewhere else. A tennis court would do nicely.




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The Short Parliament

  1. Jean Chrétien prorogued Parliament 4 times during his stint as Prime Minister on the following dates, February 5, 1996; September 18, 1999; September 16, 2002; and November 12, 2003.

    I don't recall the media saying at the time that it threatened democracy as we know it.

    • That is completely different – every PM prorogues Parliament when they have accomplished what they set out to do with that throne speech. Then they can bring in a new Parliament with a new Speech from the Throne and new priorities. Nobody would suggest that Stephen Harper is proroguing because he feels that this Parliament has accomplished its goals. In all of Chretien's cases, he prorogued after two years, then started up again a couple of weeks later.

      What is the next PMO talking point?

    • The usual whine. "Oh, the Liberals did it so its okay."

    • Those are the talking points from last time, Jarrid.

    • Jarrid,

      You really should stop displaying your total lack of understanding for the constitutional history and conventions of the country. Generally, a session of a Parliament is ended by being prorogued, as Chris B indicates, when it has accomplished the mandate of its speech from the throne – then a new session starts. Proroguing Parliament is usually simply an administrative measure. Parliaments lasting 4-5 years usually have 2 sessions, sometimes three, meaning they are prorogued once or twice. The 40th Parliament has now been prorogued twice in 14 months and the Parliamentary order paper isn't exactly empty at the moment. I'm struggling to recall a Parliament that has had more than 3 sessions, but I haven't looked it up yet.

      Coyne is raising the spectre of constitutional crisis because a usually administrative function of Parliament is being used to partisan ends, and worse, is undermining the work and legitimacy of the institution itself.

      • It turns out there have been many Parliaments with more than 3 sessions, however, all of them have been very long lasting ones. The shortest Parliament with more than three sessions was the 4th, which lasted 1190 days, from February 13, 1879 – May 17, 1882. It had four sessions each about 60 days in length; it would be interesting to look into why it had so many short sessions.

        • Thanks for doing the legwork on this ADF, great posts, but can we not conclude that the pertinent issue is perhaps not the frequency of prorogation, but the "why"? He wants to fill the empty seats in the Senate with more Tories to get a majority so he can pass bills easier…is this necessarily a nefarious thing? The will of the democratically elected lower house is currently being thwarted by the unelected Senate, and if Harper wants to ameliorate that, is this a bad thing? I'm OK with it.

          • Nice spin… the will of parliament has been thwarted by frequent shutdowns on Harper's govt as much, or more, than opposition instransigence. This is a minority parliament…let Harper earn a majority the honest way…respect parliament.

    • I think Chretien had a majority and was not hiding his Lieutenant's from perjury

    • Jarrid, Is the fact that Jean Chretien acted in a similar way really what you want to defend Stephen Harper with? I thought Harper was elected to run a more accountable, transparent government than Jean Chretien and his Liberals. Instead, he's breaking Chretien's own pace and, worse, robbed you of the moral high ground to complain when subsequent Liberal governments act in this fashion or worse.

      Great post, Mr. Coyne. We may disagree a lot on politics, but you care about the democratic process.

    • lol. Note the 1996 – 2003. Compare those seven years to Stephen Harper's four and you have your answer.

    • That was so bad Dahl, I suspect you work in the PMO.

    • Way to be an as$hole, Dahl.

    • Chretien did lots of other stuff that threatened democracy as we know it, which is part of the reason why democracy as we know it is in such an enfeebled state. But even he didn't prorogue twice in a single year, and for such abusive ends.

      • A majority in the Senate is an abusive end?

        • I think even Harper would agree that it is. If he were capable of telling the truth, that is.

          You know that, you stupid troll.

        • Harper does not need to reboot in order to name new Senators. Harper can have a majority in the Senate without shutting down parliament. But it makes a handy excuse for the credulous, I guess.

          • Was the prorogue required to have the Senate committees redrawn to give Harper the majority on the Senate committees? Or would that have happened anyways after appointing the new senators regardless of proroguation?

            Not trying to defend this by the way…I don't think it's the death spiral of democracy that others claim it is but it just seems pointless and counter-productive to me. 99% of the people not posting on these comment threads don't care about Afghan detainees; there was no need to push the reset button on Parilament to avoid an issue that nobody cares about and wasn't costing the Conservatives much if any political capital. So the questions will pick up again in March instead of February…big deal. They'll still be there. A budget was coming anyways. We don't need yet another empty Throne Speech to introduce it, and we didn't need to kill everything on the order paper.

            So unless the prorogue was required to give Harper a majority on the Senate Committees, I just don't see the point.

          • "99% of the people not posting on these comment threads don't care about Afghan detainees; there was no need to push the reset button on Parilament to avoid an issue that nobody cares about …"

            This is the sort of cynical comment that cons are parroting everywhere re: this issue. You have no evidence for it, it's simply not true…lot's of people care, it may not be their # 1 concern but that changes nothing…even if they form a minority that does nothing to detract from it as a moral issue…we are a democracy, not a focus group!

          • The fact that you spend your time writing and reading posts on a focus group like this Blog Central has warped your better judgement. No matter how you wish it, I just don`t think this comment board is reflective of the general populace.

          • Maybe not. But then, maybe you missed all those opinion polls on this issue.

          • Precisely! This is silly and simply an embarrassment to the Conservatives and a waste of time and money for Canadians. I am a Conservative supporter but have been more and more put-off by their foolish game-playing over the last few years. If Harper thinks it makes him look smart he is wrong. And just because the self-satisfied Liberal, Chretien gov't did it doesn't make it any better. In fact, it makes it even more deplorable. I would hope that Conservatives were above this – but, sadly, apparently not.

        • oh come on Wilson. This is the same Harper who denounced the Senate? Abuse does not even come close to what Harper has done to his own supposed conservative convictions never mind the democratic institution that is Parliament.

        • Proroguing to get a majority in Senate takes 1 day. You prorogue on a Monday and deliver a Speech from the Throne on Tuesday. Proroguing for an extra two months seems like a long time to get your ducks in order in terms of Senate committees.

        • I am not sure of the exact number of days but I do think this current session of parliament has sat for more days than several sessions during the Chretien years.

          • The shortest session in a Parliament presided over by Chretien was the second session of the 36th Parliament at 376 days (133 sittings of the HoC). Stephen Harper has presided over 4 sessions in 2 Parliaments – 3 of those 4 sessions have all been shorter (in days and sittings of the Commons) than Chretien's shortest session.

        • Yes, because he could have waited. He's doing this to stop the opposition attacks. The problem is that he isn't a king but has the powers of a king.

      • Chretien did lots of other stuff that threatened democracy as we know it, which is part of the reason why democracy as we know it is in such an enfeebled state.

        I don't see how the previous Liberal government created a significant demographic among Canadians who are quite happy with democracy being in an enfeebled stated, but I'd be interested in wondering if you've had a chance to examine that, given that you've exposed yourself to these people for quite some time now.

        • The most egregious example that springs to mind is when the Liberals, under Martin, simply ignored a vote of confidence for a week or more while they scrambled to bribe Belinda Stronach off the opposition benchs.

          That was a biggie in my eyes.

          • Yeah, that's when Martin earned my contempt and distrust and I decided to vote conservative in the following election. Harper's attitude is what turned me off his government by the time of the 2008 elections.

      • Well Mr Coyne, you have certainly taken the official Liberal view on things wholesale without any balance in understanding. Ignoring what the Liberal-dominated Senate has been doing for the past 4 years entirely in this blog is not journalism but ideology. Where is the rant that such behaviour is undemocratic when the unelected Senate blocks and amends legislation passed in the elected house of Commons?

        This prorogation was necessary because of the Senate alone. Polls have shown that the Afghan detainee "scandal" means little to average Canadians outside the 416 and 514 area codes. I do not think the Tories are hiding from this one bit because it is a non-issue. Furthermore, the Liberals would also guilty in this as the Canadian Military followed the same procedure under them so Dosanjh's faux-outrage that these are war crimes is ludicrous.

        • The Senate cannot block bills indefinitely. IF they send a bill back with amendments, the House can pass it in its original state and the Senate has no choice but to pass it.
          The whole argument that the Senate is stopping legislation is hyperbole from Harper. It could very easily be argued that Harper has prevented more of his own legislation from passing than the Senate has. His election call in 2008 (despite a law to the contrary) and this prorogation both seriously delayed Conservative bills on crime and other matters

    • There is a difference between proroguing parliament because it has finished its business, and proroguing parliament because you dont WANT it to finish its business. This is clearly the latter. That is clearly wrong.

    • Braindead conservative scum with your false arguments. When it was done by other governments it was done on the legitimate grounds that the business of the session was done, so it was vacation time. Harper does it first maintain power and then to hide secrets from the population. Wasn't it great when Canada was a decent society, and not populated by undereducated, disinformation spreading losers?

    • didn't your mother tell you? Two wrongs do not make a right. And, you may not know that prorogation is NORMALLY a formality to a session of Parliament that has completed the business of the Throne Speech. That is not the case here. It is true that Chretien used prorogation once to (possibly) avoid the scrutiny of an investigation into the Somalia affair, but it could just as easily have been to affect the change of leadership to Paul Martin.
      Regardless, I have never equated the media's outrage with a standard of right and wrong. This prorogation was wrong. I know it. The media, if anything, have been trailing Candian opinion on this

  2. The pollsters are going to be an antsy bunch this January.

  3. Does this call for a letter writing, phone cal, email campaign directly to the Governer-General to let her know what is the will of Canadians?

    • We should also write our MP's and demand they meet anyways and carry out our business.

    • You presume to know the will of all Canadians? And of course that national will is exactly how you see the issue, right?

      This may come as a shock to many posters here, but some Canadians would welcome this move by the government.

      The Liberals, with a Senate majority, are playing games. They help pass legislation in the House on one hand – giving the bill the approval of a minority Parliament, a very strong statement of consensus – then allow (instruct?) their Senators in caucus to obstruct and interfere with the same legislation they agreed to pass! The Senate amendments have made the consumer protection and drug legislation almost meaningless from their original intents.

      A slew of Senate retirements are coming up — it is time to have the committees reflect the new majority that will be in the Senate, and stop this practice by the Liberals of speaking out of both sides of the mouth.

    • There is a mistaken impression by Doug and John and Chris etc. that their opinions might somehow be reflective of the general populace. That type of arrogance is just so !990`s. The little plus numbers beside your name must not be assumed to be a scientific conclusion of how the public feels.

    • You bet it does. The Governor-General should not be holding office to act as a puppet for a power-hungry Prime Minister who abuses a system. If she continues to act as someone who supports a government that plays political games at the expense of the citizens of Canada, she needs to know that she's not appreciated in her position. This is the email address for her office: info@gg.ca

      I've done my email to her; please take the time to do the same.

    • Unbelievable that the government can shut down parliament. To avoid the questions that the opposition would ask on our behalf, & sideline new legislation etc: for their own interests, rather than that of the people they are pledged to serve. Perhaps we should suspend Tory paycheques until March. This action very clearly tells Canadians that we have a government who main agenda is to bolster Mr Harper's ego & power & allows him to obey his multi-national friends . You know, the ones with deep pockets who finance him & his co-horts, buying govenment privilege. I am truly sorry that the governor general doesn't have the authority to tell him to face parliament, or allow her to call an election so that parliament can work as it is supposed to "FOR CANADA". Mr Harper said "we wouldn't recognize Canada when he is through". I believe him. He has destroyed Canada's image & prestige around the world & leaders are already showing that they no longer respect him or Canada under his management.

    • This action on the part of ONE MAN is definitely dictatorial! He should be immediately removed, by force if necessary.
      The Governor-General must refuse this request to enforce our democratic way of life.

  4. I believe you may have it backwards Andrew.

    It is the opposition who are desperate to have this issue tried by the court of media elite opinion, rather than the court of public opinion. As a democracy the people will decide this issue, not the media elite.

    I suspect we will have an election shortly after the Olympics and the budget.

    An election those in opposition are desperate to avoid, all the while decrying our loss of democracy.

    • We had an election Biff. We elected 308 representatives.

      Accountability is not something that "occurs" only at election times at the whim of the Prime Minister.

      • In a democracy, the elected officials are ultimately responsible to the people.

