Zap, you're frozen -

Zap, you’re frozen


Colleague Wherry has been faithfully documenting some of the lamer justifications Tory MPs have been offering for their government’s decision to shutter Parliament for two months rather than obey Parliament’s demand to surrender the Afghan-prisoner documents: we need the time away from Parliament to come up with an economic plan; we can be just as productive working in our constituencies; and — my personal favourite — let’s all watch the Olympics!

This last is so mind-numbingly stupid, so staggeringly beside the point, that I can only assume it is part of some sort of fiendish plot. I think it is intended to act as a kind of electromagnetic pulse, aimed at knocking out the entire country’s brain waves and making it impossible for anyone to think straight. It is not just totally devoid of sense: it is an assault on the very concept of sense — like that old joke about the surrealists. (How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb? A fish.) It is as if the Conservatives were bent on proroguing, not just Parliament, but intelligent discussion of any kind.


Zap, you’re frozen

  1. The brain-scrambling electromagnetic pulse was actually part of their campaign platform document, but no one noticed it because of all the pretty pictures in there.

  2. The only surprise is that you are the first and only journalist to have understood this tactic by the Harper Conservatives.

  3. Of course they are, Andrew. After all, intelligent discussion requires both intelligence and discussion, and Harper supporters are increasingly demonstrating that they want none of either, and would be far happier if the rest of Canada just went away.

    • It's not (a decision) that anyone really has the ability to question,'


      • You can question it and discuss it until the cows come home but there is no way to reverse it. Wouldn't it be better to focus on something that we have control over. Its much adieu about nothing. Something for the media to waste their time on and of course the opposition parties have something to talk about. However, wasting all the ink and bandwith will not change the situation one iota.

  4. i think both AC and Susan Delacourt were excellent on this last night on At Issue: this is about the Afghan detainee investigation, period. there can be no other sensible explanation.

    which leads one to ponder why they want to disrupt it so badly?

    [polldaddy 2489460 polldaddy]

  5. Love it.

    Nefariously, the electromagnetic pulse will kill two birds with one stone: not only will it zap everyone's brains, but it could wipe out Canada's interweb and thus silence all the nasty columnists, bloggers, and twitterazzi who are the only ones who care about this issue (or Afghan detainees, or anything not the Conservatives' next spending announcement).

  6. Intelligent discussion requires two parties. Flip a coin. Pick 'em.
    Andrew is starting to sound like a certain male writer at The Star. Sorry Andrew but I call 'em like I see 'em.
    Have a great Olympics.

  7. "concentrate without all the noise from Parliament" Oh boy! I didn't know things could go beyond the obsurd, but evidently – they can.

  8. Harper’s government, and I would also suggest Canada, has a lot to gain by this 1 prorogation (of a 100+).

    1) This is a normal Parliamentry occurance. Happens pretty much every year. Happened last year, and kept the country from Civil War, happened this year, and happened again this year too.
    2) Parliamentarians, like Ignatieff has just stated, have been revving up the slanders and bashings to a shrill that Canadians find unproductive.
    3) This detainee issue, if it dies now, because of a simple pause in a year, means it’s unimportant anyways. Who cares if Afghans tortured Afghans. That’s why we’re getting out of Afghanistan, right? We don’t care. It’s not working.
    4) So we let Harper control the country’s finances per se, but we don’t let him control when he sits or stands? Come on. Get off it already. The world will be at our doorstep. That puts a lot of pressure on an introvert like Harper.
    5) It leaves fellows like Coyne with nothing else to talk about for 2 months. Great!

    Lot’s of good reasons to prorogue. Keep it up Honourable Prime Minister! Keep these folks at Macleans hoppin’ mad.

    • I agrre with you GFU!!!!

    • And the G8 meeting, and the G20 meeting and the April 2010 election… bet Harper is busy.

      • I guess Iffy burst your bubble yesterday when he said no election. Now what will you do. Burn your panties.

    • He really does get by with a little help from his friends, doesn't he?

  9. Andrew .. why weren't you screaming about the absence of the opposition leaders during the last 2 weeks of media-generated crisis??? Will you and your MSM colleagues now be attacking Iggy and Jacko for their neglect while vacationing in France and Belize … leaving you and your MSM assassins to do your anti-gov't thing ….???!!!!

    • Well, here's a perfect example of partisan stupidity if I ever heard it. My goodness, MP's actually took a vacation with their families over Xmas and Harper didn't confirm the prorogation until New Years Eve (he also took an Xmas vacation).