        All the people, not just the leftists in the editorial boards of the Globe, Star, and CBC and those who post on these comment boards.

        I appreciate you and yours wanting to avoid the will of the people like the plague.

        I for one, eagerly await the ultimate judgement of the people of Canada on this, and every other "scandal" hyped since Harper was elected.

        • And the Government is responsible to Parliament.

        • The judgement of the people was rendered last year Biff. We said effectively we want to give Harper government but we also said we want a majority to be not Conservative and to keep a leash on Harper.

          Who does Harper think he is to ignore the will of the people?

        • Well so much for the talking point "Canadians don't want an election" Biff is usually particularly good at being up-to-date on his talking points.

          • Conservative supporters have "talking points",

            Liberal supporters, "valid opinions".

            There are millions of conservative supporters out there, believe it or not. Not a small cabal of individuals who report directly to Harper.

            The suggestion that my opinions are not my own, but are pre-written for me by "head office", is not only completely untrue,

            it seems to be in keeping with the self soothing that goes on here among the liberals, that there couldn't possibly be free thinking Canadians that actually agrees with the CPC.

            And yet, here we are, with Nanos showing Harper's leadership numbers through the roof.

            Perhaps Nanos' random sample just happened to tap into every single member of Harper's staff reporting into "head office" for their respective "talking points."

          • Just as long as you realize that CON "talking points" aren't valid for a majority of Canadians, we're fine…

  5. "Question: In what other democracy…"

    First of all, you're supposed to be the smart guy and crack political writer here; why are you asking us a series of questions, Macauley Culkin-in-Uncle-Buck-style? If you've got something to say, say it – in the active – and slap a period on the end.

    Second. I disagree with the premise of the question. You can't pass legislation at the federal level without it being approved by an unelected Senate, one that is often stacked by the so-called "natural governing party" given our one-and-a-half party system; that cannot reasonably be described as a democracy.

    "the King will dismiss…"

    Yeah, the "King" who does not even command a majority of the seats in the lower chamber or the upper chamber. Get serious Coyne.

    Parliaments typically do not sit for twelve months of the year and a prorogue of this sort is actually not uncommon, notwithstanding your Teen Beat-meets-Capital Xtra! hysterics on the matter.

    And about this Afghan detainee bit that you're on about: It was a LIBERAL government that decided to invade and occupy Afghanistan (with nary a peep from the media, at least until Harper seized power), it was a LIBERAL government who signed us up for the dangerous Kandahar mission, and it was a CONSERVATIVE PM who, noting that we've been there longer than WWII lasted, decided to END THE AFGHANISTAN MISSION.

    Get that? This sticks to the Liberals, not the Conservatives, who inherited this mess from the Liberals and have pledged to put and end to it in 2011. Watching the media play partisan politics with such a grave matter honestly makes me nauseous.

    • I cannot believe I have seen the day that ANDREW COYNE is considered a shill for the Liberals

    • Less than 10 min. to get the talking points out.

      This was being planned even when they said they weren't planning to prorogue.

    • Your being an idiot Anon#2 and you know it dont you. Whatever helps the Conservatives stay in power is worth it to you isnt it. Andrews writing style in this BLOG is perfectly fine (actually great on short notice) to get his point across, you can compare Harpers actions of dissolving at this time to a "King's". And a prorogue of this sort is not common, Harper has not accompished goals and does not need a new throne speech. He needs to keep our MP's and media (the public) from digging at what hes hiding. And its is extremely obvious that the detainee issue does not "stick" to the Liberals, even if Harper decided to put an end date on the mission and teh LIberals were in power when we needed to go there.

      • I think he's a little loose with the idea of convention, but that's a minor point. Otherwise Coyne's post seems pretty decent.

      • ''Harper has not accompished goals and does not need a new throne speech.''

        Coming out of the worst recession since the Great Depression in the best position of the G8 , in 9 months,
        is not a goal accomplishment?
        A Speech from the Throne is required to set a new path to balanced budgets.

        • Who's paying you to write this nonsense — the taxpayers who have to work two jobs to make ends meet or your mommy?

          • You call wilson's post nonsense, then you don't bother to disprove his claims or back up your own assertion that is it nonsense. Instead you resort to name calling. Is that the depth of your contribution to the debate? If so, I understand that Jerry Springer always needs members for his studio audience.

          • One wouldn't feel the need to disprove the claims of the flat-earth society either.

        • Look at all the "critically important" bills that will die on the order paper because Harper has cancelled Parliament, again.

          Harper was running ads in Quebec saying it was critically important to immediately pass certain child pornography laws and to delay it was tantamount to supporting child pornography. Does Harper support child pornography then, Wilson?

          He had many other measures he claimed were important in his throne speech. Accomplishing one goal does not mean he has to take the completely unprecedented and undemocratic and unaccountable measure of proroguing Parliament for the second time in one year.

        • We can thank Martin and Chretien for that wilson, as you well know. But in any event, please explain to us why, on one hand, you say it is enough that Harper wants his majority on the Senate, and on the other, it is enough that we come through the recession.

          As for accomplishing things, you might want to consider the fact that there will be many bills that will die on the table because of this prorogation. So how is it exactly that coming through the recession means we should ignore the time, effort and resources that have been devoted to the other legislation? Why are the taxpayers not entitled to see these bills go through?

          Go on – you know you can't, but it would be fun to watch you try (though you will probably ignore this post like you do the others you cannot answer).

        • "Coming out of the worst recession since the Great Depression in the best position of the G8 , in 9 months,
          is not a goal accomplishment? "

          France, Germany and Japan, all members of the G8 came out of the recession in the spring. Canada limped out out of the recession this Sept. with 0.1% GDP growth. Even the US had better growth then Canada in the that third quarter. We are no where near the "best position of the G8".

        • Hyperbole.
          That 9 month recession was nothing like the Great Depression.But nice try.

    • Hang on, there, My friend. It was a CONSERVATIVE government that was screaming at Paul Martin to send our troops TO IRAQ. Dont even TRY to say that the Conservatives are deciding to do things based on safety!

    • "and it was a CONSERVATIVE PM who, noting that we've been there longer than WWII lasted, decided to END THE AFGHANISTAN MISSION. "

      The mission was to have ended 10 months ago in Feb 2009. It was this Conservative govt that decided not to end the mission but tried to make it an open ended commitment. It was only by the Liberals working out a compromise that we have an end date for this mission although at a later date than the original end date the Liberals have – again that was Feb. 2009.

    • The question should be: why are Canadians dying for Bushes wars?
      The sooner Canada pulls out of this fiasco the better.
      Why are we wasting taxpayers money to debate if some Taliban was slapped by the Afgans? their own people must have a reason to do so because they have been harassed by the Taliban for so long. Why is it Canada's role to defend the terrorists?
      Mr. Coyne should be answering these questions.
      Perhaps we need a better Governor General that would not give in every time a PM asks to prorogue parliament.
      The Liberals have caused much of the problem, by bringing to Canada all the terrorists as refugees.

    • Anon #2. Guess reading at a grade two level has made it difficult for you to understand the point of the blog writer in this case. He was using a rhetorical in order to compare Harper's action to those of King Charles I a few hundred years ago.

    • if that is so, why are they hiding behind national security? Either Mackay knew and he is guilty or totally incompetent and must resign. Hiding is a sign of guilt. I have another question about government secrecy, what about the 6000 paper documents around Marc Emery that are completely blacked out? Where is the issue there? A guy has the right to know what he is accused of and how the information was obtained. If we are just a sub-state of the U.S., lets just take orders from Obama directly and toss all of the house and the senate out. If we are not, I suggest the ALL politicians should be forced to give back much of their pay since they are not doing any work. As a Taxpayer I am their employer. If I had the power I would fire the lot of them. This is Dictator Harper's open government ( just one more big lie from the micro manager of all micro managers).

  6. I am flabbergasted, does it seem her Excellency has to oblige? What is happening to our country, because sadly I dont think the voters will punish Harper suitably for this.

    I have already emailed the GG, I hope everyone does.

    • Yep, she has to … her government enjoys the full confidence of the House, evidenced by a string of confidence votes won, including about 5 on the last day alone. Refusing would be the BIGGER news.

      Barbara Messamore laying a smackdown on Coyne (go to 1:13:43 of the clip):

      http://www.cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&a

      Watching that entire Q & A period is great viewing, IMHO.

    • I did also for whatever good it does. Prorogation should be approved by a vote in the house. That would be the democratic thing to do.

  7. Well, if the Governor General refused the PM's advice, he'd have to resign.

    Election or new coalition government, if that happened. (At this point, election.)

    I love elections, anytime, so I say go for it.

    ***

    I imagine the PMO's talking points will go somewhat like this:

    1. The Senate has been holding up and amending Commons legislation.
    2. There's going to be a Conservative majority in the Senate in January.
    3. Let's prorogue Parliament and get new Senate committees with Conservative majorities.
    3a. Hey, we can move forward with Senate reform legislation now, too!

    • In other words we [cons] can't operate within the restrictions of a minority govt that the public has laid on them.

      Hasn't Ignatieff repudiated the coalition? Something he didn't have to do…mighta come in handy now?

      • He's repudiated it, sure.

        But when has _that_ ever stopped a politician? I mean, Dion rejected the possibility during the campaign in 2008. Didn't stop him.

        Nothing's stopping Ignatieff from going for it again, now or after the next election, except (possibly) public opinion.

    • "Hey, we can move forward with Senate reform legislation now, too!"

      When did Harper start talking about constitutional reform?

  8. Speaking of pollsters, Nik Nanos has a new poll out today:

    Conservative 39.5%
    Liberal 30.2%
    NDP 18.7%
    BQ 7.7%
    Green 4.0%

    Leadership Index ( Most competent, trustworthy leader and best vision for Canada)

    Stephen Harper: 94.6
    Jack Layton: 41.2
    Michael Ignatieff: 39.0
    Gilles Duceppe: 15.4
    Elizabeth May: 9.7

    For the first time in a Nanos poll, Layton leads Iggy on leadership.

    • "For the first time in a Nanos poll, Layton leads Iggy on leadership."

      Given that Layton is poised to deliver the NDP to their seventh consecutive fourth-place finish, I think you might reconsider how much weight you give to "leadership" polls.

    • Doesn't Nik work for the Conservative Television network ?? (CTV)

  9. Biff is right – the opposition has had the solution to this in their own hands for a while, and could have provoked an election at any time. This situation seems more and more like the American system, where the executive is not necessarily in control of the parliament, so that they must continually battle for influence. The opposition can control the committees to embarrass the government without pushing to a straight out confrontation; the government controls the agenda of parliament to frustrate the opposition.

    To be honest, this seems the perfect outcome – they are both stymied!

    • Except, in case you did not notice, it is not an American system. It is a Parliamentary democracy.

      At least it was and is supposed to be.

  10. I further suspect that the results of the election, and the public's response to this latest grand scandal generated by our left leaning media elites,

    will confirm in a fairly spectacular fashion, the reason for the opposition and the media's odd paradox of acting like champions of democracy, all the while fighting against it actually being expressed.

    That is, this issue is viewed by average Canadians with some degree of context and perspective – not driven by partisanship (if it is veiwed at all). Canadians around the dinner table are not lamenting about the treatment of Taliban prisoners half way round the world, and three years ago.

    • No, they are not lamenting the treatment of detainees [ they hav'n't been convicted yet, right!] but that is not the same as not caring…a distinction you conitually fail to realize.

      • KCM, I appreciate your (and others here) position on the matter, and that it is so much more than simply the treatment of captured Taliban.

        We were also told Ritz's black humour was so much more, that the pooping cartoon was so much more, that giant ceremonial cheque gate was so much more.

        Viewed from a strongly held partisan position (when the CPC is in power, of course, not when the Liberals were running the Afghan war), it can be so much more.

        To the average non partisan Canadian, its an issue far, far, away from what matters to them, hyped by a partisan bunch who desperately want average Canadians to be as outraged as the partisans purport to be.

        • Biff there are posters here who also care to see our democracy work and not simply yell for the other team. There have been a number of occassions where i could have have supported a con govt over a opposition that has rarely had its act together. But the rank partisanship, pettyness and distain for democracy and its institutions, that this govt frequently displays keeps me firmly in the camp of an oppositon party that i often have little regard for these days. Consequently I believe that a less partisan PM than Harper would have secured a majority in parliament a while ago. They are their own worst enemies.

  11. Seems odd the Tories would tuck tail and run then.

    • That's because they are not.
      The media has decided to report a prorogue until March,
      the PMO has not stated anything other than 'no decision made yet'.

      • He's running and hiding, Wilson. Two year-end interviews, stimulus report delivered in an airplane over the Pacific, shutting down committees, ignoring Parliament, now shutting down Parliament altogether.

        Our democracy is in jeopardy with this tyrant.

        • Yeah, but his numbers go up when no one is paying attention.

      • Good thing you're around to solve these problems. A bored media. I look forward to your outrage in a few hours.

      • "Report a prorogue"?

  12. Of course it was. This was in the works for weeks.

    The PMO is a leaky ship.

  13. Why is the globe running the story as if it were fact – "Prime Minister Stephen Harper will prorogue Parliament Wednesday for a two-month break."
    It appears to be speculation and there's no acknowledgement of sources (anonymous or otherwise).
    However, if it is true, it's safe to say that the conservatives never had any intention of passing those silly crime bills.

    • I was wondering about the Globe's facts, myself. I suppose its good news that media is no longer relying on anonymous sources, but I can't think that's what the majority of complainers meant when they complained about anonymous sources.

      The crime bills thing is downright funny. How long will Conservative supporters continue to think this is the "law and order" government when they have killed these bills themselves not once, but twice?

      • That's right Jean, this will be the third time that the crime bills have been left to die as unfinished business on the order paper…
        Interestingly:
        Bills which have not received Royal Assent before prorogation are “entirely terminated” and, in order to be proceeded with in the new session, must be reintroduced as if they had never existed. On occasion, however, bills have been reinstated at the start of a new session at the same stage they had reached at the end of the previous session. This has been accomplished either with the unanimous consent of the House or through the adoption of a motion to that effect, after notice and debate. The House has also adopted provisional amendments to the Standing Orders to carry over legislation to the next session, following a prorogation.
        (http://www2.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/Docum

        I wonder if the Conservatives will make use of that option … I will bet money that they won't.

        • They asked every bill to be re-introduced as the same stage last time.

          • No they didn't.

          • Which bills are we talking about here? It would be easy to check with LegisINFO … I'm assuming you're talking about bills reinstated in the 2nd session of the 39th Parliament? The bill will say "reintroduced" right on the page if you look.

            If you can give me the names of bills (their bill number, their short title, or even their purpose), I can look into it.

            Better than just saying "no they didn't" to the previous assertion, when you yourself do not know for certain.

          • Coming from someone who asserted they did?

            I assume you are talking about when Harper prorogued in 2007, since he did not have time to introduce any bills the last time he prorogued.

            I suggest you check out the crime bills. Most of them passed in June, a few days before the House broke for the summer. Harper then prorogued, refused to reintroduce the bills and then started whining and complaining about how the mean nasty senate would not pass the bills, despite the fact they only had them for a few short weeks (during the summer recess).

            Harper then reintroduced the bills as part of an omnibus crime bill , forcing Parliament to go through the entire process again. This after all his hue and cry over the Age of Consent bill being the Most Important Bill EVER in the history of Parliament, or something like that. Apparently not so important that he was not willing to play politics with it.

            Maybe you should do your own fact checking before making assertions.

          • Wrong, just flat out wrong.

            The opposition refused to allow several key components of crime legislation to be re-introduced so Harper pulled them all, wrapped them up in a single omnibus bill and dared the oppo to oppose it.

            Interesting that you left out the key point about the opposition obstructing criminal justice legislation eh ?

          • Actually, I am totally right. Those bills had already passed. Why would the opposition decide not to pass them a few months after they already passed them.

            Interesting how you did not bother to research this subject and simply swallowed Harper's line without any critical thought on your part.

          • My first reply was lost in cyberspace. Allow me to direct you here:

            http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=5

            where you will learn the age of consent bill first passed in May of 2007. That was lost because Harper prorogued. Same goes for the reverse onus on bail for gun crimes and several other bills I cannot remember. Therefore, they were not passed again until a year later – all because Harper decided playing politics was more important than his precious legislation.

            Now why would the opposition pass these bills in May, and then roadblock them in October? Answer: they wouldn't.

            Time for you to stop relying on the CPC website/talkiong points for all your research.

  14. Coyne suggests:
    'If MPs are barred at the doors to Parliament — and wouldn't that be an interesting scene — let them meet somewhere else.'

    They did that already, formed the coalition of losers……

    • Are you sure Sir/Madame? The Harper Reform/Alliance/Conservative Coalition saved by the David Orchard Incident took a $15 Billion surplus plus a $3 Billion emergency fund from the Canadian taxpayers and turned it into a $56 Billion plus the $18Billion deficit spending $74 B plus in 3 short years trapper! Those are the facts and should you disagree or others please state your share of the missing billions! Do not try and knock Paul Martin, Canadians had jobs and a plan in place with experienced people in place like them or not prior to he who said: Just Give me a Chance and I will show you Accountability and Transparency. It is a well known fact he has hidden/cooked the books as the AG has been denied access to many! Fact sweety. Happy New Year.

      • Isn't that interesting. I was not aware that the opposition parties opposed the massive stimulus spending program that Canada has been doing for the past year or two. Who knew?

        • The opposition parties were opposed to the government putting themselves into a deficit situation BEFORE the recession even started.

  15. If the Liberals are c alling this a insult and NDP'ers calling this an outrage and Andrew thinks it threatens democracy – then quite obviously it is exactly what needs to be done! – I can't wait for the senate to be finally in Conservative majority territory and then the battle begins in earnest mar. 03

  16. I completely agree with Mr. Coyne's post. It is not just the action of proroguing Parliament that is cause for great concern, but Harper's systematic shut down of democracy in this country. This is the latest step he's taken to avoid being held to account by anyone. What really frightens me is the complacency of the population. I agree, there's not much in the way of alternatives, but Harper is dancing dangerously close to dictatorship, and we seem to be content to let it happen.

    • Oh, cut the hyperbole, will you? Christ, I wish I had the spare money to send you on a one-way plane to North Korea, so you could see what an actual dictatorship looks and feels like.

      • Shutup and pay your carbon tax. Thank You.

      • Perhaps you need to check your dictionary. You've confused dictatorship with despot.

        Dictator: ruler with total power over a country, an autocratic person
        Despot: a ruler who exercises absolute power in a cruel or oppressive way.

        Oxford Dictionary – look it up.

        • and which one are you suggesting applies to King Stephen and his sychophants?

    • this is no different from that thug Cretien to grab the remote control and ensure the right talking points are in play. Whether the Libranos or Cons are in, us in Canuckistan are enslaved to an oligopoly of two private political parties seeking control of the cash register.

      Banana Republic are we.

      • Read Mr. Coyne's response above – Harper's motives are far more suspect

    • He is not dancing close- he is now effectively a dictatorship.

  17. It is a pretty sad day when we have to depend on the conscience of an unelected ceremonial head of state to defend freedom from the likes Harper and the rest of the conservative trash. He has taken a once respected party and turned it into a disease.

    • It's a pretty cool country when we have a last bastion of hope to defend the constitutional order of government within the powers of an unelected ceremonial head of state who was hired for this very express purpose.

  18. I keep wondering what Stephen Harper would have done if the roles were reversed.
    I believe he would have initiated a scrum when the rumour first surfaced, calling the PM a coward and "triple dog daring" him to slap democracy in the face by proroguing Parliament. A lot of bluster and a big quote to lean on.

    Can anyone tell me what MI has done to prep for this?

    My guess is there will be a well co-ordinated Conservative PR campaign that sticks to the talking points and reaffirms why this is necessary, and good for Canada.

    The Liberals should have seen this coming and been prepared. Their shouts of "democracy" are just lost in the din.

    • Actually he would have penned a passive-agressive letter to the National Post

  19. Great news! Whatever it takes to shut down the pompous, Liberal Senators and allow legislation supported by the majority of MP's to pass. This could all have been avoided if Iffy had reigned in his Senator buddies to stop stone-walling bills that the Liberal MP's themselves supported.

    • Harper would have still asked the GG for the prorogation of Parliament even if the Liberal senators had let the Conservative bills pass. Those pesky committee would have been seen interfering with Prime Dictator Harper's democracy.

      • You seem to infer that appointed senators are illegitimate.

    • I cannot believe the stupidity. It burns!

      The Senate would have changed hands to Conservative control next Monday if there is no prorogue. Then, your bills that are held up would get passed.

      And, by proroguing, Harper doesn't just delay these bills by a couple months! They die today. The ultra-important-must-pass-now crime bills could be passed by the new Senate within days of sitting again. However, with the prorogue, these anyone-who-delays-these-laws-is-a-pedophile-lover bills are delayed by at least six months.

      It is clear now that Harper does not care about those bills. They are just instruments of propaganda. What he really cares about is removing any checks and balances against him.

      • Actually, no. Prorogation is needed to reset the committees. Otherwise, Tory senate with Liberal committees still doing the delay and amend thing.

        A better point is Kady O'Malley's — why do it now? Why not wait till the day before whenever the new Throne Speech would be?

        And the answer is… well, the government doesn't mind shutting down those inquiries…

        • If I'm wrong, forgive me, but even if a committee amends a bill, a majority in the Senate could change that, couldn't it?

  20. All of these problems would be solved if we had a Canadian monarch with enough legitimacy and public acceptance to put the government in its place.

      • The Prime Minister is commenting on Coyne's blog posts?!?!

    • "…if we had a Canadian monarch with enough legitimacy and public acceptance to put the government in its place."

      We don't need any additional power, we just need to use the power that we've got. This government refuses to govern, so we need to refuse them.

  21. Well done "King Steve" well done in deed, Canadians deserve the best and now we all have the greatest self appointed King in the history of the free world and the next election will Crown "King Steve" to prove it (100% sure thing with over 42% in the polls (?).

    Remember these words "Just give me a chance" Accountability", "Transparency" and 36% did and bthe next election in 2010 (?) will see full control of Canada via elected Senators (27-29) and our H of C bypassed to enforce a New Reform Western Style Canada coast to coast to coast and the provincial Premiers can stand in line behind the MSM. Where is Danny Williams when we need a strong truthful voice? ( Harper never sued him for printing "Liar" in a National News paper)

    Happy New Year Canada, just remember y'all go exactly what you voted for …. Paul Martin had $15B in our Bank and another $3B in a emergency fund for all Canadians, Where did it go?

    • Well said.

  22. I will agree with Andrew Coyne's comments. However, I think Michael Ignatieff and the opposition leaders will huff and puff, but not be able to blow Harper's straw house down due to claims of their suffering from democratic asthma.

    • The Canadian voter is sick of voting ….. even the fixed election date election date was a scam. In retrospect I honestly think Dion should have pulled the plug via a last minute move, could have it been worst? We would not have had 27-29 appointed Senators. The stimulus money would have been spent more fairly and there would have been more accountability. The separatist are not going anywhere even though they found water on moon hello? The worst is yet to come and Canada Canadian Shield will soon burst when housing takes it dip as the middle class gets stuck once again with picking up the tab for Harper political payoffs now totaling $75B.

      • Sure you would have.

        They just would've been Liberal and NDP senators. Which would've still been reason enough to do it.

  23. Harper is going to go "ALL IN". He is putting all his chips on the table by proroging Parliament, he will then appoint enough Senators for a Senate majority and then he will table a confidence bill that no opposition can support or even allow to pass by abscention. An election will be called and Harper will hope he is delivered a majority. If he loses his bet he will retire on a hefty taxpayer funded pension with his buddy Brian Mulroney in Florida.

    If he prorogues for the Olympics and shuts down the Afghan Inquiry, Harper should be prepared for the world media to shine the light on the issue.

    • My problem with this theory is that any bill so bad that the other side would never pass it is also so bad it would lose the conservatives an election.

    • Lets just hope that the international media will shine its light on this issue.

      • The international media (except for foaming-at-the-mouth histrionic expat Heather Mallick) couldn't care less about what happens here.

  24. our soldiers are at war, working folks are losing their jobs left & right, my taxes for house, utilities keep rising and these CLOWNS want the WINTER OFF?? WTF is wrong with this country and why are we letting this happen??