      Now, the Con supporters feel that Iggy and Layton need their approval and permission when they decide where to vacation.


      • No one is criticizing the opposition leaders for taking a Xmas break as did the PM I suppose. However, when they talk about despotism, end of democracy blah, blah, blah it is over the top and really shows the lack of seriousness they take the issue. Then for the Libs to run a contest asking for pictures of Harper who supposedly is not working while their leader is in France and the PM is actually is in his office working. Just a tad hypocritical don't you think?

  10. I think the Conservative tactic of comparing Harper's suspension to Jean Chretien in the past is really particularly lame.

    Jean Chretien is a humourous, impish, playful old scoundrel, if you will, who could never pose much of a threat to something as grand as Parliamentary Democracy itself. Like Rene Levesque.

    But Harper? He's a creepy, scary, nasty scoundrel with a mean streak and given a majority could utter a "just watch me" that would be genuinely frightening.

  11. Is this also perhaps meant to distract citizens (or should we say the "audience") from not only the detainee issue, but Copenhagen? Is there something we are not seeing? What else has happened on their watch that is not being reported, has been under-reported, or is going on?

    Or is it all about preparing for an election?

    Perhaps the issue should not be "we need time" but WHO'S NOT READY NOW, eh?

    Remember the Conservative's "Dion's Hot Air on Kyoto"

    • Glad to see you have your tinfoil hat on. We know the government's position on the environment. We are not going to do anything that will make us uncompetitive with our major trading partner. Full stop.
      On the detainee issue. What do you want to hear? We have heard from Colvin, from the military, from the Red Cross. Oh I know the Libs are in Afghanistan trying to track down those that have been tortured so they can bring them back here to testify :-). Its a bloody circus and Canadians know it.
      We will have a new throne speech and a budget. That is democracy in action. You, your friends and the media can bitch about prorogation until the cows come home but Harper is working for the country while the rest are left three steps behind worrying about things that don't really matter in the end. Do you honestly believe the Libs if they were the government would change the rules for prorogation and tie one arm behind their backs. If you do I have some palm trees in Sask. for sale.

      • This is democracy inaction, to steal a phrase from Jon Stewart.

  12. Andrew, here's a link to a website where you can join the Liberal Party of Canada:

    You've been betrayed by morons. You know that now. Come join the 70% of Canucks that aren't pin-heads.

  13. Facebook group – I am Canadian and I care about Afgan detaines – 2268 members

    Facebook group – Canadians against Proroguing Parliament – 114,917 members

    Mark an X on an election ballot or click a mouse to join a group – Canadians are voicing their opinion – big time – huge

  14. Sorry, John W., I don't like Harper much myself but Chretien was also scum. This is the guy who gave us the sponsorship scandal (which amounted to outright grand larceny, which is far worse than anything Harper's bunch has yet done) and Shawinigate. Just for starters. Get a grip on reality.

  15. What a pile of crap from all those that think Harper is smart in proroguing Parliament!

    Parliament already has a light schedule set during the olympics. The Conservatives are off until Jan25 which is plenty of time for them to asses the economic steps to be taken to get us out of the deficit hole they have put Canadians in.

    The killing of the bills on the ordeer paper is Harper thumbing his nose at Parliament and a wasting all the time and effort and money spent and work done by all elected representatives to-date. Even those suggestions that have been made by the appointed members of the Senate, which Harper has also had a hand in giving seats to and will give more seats to in the near future (sure seems like Harper has prorogued his hot button item for an elected Senate, eh!).

    Harper is nothing more than a despot trying to dictate to Canadians and his MINORITY government is avoiding the democratic Parliamentary process by not working with the non-Conservative members elected by Canadians, you know those that are holding the MAJORITY of the seats in Parliament.

    • Just slightly over the top. How is a throne speech and budget not democratic.

  16. The P M has sure got your knickers in knots Mr Coyne.

    But let us dipense with the dishonesty if you will…The House is in fact prorogued for a mere 22 parliamentary sitting days Andrew…NOT 2 months as you sir are claiming.
    Another fact is that on March 3rd,the Opposition can re- engage the voting public to their hue and cry of an inquiry …where they left off in December ,(if they so choose), should not prove a problem for an issue as infamous as the Afghan Detainee Shoe Smack-down that actually occured at the least partly on the Liberal watch.