    Canadian VOTERS better get it right next time.

    oh, and a hell of a time for announcement – same day as hockey team for Canada's Olympic team.
    Typical of CPC government and Canadian media.

    WAKE UP CANADA!!!!

    • As a retire vet I can assure you Sir/Madame our soldiers are not at "WAR" no declaration of war has been issued. They are in an armed conflict policing a country where Drug Lords run the government. They get $1000's of tax free money per month along with all multi non tendered contractors all couched in international aid money in the $Billions to Karzai to distribute. The bad guys are paid far,far less to plant IED's and cause trouble funded from our aid and the drug money! And yes items you mentioned will be raised to the limit so Harper & Co can continue to spin it, now appears from behind closed doors.

    • Would it not be terrible if Canada got it right and Jack Layton was elected as P.M. ?

  25. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's close to a dictator. It's not as if he is ignoring his own laws? What? Accountability Act, Access to Information Act, fixed election date law… these are being ignored?

    But his priority is to make government work. What? He's systematically shutting down committee after committee and now shutting down Parliament?

    Well, there is more to responsible government than just committees. What? He's allowed cabinet ministers off the hook for screw ups in their departments? He's been and his cabinet ministers have been caught outright lying (eg. Kenney on KAIROS defunding, McKay on detainees, O'Connor on the Red Cross) and they are still in their jobs?

    Responsible government means more than cabinet. What? He's shutting down Parliament altogether?

    At least in a democracy we always have the courts to protect us when government turns anti-democratic? What's that you say? He's been systematically ignoring court orders as well???????

    Well, at least he knows how to play the piano.

    • Ya, he needs a new song of the sixties – he loves 50's and 60's music.

      There was a song, by I believe by Dell Shannon , called Runaway:

      As i walk along i wonder what went wrong
      With our love, a love that was so strong
      And as still walk on i think of the things we've done
      Together while our hearts were young
      I'm a walking in the rain, tears are falling and i feel a pain
      Wishing you were here by me to end this misery
      And i wonder, i wo wo wo wo wonder
      Why, why why why why why she (you) ran away
      And i wonder where she (you) will stay
      My little runaway, a run run run run runaway

    • You have it exactly right!!. How come Nanos has Harper's Conservatives at 39.5% and Harper at 94.5% as most trustworthy prime minister????? Are Canadians stupid? Or are you and I the only ones that can see through Harper and the CPC?

  26. Clever people that we are, we'll probably see the opposition slip further in the polls for allowing it.

    • the opposition deserve just that.

  27. "Systematic shut down of democracy!" by Harper,

    "Dictatorship!"

    Funny description of a single conservative party holding a minority of seats in a democratically election parliament,

    held in power solely by the will of the three left leaning parties aligned against it.

    the oppostion are excercising thier power by deciding NOT to take the government down precisely because they desperately fear the will of the people.

    In other words they know the public will approve of Harper.

    If only the Globe and Mail, CBC and a few left leaning professors could judge Harper's government, rather than those pesky masses.

    • The will of the people was rendred in 2008: a majority of seats to non-Conservatives.

      Why does Harper think he can ignore the will of the people?

      • Because a plurality of seats went to Conservatives, and that is also the will of the people. If you're going to play the strict numbers game, you can't pick and choose the math you're going to rely on.

        • "you can't pick and choose the math you're going to rely on"

          Exactly. So why is Harper getting away with this?

          Canadians were pretty clear in 2008: keep Harper as government but subject to the majority of Parliament. And for bloody sakes get back to work.

          Now, instead, for the third time in 15 months (unwanted election call in 2008 breaking his own promise and principle, proroguing x2), Harper has thrown out all of the long hard work of Parliament, ignored Parliament, shoved aside democracy for what? A slight political edge and to avoid accountability? Is that what our democracy has come to? Harper gets to have a holiday whenever he thinks his job is at risk?

  28. "So unless the prorogue was required to give Harper a majority on the Senate Committees, I just don't see the point. "

    It was indeed required.

    And its a perfectly valid reason to stop what happened earlier with the ammendments to the drug and consumer safety legislation in the senate.

    • Thank you.

      Assuming you are correct, then I think you all in the media have completely dropped the ball on the proroguation story. This is why it is being done. Even Kady seems to have missed the boat on this one, which is surprising.

      • The trick though is that he didn't need to Prorogue TODAY. It's traditional to prorogue the Friday before the house is scheduled to meet, and by doing so the government committees can continue to function, etc.

        In fact, you can prorogue and restart at the normal time if you want.

        Proroguing now is clearly done just to stop the Afghanistan committee from meeting and to stop the parliament-ordered production of documents.

    • Regardless of the composition of the committees, Harper can still have his majority in the Senate without shutting down parliament. If the Cons are justifying yet another shutdown of parliament on that this reed then… well, I guess we ought to congratulate them on bothering with any justification at all.

      It's marginally better than "Because I feel like it."

      • Bills must go through committees and to be cleared from the committee require a majority vote I believe.

        So a senate majority is meanginless if there is not a committee majority – any bill, at anytime, could still be blocked.

        • But wouldn't the bill the committee is examining be dead on prorogation? Sure, they can try putting it through again, but maybe the opposition parties wouldn't pass it the second, or is it third, time around.

          • Good point, I was just wondering about this very thing. The argument is made that bills can simply be restored to the same stage at the start of the new session but it's my vague recollection that this requires unanimus consent in the House. Why would the opposition parties give their consent?

          • "Why would the opposition parties give their consent?"

            They did last time for most bills.

            I mean, they're making the arguement that Harper is killing bills and shutting down parliement – they'd be called out as hypocrites if they did the same thing wouldn't they ?

          • "they'd be called out as hypocrites if they did the same thing wouldn't they ?"

            I don't think so… the last time the opposition was striving to be seen as reasonable people willing to compromise. This time, I don't think they feel any such impulse. Nor should they. The Harper PMO has proven, beyond any doubt, that they are incapable of working cooperatively with anyone.

            The Conservatives can not be placated or appeased, they can only be confronted. I think the average Canadian understands that and the opposition – if they can properly convey the truth of the situation – are in a much stronger position than Harper appreciates.

            The last time he pulled this stunt, he had the sympathy of the public. This time, I think he's lost the sympathy and is actively promoting antipathy. May it come in spades.

          • In fact, they wanted to bring the crime bills back last time but Harper refused and instead reintroduced them and the entire process had to start again.

        • So a senate majority is meanginless if there is not a committee majority – any bill, at anytime, could still be blocked.

          Yes, the committees can still delay. But they can't force through amendments that are unpalatable to the Conservative majority. So Harper's proposed solution to potential Senate delaying tactics… is to shut down the whole works for another three months?!?!?!

          And that doesn't strike you as an absurdity?

          • 3 months traded for no more obstruction for so long as Harper shall ever be PM.

            How is that a bad trade off in the least ?

          • As others have pointed out; he can achieve the exact same result in a period of 24 hours, if efficacy is really his concern. So let's dispense with the insulting fiction that this is being done to streamline Senate committees. It's being done to stiff-arm the opposition and – by direct extension – every voter, taxpayer, citizen and "client" in the entire country.

          • So you now agree that proroguing is nessecary but merely object to its length ?

            Talk about progress!

            My assumption is that the extra time is going to be used for Flaherty and the team to come up with a budget/throne speech.

          • He actually might need a majority in the House for that Jesse.

            Though I must say I absolutely love the way the Harperites desperately cling on to the flimsiest of excuses in order to not have to admit he has failed to live up to his promises.

  29. Can anyone find Mr Harper's response to the Chretien prorogue(als?) (ments?)

    I bet there is a good quote somewhere

    • "Prorogations" is the word you're looking for, I believe.

      • Of course! Thank you!

  30. The anti–Harper crowd should welcome a prorogue, as this plays into their narrative that "King" Harper is undemocratic, disrespectful of Parliament, and so on. Lots of good talking points for them, which they can torque up, maybe stage demonstrations and the like to embarass Harper.

    Later, when Harper introduces legislation to elect Senators to eight year terms, the Opps can congratulate themselves for forcing Harper to heed their cries for more democracy !

    • yes…later after having stacked the Senate to gain his majority in the Upper Chamber…only after that. Too bad the man couldn't stick to his convictions and let the law and Parliament govern his actions as per a democractic state.

      • Ah, yes. The Law. Let us look at the law.

        Article Five "Annual Sitting of Legislative Bodies," within the "Democratic Rights" section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982: There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.

        There's your law. If we don't like it, there is an amending formula…

    • "The anti–Harper crowd should welcome a prorogue, as this plays into their narrative that "King" Harper is undemocratic, disrespectful of Parliament, and so on."

      Now that's a talking point you have to *pay* for.

    • There's no such thing as legislation that can elect senators to eight year terms. This is a fantasy, and would be a farce to be ignored at the first opportunity (see, Fixed Election date law).

    • "King Harper" promised "transparency and accountability"….now he can slink around the tough issues/questions and stack .the Senate.What a great guy!This is my fantasy-democracy.

  31. I'm wondering if someone can explain the difference between "proroguing" and having Parliament "in recess." Our parliament does go into recess several times each year–especially in the summer. However, Parliament does not get prorogued every few months–except for now.

    • During recess, Parliament still works but the House doesn't meet. Committees continue to meet to review legislation, etc.

      Proroguing Parliament, however, kills all government bills in their tracks, they "die on the order paper". So, for example, all of the crime legislation that Harper claimed was so important that we needed to pass it urgently and the Bloc supported child pornographers because they wouldn't rush it through… those crime bills are dead and would need to be re-introduced as new Bills and go through committee again, etc..

  32. "Question: In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time?"

    Likely the democracy in which, despite dozens of examples to the contrary, the press continues to endorse a particular party as the best choice for the country. In the last election (by my unscientific count), only two Canadian news organizations did NOT endorse the Harper Government, despite nearly two-thirds of the electorate saying otherwise. That degree of unanimity amongst the press in any country is indicative of a weak democracy.

    So, Mr. Coyne, what will you and your fellow editorialists do next time?

    • Who was the second one?

      The Toronto Star endorsed "not Harper", I remember that. Was there a second English newspaper that didn't endorse Harper last time out?

      Or are you including the francophone press, too?

      • I believe it was the Winnipeg Free Press… I could be wrong (hence the "unscientific" qualification of my comment).

        That we are struggling to find a second news organization that wasn't in lock step with its peers last year (and might have spoken for two in three Canadians) reinforces my contention that this problem is more than one of Parliamentary gamesmanship. Parties are weak, Parliament is loosing legitimacy at a staggery pace, the editorial positions of the press are wildly out of step with the events they are reporting, the nation's finances are in a shambles, our foreign policy is suspect amongst our allies, our industrial, technological and environmental policies are being outsourced to Washington… More institutions in this country are responsible for the weakening of our democracy than just Harper's gang. Harper's policies are bad for Canada as a whole and in the long term, but his success is symptomatic of others' failures. A warped press and self-centred voters are first in line in my book.

        • Well, there were slight differences.

          The Globe endorsed a second Harper minority, with the hopes that he would continue to grow into the job. The Post endorsed a Harper majority.

          Oh, here we are:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_endorsemen

          Okay, the WFP went for Harper, but there were a few local papers that went for the Liberals or for strategic voting to defeat the Tories…

          • You might also want to consider that by "endorsing" what comes to pass, a news organization may curry favour with the next government, and gain credibility with the public.

            As well, Dion was such a meltdown in the last election that any organization (news or otherwise) that endorsed him as the "best" choice pretty much exposed themselves as a shill for the liberals.

            Similar situation in 2006, any editorial board that would have endorsed the Libs after Adscam would have lost all credibility with the public.

            Why were the NDP not widely endorsed? Probably because they are too fringe, and the MSM did not want to alienate the center.

            If Iggy has a worse 2010 than 2009, would anyone even consider endorsing him? I'm sure the Star would. If he pulls it together, I expect you will see endorsements in both directions next campaign. Sun chain, Post, Harper…G&M, Star, etc. Liberal.

  33. Let me get this straight now.
    When the opposition try to force a vote of non-confidence – PM Harper went to the GG and prorogued – because he did not want a possible election to stop the business of Parliament.
    Oh – and that a coaltion was illegal!
    Now he wants to prorogue – why ? Because he doesn't want Parliament to interfer with what he wants to do to break down democracy further.
    I'm pretty sure that Canadians will see through this – although the National Post and Sun Media – ably assisted by CTV – will spin PMO talking points for all they are worth!

  34. Coyne is right. If prorogation is invoked in this manner, all our democratic institutions will suffer. If our PM does indeed chose to travel this purely partisan path – he will be demeaning us all. Naked-self interest is an ugly thing – and nowhere is it uglier than in a political system that allows the governing party to run away from its responsibility to govern in an open, accountable, and transparent fashion.

  35. Two things jump out at me:

    First is the fact there's no compelling reason for prorogation – there simply isn't. It will be packaged, of course under the guise of unveiling a new budget and lots of pundits will say that nobody would be paying much attention what with the Olympics and all. But Canada has hosted the winter Olympics before (I know, I was there) and there was no compelling reason to shut down Parliament, so why do it now?

    The second and perhaps more important observation is that what's really happening is a cover-up on the Afghan detainee question. This is the true reason behind prorogation and while not as blatant as shutting down the Somalia inquiry when it started to look like the Liberal government might wind up wearing some of that scandal, Canadians aren't stupid: anyone with half a brain will know this is an attempt to let the detainee matter blow over. Quite frankly, the government has already weathered the worst of it already with respect to prisoner abuse and they're still nine points up on the Liberals in the polls. Ignatieff is a dead fish and won't become Prime Minister in my lifetime (and I'm 42) so really, if there hasn't been any substantial political damage on detainee abuse already, then we don't need to shut down Parliament.

    Now I'm a realist: the vast majority of voters really hate everyone in Ottawa and generally invoke the which of the "two steaming piles of dung should I vote for" rule on election day, but as a guy who voted Tory in the last election, this doesn't sit well with me. It's one thing to take political advantage of a weakened Parliament to bolster your political position, it's another thing entirely to @#$% with the machinations of Canadian democracy just because you can.

    I won't be voting Tory next time around. There's something downright contemptible about what's happening under Harper's tenure, lately. Canadian soldiers fought and died for this thing we call democracy and prorogation for a second time in twelve months shows a venomous disregard for the electorate.

    There will be a reckoning. Trust me on this.

  36. Wow. That's a pretty extreme parallel. Who plays the Scarlet Pimpernel (or Pumpernickel) in this version?

  37. If my memory serves me correctly, this was standard practice for the Liberal govt under Chretien.

    It never ceases to amaze me at how self-righteous Liberals get when the Conservatives use their own tactics against them.

    Hypocrisy is spelled L-I-B-E-R-A-L

    • Um, no.

      As noted in a comment up above: "The shortest session in a Parliament presided over by Chretien was the second session of the 36th Parliament at 376 days (133 sittings of the HoC). Stephen Harper has presided over 4 sessions in 2 Parliaments – 3 of those 4 sessions have all been shorter (in days and sittings of the Commons) than Chretien's shortest session."

      You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    • I hear Omega 3 is good for failing memories.

      • Unfortunately, CON talking points are adverse to both facts and good memories…

  38. Oh Andrew take a pill. You are acting like a hysterical school girl.

    Prorogation is the perogative of the PM and you know it. How many times did Chretien do it to catch the opposition off guard. Other PMs have done it as well. Harper has the right to change the committee set up in the Senate given the new realities.

    If the opposition parties want to meet to discuss the detainee issue let them have at it. They will not have a quorum but it would be simply political theatre.

    The public is not buying the Afghan detainee issue and so the media will move on since there is nothing new to report. Besides what do we really want to accomplish with the detainee issue? It happened four years ago, the agreement was renegotiated and more frequent visits are taking place.

    The whole point is to get Harper. The fact is he is probably protecting the military who made mistakes on the battlefied during intense fighting and relocating to Kandahar I guess is a minor point.

    In the unlikely event that there is solid proof that our detainees were tortured what will be done about it.

    • "How many times did Chretien do it to catch the opposition off guard?"

      I'd say zero. But you tell us.

      As noted in a comment up above: "The shortest session in a Parliament presided over by Chretien was the second session of the 36th Parliament at 376 days (133 sittings of the HoC). Stephen Harper has presided over 4 sessions in 2 Parliaments – 3 of those 4 sessions have all been shorter (in days and sittings of the Commons) than Chretien's shortest session."

      It is convention to prorogue Parliament when all or most of the Throne Speech has been accomplished.

      And yet, Harper has now thrown out all of its own work and the work of Parliament and all its committees three times in the last 16 months to start anew. How many do overs does this guy need?

      • In fairness, he might have had a point if he referenced elections and not sessions. In the skewed thought process that passes for kool ade inspired debate, I think that line would go something like: "The Lieberals, whom (I just couldn't type who, but have no confidence whom would have been used in my hypothetical rant) were awful, unprincipled b*st*rds who would stoop to any level if they thought it would work. We, as the principled, righteous leaders of what Canadians truly think, are justified in using those same, loathesome means in order to implement our ordained objectives."

        N.B., please don't intepret this to be a defence of Liberal tactics.

  39. hollinm continued…

    Oh yes we can say the government lied to the population. The opposition could force an election and Harper would be re-elected. What then. Well we have accused our military of committing war crimes and contravening the Geneva Convention and hurt the country's global reputation. Then what?

    • "You are acting like a hysterical school girl."

      Offensive much?

  40. It wold be nice to know – if government is prorogued for 2 months – are their salaries prorated accordingly? In what other job can you say "Hey I'm shutting this place down so I can go party at the Olympics without worrying about the state of things, but don't worry fatcats, you'll all be paid for the 2 month leav e."
    It's disgustung and ridiculous, if they take an extra 2 months off they should not be paid for it. Let their paycheques go to the EI funds for those who wold like to be working but ca't get a job in this lovely Conservative climate.

  41. Didn't Da kKetch prorogue 4 times, I never heard much of an uproar about that! lol Well except for the time he set Paul martin up.What a guy!

  42. It seems like much ado about nothing. Chretien prorogued 4 times with majority governments, when he could have his way in the legislature. It is not unreasonable to see that the legislature is a hostile place these days with the minority governments and therefore more frequent breaks are required.
    Harper is living within the rules of our democracy, the allusions to "King" are unfounded. He is a minority leader. He is not hiding from anything. If he feels that little can be accomplished in the legislature without a break, then so be it.

    • Nice try.

      This is unprecedented.

      Chretien did prorogue 4 times over the course of 11 years but only after full sessions of Parliament. As noted in a comment up above: "The shortest session in a Parliament presided over by Chretien was the second session of the 36th Parliament at 376 days (133 sittings of the HoC). Stephen Harper has presided over 4 sessions in 2 Parliaments – 3 of those 4 sessions have all been shorter (in days and sittings of the Commons) than Chretien's shortest session."

      By contrast, this marks the 3rd time in 16 months that Harper has unnecessarily thrown out all of the work of Parliament including all of the crime bills and consumer protection bills he claims are urgently needed.

      In 2008, we re-elected Harper to government but with a majority in opposition. Who does Harper thinks he is to just ignore the will of the people when it suits him?

      • So are you in possession of some wonderful, magical instrument that tells us what the "will of the people" is with respect to this issue? Do tell.

        • Typical liberal reply Ted , its fine when the libs do it.When Harper does it, he has something to hide.

          • Maybe you missed all those differences between the two that Ted pointed out in his post.

            Or maybe you just think plugging your ears and going "na na na" makes what you said above magically come true.

          • meet the new boss – same as the old boss

      • Maybe it is unprecedented, but 6 years of minority governments is also unprecedented. Your comments are just the usual bluster.

        • I agree with s_c_f here. I expect that any minority government (and that would apply to the Liberals) would need frequent breaks to be functional. I know some of the posters on here would love to see Harper push his extreme right wing, neocon agenda forward, until the opposition has enough on him to PO the country and vote him out of power. That is hardly making a minority Parliament work. I support anything that the PM has to do, that is legal, to keep Parliament stable. Rebalancing senate committees seems reasonable to me.

          I also think that it is appropriate for a new throne speech/budget, to specifically address any changes in plans due to the country coming out of recession…with a plan in place to move towards balanced budgets once again.

          I would think that the opposition would love

  43. I've sent an email to the GG to say NO to Harper should he come calling. I hope others will do the same if one truly believes in a democracy.

    • The governor general answers to the queen, not novegardener. She is not to be influenced by the electorate, she is to remain impartial, which means your email is a complete waste of time.

  44. Where did I say that you couldn't write the GG?

    • What you said was the writing campaign would let the GG know "the will of Canadians." That is what is being taken to task here — your assumption that you know the will of Canadians, as if you somehow speak on all of their behalf.

      On what do you base that assertion? In fact, two people writing here in response to this post alone have proven that you obviously do not know the "will of Canadians" on this matter, and your letter-writing campaign would certainly not reflect them, so please don't presume that you speak for all.

      • So speak for yourself. Write her. It's still a free country.

        • No denial of my charge that you do indeed presume all Canadians share your view point, eh? Ok, good — then the point is taken as proven. On we go to other matters.

          • I need to deny that your comprension is totally screwed ridiculous and partisan?

      • Where did you ever come up with this drivel?!

  45. If Parliament is prorogued, it means the government cannot advance its legislative agenda, which it is given special privilege in the House schedule to do. Shouldn't the opposition parties like that fact? I thought Harper was hellbent on “changing Canada”, etc.? Can't really do that w/o changing some laws, can ya?

    Duration of sessions of Parliament:
    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/compilations/parl

    You'll see that Parliament used to only meet for 2-3 months in the Spring. That was the norm pretty much up until 1940, and even a bit after that. Many of our legislatures do not convene for a fall sitting. So why should the federal Parliament be different? Parliament's main function is to approve a budget, grant supply, and to give its consent to any new taxes or levies.

    Parliament has for the last two years refused the gov't's request to extend the sitting of Parliament in the summer for an extra two weeks. Were any of you up in arms over that?

    • Are you seriously comparing the workloads of pre-1940 parliament with today?
      As to provincial leg's not sitting, yes, there have been questions of a lack of respect for democracy there too…in particular BC and AB. I'm not familiar with the records of other pronvincial legislatures.

      • Yes, I am comparing the workloads. Lacking many of the productive tools and systems that we enjoy today, their workload might actually have been heavier than todays.

        The fact remains that with the government not having the legislature in session, it cannot effect any changes to laws. It can make changes to regulations, and if Parliament wants to gain a tighter grip on the government, perhaps it will want to take back some of those delegated legislative powers for itself.

        I agree that Parliament should be able to set its own business, rather than having its schedule controlled by the government. Perhaps bills that are able to get sponsored support from a whole swath of different party members, could be given priority over government-sponsored legislation. But what would need to happen in that case is that, for every hour of Government Business time taken, an hour given over to the opposition for holding the government to account would also have to be given up, to maintain our delicate balance of allowing the government to govern, and the opposition to be heard.

        (cont'd) …

      • (cont'd from above)…

        Many things need to change in order for this to be effective … starting with changes to our Elections Act that give far too much power to party leaders, and take it away from individual district associations.

        The combined opposition could strike down any estimate or allocation that it wanted to … it could even grant supply up to only eleven-twelfths of the year, etc., which would necessitate the government recalling Parliament to grant that last twelfth, which would mean it would have to be recalled back in February at the latest, to grant supply for March.

        Basically, the opposition has to grow the cajones to stand up to the government, and see it through, all the way through an election if need be. I think a Parliament vs. Government ballot question is a total winner for the opposition parties, if they had the guts to take it on.

        • Thanks for the info…im not informed enough i'm afraid to dispute most of your points. I'd say we mostly agree, the opposition has to have the courage of its convictions…but i refuse to concede that an election is the only measure of legitimacy, when the parliamentary process is short cuircuted by a PM who seems to value populism above parliamentary legitimacy.

          While it's true the govt may not be able to make law while not sitting, it's equally true that it's not accountable…the main point at issue here surely?

          I'm still not convinced that a pre war parliament carried the same or heavier a workload than a 21st centuary Parliament…any more concrete evidence for that?

      • The House of Assembly in Dannystan only meets as many times in a year as St. John's City Council does, or a little less.

  46. Couldn't care less. They should be paid to stay home. Less bad laws, rules and micromanaging. Less damage done to individual responsibilities and liberty and maybe our soldiers can concentrate on their work, whacking enemy combatants.

  47. Mr. Andrew Coyne: You helped get this guy elected by your pro-conservative/Harper rhetoric in Macleans and on the CBC At Issue Panel. Now I think you owe us an apology! We have tried to make our feelings known many times, but they have fallen on deaf ears of "journalists" and the "media". So what would you suggest we do now if the GG says yes to this dictator? But, at last you have seen this party and their leader for how they regard the citizens of our country. Small consolation!

    • yes Andrew, Mary is offended. You owe her an apology. think of the poor victims for god's sake! all that right wing rhetoric you spew day after day after day…

      • LOL poor Mary.I think Coyne is is one of the fairest guys on CBC, and that is a struggle to find!

        • Yes, Andrew Coyne is to blame for the fact that we have a CPC government now. Rembember Andrew: with great power comes great responsibility. You must use The Force for Good.

  48. I like this idea of the Long Parliament. I just wrote to my MP asking her to do just that: show up and do the job I'm paying her for. Started a facebook group too: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=26034809141
    Stop complaining on the message boards and do something!

    • I refuse to do Facebook, Twitter, etc, instead I`ve written to the GG.

  49. If we Canadians are serious about opposing Dictator Harper's prorogue request and Michaëlle Jean's acceptance, Canadians should take to the streets to show our disapproval and to support a new election preferably under some form of proportional representation. Otherwise, we have no reason to complain if we become complacent about our loss of democracy. By protesting, I do not mean having an afternoon protest on Parliament Hill or our provincial legislatures; I mean being on the streets 24 hours per day. We can do it the Gandhi way.

    • Yeah, good luck with that.

    • Off you go.I will wave from the comfort of my condo

    • Dictator Harper, eh?

      Let us look at the law.

      Article Five "Annual Sitting of Legislative Bodies," within the "Democratic Rights" section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982: There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.

      There's your law. If we don't like it, there is an amending formula…

  50. All all know is that Harper and Co. are players and what a move, steal the lime light, spoil our Holidays and remember this what and is the day we know who our Olympic Hockey Team is……I think I will prorogue paying my taxes till parliament is sitting. Who do I telephone?
    Happy New Years everyone.

  51. Well said, Coyne!

  52. I just watched Conservative honcho, Dimitri Soudas, state that during the proroguing of Parliament (abolition of democracy), this would be a good time for Canadians to support our Olympic team. If that is the reasonable, then I hope Parliament can be prorogued during the Stanley Cup playoffs so that we can support the Toronto Maple Leafs to the finals.

    • Is that a thumbs down against the Leafs? We can always support another Canadian team: the Coyotes.

    • Can we stick with scenarios that might actually happen?

  53. In other more important news, what do you think of Men's Hockey Team??!!!!! GO CANADA

    The best part about this is listening to the lefties whine and cry – Booo hoooo hoo we are losing our democracy Booo hoo the Taliban are being mistreated. Booo hoo hoo Harper is so mean.

    • Yep, change the channel, quick.

    • Actually, all they are doing is pointing out what a hypocrite Harper is, and what hypocrites his supporters are.

      Personally, I do not care if he prorogues – well, except for the collossal waste of tax dollars and MP's time spent on all the bills that have now died.

      If Harper wants to run away and hide I say let him. What is very funny, however, is how his supporters have to stretch and contort themselves into finding a reason for his actions to be acceptable.

  54. So he shut down last year for 2 months at the peak of the crisis and now he;s shutting down for 3 months. Can we pro-rate their salaries for the time missed. Can the troops prorogue the bullets fired at them in Afghanistan?

    Harper is like the little fat kid who was too afraid to show up after school for a fight……so he ran.

    A coward by any other name………….

  55. Vell dun my son.

  56. This post reminds me of a trip to Ottawa last summer that included a visit to Laurier House, former residence of Prime Ministers Laurier and King. William Lyon Mackenzie King was an avid collector of historical artifacts, and one of his possessions was a bust of Oliver Cromwell.

  57. This is clearly a play for a March election. The parliamentary inquiry into Afghanistan needs to be neutralized, because Afghanistan needs to be neutralized as an issue. The winter break in guerrilla activities also helps. Avoiding appointing an Afghan rep (as Wells noticed) also keeps Afghanistan off the table as an issue.

    And Afghanistan desperately needs to be kept off the table in order to pull off an election win. The public will not elect the Conservatives if the Liberals take a firm stance on a pullout and make it an election issue. I'll go so far as to speculate that Harper has ALREADY promised an extended Canadian commitment to the United States in Afghanistan in exchange for some trade concessions. This makes sense because the United States needed to secure Canadian promises for a post Feb 2011 commitment in order to plan their own troop deployments, which has already been done.

    So Harper launches a March election off the Olympic high, maybe even a Hockey Gold? Before the housing market crashes in the summer, and Canada joins the U.S. in recession, he hopes to lock himself in for 5 years. He tried it before in September 2008.

    • I'll put my loonie in favour of your prediction.

      Harper will present a very conservative budget that the opposition won't be able to stomach. Maybe Ignatieff will. However, Ignatieff could face a split in his caucus if he tells his Liberal MPs to support a right-wing Conservative budget.

      For the next two months, the parties will be in election preparedness mode.

    • Yeah, because if Canada's team wins the gold everyone will be crediting Harper.

      Did he suddenly learn how to play hockey or something?

      Anyway…

      • They won't be "crediting" Harper, so much as feeling pretty good about themselves. More and more, Harper is playing up the patriotism angle, so a good performance by Canada's olympic athletes, plus a well run Games, will give him a boost.

        The reason Harper didn't win a majority last time had nothing to do with a lack of substantive policy – it was all about two things: the "rich galas" comment, which smacked of meanness hence bad vibes, and the crashing economy, which brought feelings of dread to everybody and blame towards the government.

        The opposite should also be true – good vibes from a good Olympics will carry over as good feelings towards the government in charge while they were planned and run.

        Add another piano perfomance and Harper is King for 5 years.

        • Well last time he ran against one of the weakest oppositions in history, and he still did not pull off a majority. I suggest that had something to do with the fact people do not like him and do not trust him with a majority.

          In any event, I am not clear on why you think people feeling patriotic is going to translate into votes for Harper. Are you suggesting other political parties are un-Canadian or something?

          Harper does not own the country, and he is hardly the personification of patriotism. It is actually possible to love one's country and not vote for him.

          • Since I watched "The Rock" last night, may i quote Sean Connery quoting Oscar Wilde: "Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious."

            Yes, I agree with you Gayle – you can be patriotic and not love Harper. Of course. What I'm saying is that in good times, people tend to vote their government back into power. Harper's been playing up the patriotism angle with his support the troops stuff – so in the public's mind, right now he's associated with patriotism. Ignatieff has been painted (unfairly, I know) as "just visiting" – so Ignatieff isn't seen as patriotic.

            Hence, after a successful Olympics, Canadians will be feeling patriotic,and they'll feel more strongly to the candidate who they feel embodies patriotism – Harper.

            If I'm right about the election, the challenge for the opposition is to put into action their own platforms that will capture the feel-good moment of the Olympics. Ignatieff could start playing Laurier and claim the 21st century will be Canada's or something.

          • Right. Support the troops+win gold medals=vote for Harper.

            It is possible to both support the troops, not support staying in Afghanistan, question our government's role in the torture of prisoners, not vote for Harper AND love our country.

            Maybe Canadians will actually vote on the issues and not on the number of gold medals we win. But if Harper is counting on a successful Olympics to bring him that long coveted majority, I say good luck to him.

            For that matter, what is Harper going to do if Canada tanks? Will he blame the liberals?

          • No, if he doesn't feel the mood is right for an election, then he'll just play nice and introduce a throne speech and a budget the Liberals can stomach.

            "Maybe Canadians will actually vote on the issues and not on the number of gold medals we win."

            Gayle, did you see the polls after that silly piano playing stunt Harper did? They shot up into majority territory for him. Canadians didn't vote on the issues the last election. Remember? Harper says somethign mean or callous ("Good buying opportunities") – he tanks. Dion has trouble with his english – he tanks. Dion would be prime minister right now (for better or worse) if not for that Mike Duffy interview. What did that have to do with the issues?

            I'm sorry to say, but you give the Canadian public too much credit.

          • Peter, Peter, Peter

            A poll is meaningless. It is time you learned that.

            The election was lost by the liberals because of the ISSUE of the Green Shift. See, that was an issue.

            I do not accept your argument about the Dion interview. He was already starting to go back down in the polls before that happened. He got some good numbers after the debates, but then Harper reminded them about the Green Shift and they went back down.

  58. Andrew Coyne may be the best all-round journalist in the country but he also knows how to stir up the dopey readership in these end-of-year dog days. That`s 150 comments in the first 4 hours. He knew that a post even about the rumour of prorogue would stir up the sleeping sentimentals that can still taste the bitterness of a coalition that coulda been except for that darn prorogue.

    Coyne is above all a contrarian, just watch him with Wells, he will take a position sometimes just to get the maximum response from the readership even if that readership is not at all reflective of the general populace.

  59. I like how Tubby chose the day of the Olympic hockey picks to put this out there.

    Clearly, he knows the priorities of his base.

    • So Liberals, Dippers, Greens and Bloquistes are not hockey fans?

      Who knew?

    • And clearly, anyone who refers to the Canadian Prime Minister as Tubby is worth debating.

  60. Sounds like Andrew missed the last three weeks of the session in parliament. Was there anything else discussed besides allegations and accusations about detainees? While the world waits for proof and evidence to substantiate the accusations ( please don't insult my intelligence by saying your proof is that somebody got attacked with a shoe) the Liberals step all over any hint of Canadian justice by continuing to make unfounded accusations. In the mean time the Liberal accusations that our soldiers did something illegal and horrific by turning over "innocent people" to Afghans for torture on the one hand and their ridiculous position that no they aren't attacking the Canadian soldiers. Does Andrew Coyne think it is important that we convene parliament quickly to hear more of this nonsense and rubbish?

    • You're making an invalid argument – that the accusations are so disturbing that they cannot possibly be true.

      Parliamentary committees can call witnesses and gather evidence – they were trying to secure the proof you claim you want (but now that there will be a prorogation, you won't get).

      The job of the opposition is the hold the government accountable. Hence why speech in parliament has special privileges, including protection from libel – so that the opposition can make accusations of the government.

      • I think much of the faux (not for those abused just in the political context) Afstan detention/torture issue is much the same as the WMD allegations about Iraq. The Libs know detainees were abused because THEY allowed it to happen, just like the Yanks and the Brits and were sure Saddam had WMDs because they sold them to him.

        As PM, Mr. Harper is honour and duty bound to protect pan-Canadian interests and therefore winds up wearing the Liberal folly. The Liberals know this, I suspect Coyne knows this. As to the proroguing, both C6 and C15 have been hobbled by the senate and sent back to the house. Both were sent there by near unanimous consent at third reading…ie the Liberals supported it when they could have opposed it. I'm a Conservative and I think both bills suck. My fig leaf is that I believe both are coming from the "internationalists" who infest both Justice and Foreign Affairs…you know, the bureaucrats who misunderstand their relationship with the folks we peons vote for to run the country…and they leak very much more and for very different reasons than the elected political class

  61. Is this possible? Are we all going by the way of the nut basket? What ta hell is becoming of us?
    What do these monsters want from us next?

    • They want to drink your blood, silly. Haven't you been paying attention?

    • For you to swallow their lies with an obedient smile – don't forget to say thank you

  62. is it me, or is AC at his best when he is completely POed? for second post in a row he is fully focussed, forceful and exacting. Excellent piece on our democratic decent.

  63. We are, but only after work.

    • so, if the game is on when you are at work, you have never watched.Hmm I doubt that big time! if you do not, you are in a minority

      • Dumb frenchie, dumb

  64. Well said Andrew Coyne…can we [ some of anyway] assume, or hope for the support of you and colleauges who agree with you, as we make our displeasure known? If this is as serious as you say, surely it's time for the journalists to climb down off the fence…the more this continues, the harder it'll be to undo.

  65. Closing down parliament has been Harper` s panic button. Never has this Country been without any semblance of leadership like now. Canadian soldiers are dying needlessly in in Afghanistan, Canada has lost its reputation for being fair and even handed, and Harper has made us the laughing stock of the world with his moronic climate change denial. The MP s are well paid and the Senators are grossly over paid. Why do they get months off at a time on Harper`s whim. The average Canadian realizes if they do not work they do not get paid . Why should our elected members and patronnage appointed Senate be any different ? We have a horrible vacuum in Ottawa that makes banana republics corruption and patronnage look normal. Harper has no respect for democracy or the will of the people . He is just milking the system for himself and his Alliance AKA Reform party . He would not survive a week in the private sector where not only must you work , you must produce.

  66. This is not even slightly controversial or undemocratic or indeed unusual. The Coyne rant and most of the frenzied responses just give the blogosphere a bad name.

    • I could not agree more, once again, the left and the media are whipping everyone into a frenzy.I am enjoying a rum and eggnog.

      • "The left and the media…" Thankgod we have folks like you and ex canuck out there battling for us…we can safely leave democracy in your safe hands i'm sure.

        • kcm, Canadian democracy is in the hands of our Constitution.

          Article Five "Annual Sitting of Legislative Bodies," within the "Democratic Rights" section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982: There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.

          If we don't like it, there is an amending formula…

  67. I don't understand why the CBC isn't nailing the Government (doesn't matter which party it is) for its obvious obfuscation for proroguing parliament. I think the parliamentary website says it best, "The principal effect of ending a session by prorogation is to end business." (http://www.parl.gc.ca/compendium/web-content/c_d_
    [Paragraph III, Line I]).

    Effect: 1) Purport, Intent: Essence 2) something that inevitably follows an antecedent (as a cause or agent)

    …. I'm sure I don't have to go through every definition of the one vague word in the sentence.

    I'm sorry, but what the website says is a FACT. I don't think the hired professionals in our parliament buildings wouldn't know what they're doing, especially in their own fields. Dmitri Soudas may enjoy wrapping it up in colourful language, but the only reason to end parliament by prorogation, in the language of those "in-the-know", is "to end business."

    Please; for the sake of all of us Canadians who believe in the supremacy of facts over falsehood, bring this up and don't let it die.

    Apathy cannot win this fight!

  68. Harper did it once before and got away with it. So really… why wouldn't he do it again?

    Canadians get what they voted (or allowed into power by not voting) for.

  69. It is up the the media to hold this government to account now. This autocratic government has effectivly shut down the opposition and our system of government.

    I half suspect the media to roll over by tomorrow morning and start rolling out the apologists for Stephen Harper.

    • "This autocratic government has effectivly shut down the opposition and our system of government."

      That would be the same opposition which can defeat the minority government any day they wish and force an election?? The same opposition which tried an end run a year ago a month after a national election? The one with a leader who was APPOINTED by his party's brain trust as a slam dunk winner in the spring election anticipated last year? Be grateful for what we have, we could be paying three bucks a litre for gas and have our heating/cooling bills tripled and every item we consume that comes by truck, rail, sea or air up by 20%.

      I think we should all be buying the adults running our nation an extra large double double.

    • "Shut down our system of government."

      Here comes the broken record. Read on to learn of the Canadian system of government.

      Article Five "Annual Sitting of Legislative Bodies," within the "Democratic Rights" section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982: There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.

      If we don't like it, there is an amending formula…

  70. "Later, when Harper introduces legislation to elect Senators to eight year terms, the Opps can congratulate themselves for forcing Harper to heed their cries for more democracy !"

    Will that be before or after several provinces challenge this legislation as being unconstitutional, and we watch it wield its weary way through the court system.

  71. I like the Texas legislature. Sit for 140 days every two years. Who needs politicians in the capital harping at each other all the time? The less time they spend legislating, the less damage they do.
    John A. MacDonald prorogued parliament to stop a parliamentary committee's investigation of him. So the practice goes back a ways in Canadian history.

    • Good. So Harper will go down in history as the second conservative prime minister who abused the reins of power in order to avoid being held accountable.

      At least he will be in the history books.

      • Ah Texas…that bastion of democracy.

  72. Matt Damon.

  73. Those who defend the Conservatives in this case can say whatever they like, but the facts in this case speak for themselves. If you are upset by this, don't waste your time arguing with partisans. Call or e-mail your Member of Parliament, and tell him or her that you expect a vote of non-confidence at the earliest possible opportunity. Encourage others to do the same thing.

    The Prime Minister and his supporters cannot be bothered with trifling institutions like Parliament, the Senate, the Military Police Complaints Commission and the Supreme Court of Canada. An election is only check left for those who oppose the government.

    The Conservatives are counting on public indifference. If we think they are a threat to our democracy, we'd better remind them what democracy looks like. The campaign starts today.

    • "The Prime Minister and his supporters cannot be bothered with trifling institutions like the Supreme Court of Canada."

      So explain to me why this government has referred the question of the constitutionality of a National Securities Commission to . . . ummm . . . The Supreme Court of Canada.

      • And yet, for some reason, does not want to refer its so-called Senate "reform" legislation to the same body – despite the fact that several provinces contest its constitutionality.

        But I guess that has a lot more to do with the fact Harper needs the Senate as a cash cow for his fundraising efforts, so watch him drag that one out for years.

  74. "When promises are broke
    And parliament's missing the joke
    You can always close – Prorogue!
    If you've got committees
    Making noise and getting sniffy
    There's no better time – Prorogue!

    Just listen to the talking points echo on Chas. Adler
    Linger on that Liberals did it -is it any badder?
    How can you lose?

    The truth is no problem then
    Forget about Geneva and do photo ops again and again
    and go
    Prorogue! Things'll be better when you
    Prorogue! You're not accountable if you
    Prorogue! The GG's waiting for you….

    Why hang around
    when Fox News ain't on the ground
    and Olympic hockey's on? Prorogue!
    The budget's blown and Obama won't phone
    So tell the media where to go – Prorogue!

    No one's accountable if no one's there
    To watch you
    Just act like nothing's wrong while Jimbo fumbles with his new shoes
    What are they gonna do?

    Those bills will just wait for you then,
    Election promises cancelled by king's pen
    Prorogue! Things'll be great when you
    Prorogue! You're not accountable
    Prorogue! The GG's waiting for you…."

    Waiting for Jack's superior offering…
    That's to Downtown…

  75. There's nothing better than the smell of Liberal hypocrisy in the morning.

    The spittle-flecked protestations, mournful wailing and pitiful footstamping frenzies of foolishness are indeed a sight to behold.

    AHHH. Life is good.

  76. This was rumoured last week. As soon as Ignatieff confirmed the Liberals would not cause an election in 2010, the Conservatives moved. The only down-side to prorogation was the claim that Conservatives were avoiding an election.

    Harper is doing Ignatieff a favour. Ignatieff cannot control his Liberal senators, increasing the impression that Ignatieff is "not a leader." Now the Conservatives will take control of the Senate and its committees, and caucus discipline will be restored.

    Ignatieff can now concentrate on the lead-up to his March thinkers conference without having to sustain the "outrage-horror-threat to democracy itself" scandal-of-the day approach in the House of Commons. He needs to ease Dosanjh and Goodale out and start recruiting some star candidates for the 2011 or 2012 election as well as a come up with a platform, if the Liberal party is ever to make a comeback.

    The other shoe hasn't dropped yet. The PM hasn't named the new senators yet. That should be interesting.

    I expect the Throne Speech will include a plan for Senate reform.

    Harper continues to show that his focus is on governing, not politicking.

    • hmmm … after thinking about your post .. you might just be right! He is doing Iggy a favour here although the real heat on Iggy will be supporting the throne speech or not – after all it is the next confidence motion after mar. 03 now!

    • "Harper continues to show that his focus is on governing, not politicking"

      Watch out, you may have exceeded your allotment of irony per post for one day.

  77. There are days I worry for this country. After reading the steaming pile of excuses given by Conservative supporters for this most undemocratic of actions, an action the Conservative opposition would have fumed over, today is one of those days.

    Some day I hope we mature enough as a country and citizenry to actually have a functioning democracy in this country that recognizes not only the rights and powers, but the responsibilities of those who are elected to govern.

  78. On one occassion, Chretien prorogued having a very comfortable majority, only a couple of weeks after Stockwell Day became the leader of the Cdn Alliance (before the Conservative Party existed), laughing and cajoling with the wide eyed Ottawa press gallery, that it was better to crush a bug before it learns to walk. Barney the dino laughs shared all around.

    He may have justifiably crushed Day in any event, but now honestly, was he criticized much at all for taking unnecessary advantage of his position of power to immediately pummel a new leader?

    He had no qualms about proroguing after 1.5, 2, 2.5 or 3 years into a majority mandate. Timing indeed is everything. Had Harper done something similar to Ignatieff shortly after beginning as the new leader, you all would see that as fair game eh? No complaints eh?

    Prorogue?
    $50 Billion of stimulus spent or earmarked in 09.
    A new budget is necessary to enact phase two where the solutions to the over spending must be revealed. Then probably an election. Ignatieff will be a veteran of the HoC and a worthy challenger. Harper will have his shot at governing further, or not.
    All the detainee and wafer-gate and logo-gate and bodybag fiascos can be addresses by we little Canadians. I´m looking forward to the next national poll. Be careful what you wish for.

    • The first part of your post has been thouroughly debunked above. You might want to read some of the comments before you post.

      As for the second part, may I ask why Harper had Parliament and its committees spend months on several "important" bills, if he was planning to prorogue and kill them all before they were passed? Why bother with all that time and effort if he felt we "need" a prorogation for the new budget (we don't need a prorogation for a new budget, by the way).

      How much do you want to bet the new throne speech will be full of promises to introduce the same legislation that has already been introduced this time.

      Aren't you glad we are paying these people?

    • He was criticized plenty by me. You can look it up.

  79. Lib'rals are Red,
    Budgets are Blue,
    Lib'rals are Dead,
    Whatever they do.

  80. I'm beginning to feel that a Harper "Mein Kampf" will soon be pushed to popularity.

    I'm a technical, not political person. Technical activities require an ability to see at least the more obvious correlations between cause and effect. Having watched this prime minister and this government for the past couple of years, I can't help but see cause and effect correlations that bear a similarity to pre-dictatorial governments or proto-goverments from the past century. The actions of this government show it to be wholly unwilling to accept the fact that it is a minority government within a parliamentary system. Even though it's been beaten to death that minority governments are such for valid democratic reasons, repetition does not negate validity. While the Harper's actions are undoubtedly smart politics, they strongly suggest that the man has an underlying philosophy that holds the democratic process in contempt. He appears to have surrounded himself with like-minded individuals within his cabinet. It's bad enough that, due to the imperfect nature of parliamentary and republican forms of government, our elections produce a diluted oligarchy rather than a true democracy. It is even worse and potential fatal for Canadian democracy/oligarchy that the actions of this government are becoming truly anti-democratic with an ever-thinner veneer of democratic legitimacy.

    I don't have any experience in this arena – how can we make my and others' protests more apparent to parliament?

  81. Question: In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time?

    = = =

    Dannystan.

    Oh, wait: your question was restricted to democracies.

  82. Harper me fait beaucoup peur.

  83. Thanks for blogging on this Andrew. I admire your commitment to the ideals of a functioning democracy and how you always seemed genuinely astonished on At Issue when the government makes completely reprehensible moves like this. I'm excited by your suggestion that parliamentarians show up anyway. Is any such move afoot?

  84. The notion that Conservatives are better or worse than Liberals is ludicrous. Both parties are stuffed to the gunnels with petulant, partisan pukemonkey cowards.

  85. Meanwhile, our economy continues down the toilet, thousands are running out of EI with no new jobs in sight and the deficit continues to grow. Proroguing parliament two times within a year during the worst recession in decades doesn't appear to be the actions of a man worried about Canadians or Canada.

    • I agree, Casey…you nail the salient points very nicely.
      Harper is all about self interest, all the while ignoring the issues that ought to concern ALL Canadians…not just those among us who are currently in rough straits due to this terrible world-wide recession! The replies I've read from those in favour of Harper's undemocratic machinations are the same moronic, partisan hacks who would continue to stand behind Harper…even if he declared Canada, henceforth, a One-Party-System state. Heil Harper!
      Fact is…Proportional Representation is, by far, MUCH MORE democratic. Start making sense Canada…make our democracy MORE democratic…not less. EXAMPLE: How do you reconcile that the Canadian Green Party got nearly a million votes in the last election, and yet our current system does not assign even one single seat in parliament to function as the voice of this large segment of our population!?

  86. I suspect the upcoming March 2010 Budget will include the elimination of the $1.95(or whatever it is) subsidy per vote as a matter of belt tightening for politicians … and then the gored Opposition can vote no confidence and precipitate an election over that poison pill issue together with their caring for the Taliban over and above our soldiers.

    However, the fly in the ointment might be Duceppe's BQ, who really don't need the subsidy for their frugal provincial campaign … just go along with the next Budget and neuter the Libs and Dips who pose more of a threat to him in Quebec than do the Conservatives.

    If the gov't doesn't fall on the next Budget, then it's probable that Iggy will abdicate and leave Canada with the woman he loves … leaving the near-defunct Liberal party to the likes of JustinT … the choice of the college crowd.

    • "…their caring for the Taliban over and above our soldiers." You are turgid with BS. It is because we DO CARE about our soldiers and what they stand for that we an investigation into how they were ordered to turn over detainees knowing they'd be tortured. Wanting our professional, dedicated troops to be ordered to follow the Geneva conventions is NOT the same thing as supporting the Taliban and you know it. That little rhetorical trick is dead on arrival Observant.

  87. Ireland's Dail take holiday''s all year round; Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall!

  88. "In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time?"

    Alberta, though calling it a democracy is probably stretching.

    • HA HA Gayle!
      You're so very clever.
      But tell us, did you perhaps slap down five bucks to buy a PC membership so as to vote for Fast Eddie?
      How is that not democracy? Or am I mistaking you for some one else?

      • I have never been a member of any political party, though the election of the PC leader in Alberta is the closest thing we have to actual democracy in this province.

        The Legislature sits for 6 weeks twice a year. Harper is only following in the footsteps of Ralph Klein. Does Rod Love work for the PMO now?

        • Can't stop the "cleverness" eh Gayle?
          Wasn't their a general election that voted in Eddie and his band of pinko PC's, or was that all a bad nightmare?
          Believe it or not Gayle, democracy doesn't "exist" or "not exist" depending on the result you want.
          Now, I'll try this again. Did you or did you not vote in the Alberta PC leadership race?

          • I will make this easier for you. Despite the fact it is irrelevant and none of your business anyway, the fact that I have never been a member of a political party means I never bought a membership to the PCs, which means I could not possibly have voted in the leadership race.

            Sorry for being too subtle on that point.

            As for the rest, I stand by my comment. I have no doubt there are people who understand what I mean, despite your willful ignorance on the subject.

            You take care now. I am heading to the mountains for NYE.

          • Now Gayle, you know as well as I do that “people” agreeing on something dosen't make it true. That totally lacks in logic or common sense.

            As I said before, democracy doesn't exist or not exist because the outcome isn't what was wanted by the leftist crew. Is it any wonder why the leftist are rejected in Alberta! We're just not that dense.

            “Willful Ignorance” indeed!

  89. Good Grief! What a vapid display of self centered poutiness. You Toronto journalinista’s are all the same aren’t you!

    I sure hope you’re not going to go and have a fainting spell on us Coyne.! Actually I was just kidding. Please do! Don’t worry, I’ll catch your fall…THUD…. HA HA, just kidding again.

    Tell me something Coyne. Is their a difference between “shutting Parliament down” and “proroguing parliament”? Don’t bother answering that, I’ll do it myself. Parliament isn’t being shut down, and you know it. It says, right there, before your very own eyes. It says: “Parliament will be prorogued for a two month break”. Now tell me, how does “shutting down Parliament” and “democracy spiraling down the drain” in any way, shape or form, be considered to be on par to a “two month break”?

    The answer is YOU CAN’T. I hate to be the one who has to inform you that the spiraling sound you hear isn’t democracy going down the drain. It’s something else. I’ll let you try to figure that one out for yourself.

  90. The economy will likely benefit from Paliamentarians not being able to muck about with it for the next 2 months. Look on the bright side of that, Coyne.

  91. 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.

  92. Interesting how Conservative supporters are OK with the government simply deciding it doesn't want to come to work to do its elected job — so it won't, and justify such acts because the Liberal party committed the same errs previously. Didn't mommy ever tell these people two wrongs don't make a right?

    Partisan politics is ridiculous in any event. This simply verifies that fact.

  93. Oh, for crying out loud …

    Chretien's prorogues were done with a MAJORITY. Harper has a minority, and so must answer to that MAJORITY. That's the difference. Using prorogue to avoid answering to the parliamentary majority, especially when it means the possible defeat of your government or undermining an investigation into possible malfeasance by your government, is something Chretien never once touched. With a majority, he had the parliamentary will, he wasn't defying it. Get it?

    Yes, he prorogued for political reasons. No, his government's future didn't hang on any of those prorogues.

    As for this notion that once the CPC have a majority in the Senate all those senate reform bills will pass … boy, I can't believe they let you guys into politics when you have such a poor grasp of your own parliament and constitution. Lifetime senate terms are written directly into the constitutional documents, as is the GG's power to appoint them. You are not simply going to pass a bill and change that. We have an amending formula for the constitution and if you ignore that, every last one of those bills will die in the courts. When it happens, will you shift the blame to the "activist judges" from the "activist senators" or will you finally grow up and realize your own party leader has been playing you for fools, pinning the blame for his unconstitutional legislation's failure on the opposition parties?

  94. If you want to see what the real agenda of the current government is, go to this link, of the National Citizen's Coalition. This is their Agenda for Canada. You have to go further down the page and click on the agenda link as it is a pdf file. Our current King was president of this secretive right-wing group. The agenda has been updated, is amazingly full of inaccuracies and outright lies, and is not the Canada I want.

    https://nationalcitizens.ca/cgi-bin/oms.cgi?rm=sh

  95. Let's face up to it. The P.M. is a pathetic figure, hungering for political power. Nothing to do with running the affairs of Canada. The old story of taking his bat and ball home because he's not winning.

  96. I also wonder about our so-called "democracy", but more about the work ethic of our government. After an election in Great Britain, The House of Commons typically meets the NEXT DAY to begin the new session, not three or four months down the road. It is as if the Brits understand that they were elected to actually run the country, not sit down with their winning colleagues to figure out what they might be able to get away with and what they can conveniently shuffle into a corner until action is absollutely required.
    In the USA, the House and Senate both worked until close to Christmas Eve to try to pass legislation. And they don't take great long breaks from their jobs, either. Granted, many of their laws are so convoluted and subject to so much jerrymandering and lobbying that these things create massive bottlenecks, but they work through them, rather than proroguing the assemblies and waiting for the legislatures to expire.
    I was once a supporter of Harper, because I was tired of the Liberal system of rewarding only the jurisdictions who voted their way. But even that was better than a government that doesn't want to sit at all, and would rather make policy from the Tory backrooms and present them as decrees with no debate. Isn't this what the French revolted against in 1789?

  97. Hooray For the Primeminister!! Its about time he stood up to the immature "children" that are called the "opposition". Has anyone including Mr. Coyne heard of the Olympics. Canadians are focusing on them, not the rowdy bunch who talk about nothing and keep trying to stop any form of parliamentary business from taking place. Enough said!

    • Let's see, after the Olympics, maybe Parliament should be prorogued because the G8/G20 will be coming up. Then, it'll be summer so Parliament obviously shouldn't sit since Canadians will be focused on that. I'm sure next fall Parliament could be suspended because there must be something coming up that will distract the public from the business of government… why don't we just forget about having a legislature altogether?

  98. Atleast it will stop the MP'S from drafting more laws as they try to do what is called for the better good of us all. Or in other words Socialism.

  99. I'm sure in all this pile of comments someone has pointed out the fact that we are talking about 15 days, right?

    Let's have some truth and perspective here, Mr. Coyne.

  100. Parliament was to reconvene on Jan 25 , now a new budget will be presented on Mar 3. How that translates into " Parliament being suspended for months" is not what I expected when I subscribed to McLeans because Andrew Coyne moved there. Andrew's newly acquired "righteous indignation" is so sadly shallow and vacuous compared to his previous life at the National Post. Thank Allah for Mark Steyn and Feschuk because McLeans is not anxious to offer refunds on subscriptions.

    • Most Canadians dream of getting six weeks off, with full pay, for a holiday each year. The partisan excuses for Harper shunning his duty to Canadians are, as usual, laughable. But the partisan population is pretty stupid on the whole so it isn't exactly a surprise.

  101. Andrew Coyne has called it like it is and I agree completely with his comments. Hopefully, Canadians will realize that Stephen Harper will do ANYTHING to hold on to power. The least of his concerns are the people of Canada who are struggling to make ends meet and expect our politicians to do the job they get paid to do. Our Governor General should not give in to Harper's every whim unless of course she is angling to get re-appointed to her "Royal" job.

  102. This is offensive and shameful. I do not understand how we let them get away with this. I did not vote for Mr. Harper and his ilk but my family and I suffer the actions of this dictatorship. No where else does any other employed people get a two month break. Do our taxes not pay their salaries? All Canadians should demand a tax rebate for those two months when nothing is getting done by our so called Democratic Government.

  103. Harper is an Oil Company Shah, and anyone who might actually provide Opposition is barred from play.
    "Revolt, you thick-skulled idiots" – Fritz the Cat

  104. I'm really surprised at this kind of thinking coming from a person who seemed to display real intelligence as Andrew Coyne usually did. Imagine using words such as dictator, tyrant, King, Hitler etc. to describe Prime Minister Harper. The whole lot of the people making responses here appear to be totally misguided or ignorant of the facts or just brainwashed by their Liberal loyalties. I have watched question period before and it is so irrational nothing getts accomplished on any day. Children from the schools can't believe grow people can display such behaviour. It's a waste of time. Get out into the peace and quiet of their regions and get something worthwhile done. I watched that committee set up to deal with the Afghan detainee situation and it was a Liberal feeding frenzy to try to get something on this Government. A committee as partisan as this one should never have been allowed. Senator George Baker was being interviewed by Tom Clark about the legislation being passed and he was absolutely disgusting in his own contempt for his leader (Ignatieff) and the House of Commons.

  105. So why did Harper Prorogue?
    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that. It only takes someone with minimal skils of observation and a few hours of viewing parliament in session during Question Period. It was like watching a preview of ' The Snake Pit'. Even if there was a question instead of an accusation the answer would never have been heard nor was it expected. The partisan committee for studying the Afghan Detainee situation had one purpose and that was to get the Government regardless of the cost to the generals or diplomats that were being interrogated.. It was a disgusting display of partisanship. Many of the liberal senators had chosen to defy their leader and the House of Commons and not put through legislation except on their own terms.

  106. Harper has done and is continuing to do his job. He is not the only Prime Minister to prorogue parliament nor will he be the last. It's just a time out to cool all the hot heads. It's not for 3 months as some of the tyrannts wish to make you believe but about 22 days all told. Who is the liar, the tyrannt, Hitler, the dictator? The accusers are usually the most often the people to be afraid of. It's almost an impossibility to govern in an atmosphere such as is created by the opposition in this parliament. I fear the rabble rousers and the ignorance of the masses far more than Harper. I think he is doing a great job under very strenuous circumstances in dealing with the arrogance of the media and the irrational behaviour of the opposition in their quest for power.

  107. Canadian Democracy spiralling further down the drain, Autocratic bully, Hidden agenda!! Are we in some kind of story of intrigue or espionage story about Prime Minister Harper? Really Andrew I gave you more credit than this. You of all people should be able to see some reason or rational in what Harper is doing and has very little choice in following this direction. Just look at the new Liberal bullying adds coming out. How about the add in which Harper was being assassinated? There was no hue and cry over that one. MacLeans magazine is definitely lowering its standards of late when I think of that stupid drivle you attempted last week in an attempt at humour. Harper is an honest man, a good Canadian and hopefully is not swayed by this disgusting display by some of the media and the liberals. The journalists should all try to be as objective as Bob Fife. He speaks his mind. Does not always approve of the Prime Minister but he is just.

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