    Andrew…I used to be impressed with what I thought to be your journalistic integrity.
    Now all I see is a journalist 'earning' his entitled entitlements…at any cost to his integrity.
    At the least get the time frame right man!

  17. Does this mean we can finally have an end to "Harper plays chess while everyone else plays checkers," and similar comments?

    I'm no partisan by any means; I think he's done both good and bad. But the constant fawning by the media over his every move as brilliant and perfect has been off-putting, to say the least.

  18. "It is as if the Conservatives were bent on proroguing, not just Parliament, but intelligent discussion of any kind."

    That's what happens when you surround yourself with imbeciles. You lose all perspective.

    • Obviously you have been reading the comments on this board. Not too enlightening.

  19. Hmm. Wherever might he have had the idea that the quieter the caucus, the better?

  20. Gawd, like bringing down Iffy and Jack would be a challenge, not. They did that already.
    No, the media is doin' the 'we can make or break you, Harper' ……

    So predictable is the media, Harper uses the faux media outrage as part of his strategy now.
    They have an entire month to huff and puff before prorogation starts Jan 25,
    by then, the public will be ignoring anything with prorogation in the headline or first 3 paragraphs.

    Rallies at Universities slated for Jan 23…..
    I'm sure Canadians will enjoy watching school kids burn SH on a broom handle.

  21. And Chretien prorogued in 2003 so as he couldn't be held accountable for Adscam.

    • Yea and what did Gomery recommend? Nothing. Which of his stupid recommendations was ever implemented? ZERO! There was nothing dangerous going on.
      And don't bring up the guy he tried to strangle. It was only a half hearted effort.

  22. Seriously, Coyne has said repeatedly that he is not a Conservative.
    It makes him mad when someone calls him a Conservative. Please don't make Andrew mad.

    • Why? Will he write another column complaining about the PM. Too late been there, done that, bought the T shirt.

  23. Coyne liked Dion, had big big hopes for Dion and the Green Shaft.

  24. Gawd, like bringing down Iffy and Jack would be a challenge, not.

    "Not" jokes are not back. I'm serious. Stop it immediately.

  25. Wilson, Andrew referred to an EM pulse aimed at knocking out the country's brain waves and preventing anyone from thinking straight. Without meaning to patronize you, EM radiation follow an inverse square law. It means that you would likely be afffected significantly more than many of us since you presumably are closer to the source(s) of this reputed EM pulse than we are. I would ask for increased hazard pay — just a friendly suggestion. lol

  26. Well, Coyne, this has been going on for a while. And yet, this hasn't stopped you or your colleagues from declaring Harper the Brilliantest Strategist Ever.

  27. No proroguing by itself is not wrong or unusual. What is wrong are long periods without a functioning Parliament. I remember when new sessions would routinely start in September after the summer recess. Parliament would not prorogue until September and a new session would start within days. That way Parliament would be able to be recalled from it's summer recess if the public interest warranted it.

    Proroguing to start a new session is perfectly proper. Proroguing to shut down Parliament is not.

  28. That's the whole point the media have decided that since the opposition is ineffective and Canadians are not listening that they (the media)have to try to create the scandals in an effort to stop these dastardly Conservatives from winning a majority in the next election. Can you imagine the affrontery of a PM using his constitutional powers to prorogue and reset the agenda. We (the media) have to stop them. Without parliament what are we going to write. We will get laid off. Oh forget about a balanced and fair analysis lets try to wake up Canadians from their lethargy. They are hoping beyond hope that prorogation will do that. Unfortunately Harper is already two steps ahead of the media and the opposition parties. Watch for the Throne Speech and the budget folks. We will see who is in the driver's seat.

  29. have you ever heard the term false equivalence before Observant?

  30. LOL, my MP wants input from people about the economy – the same MP who spent over $87,000 on biased useless ten percenters.

  31. Parliament consists of much more than "sitting days".
    It IS 2 Months and NOT just a "mere 22 parliamentary sitting days".
    It is you Simon, that is either misinformed or is dishonest.
    (What was that old ditty about Simon? He met a Sly Man?)

    • You need to learn to count my friend. Parliament is closed for the Xmas break until January 25th. They then come back. The Olympics start on Feb.12th and go to the 28th. Parliament was scheduled to take a break for the Olympics. So that leaves 15 days extra that the House would not be sitting. Don't forget the House doesn't sit on Sat. and Sundays. Hardly the end of democracy as we know it. The media are just pissed because they have nothing to do. With the House not sitting they have little opportunity to invent faux scandals.

      • plus the 5 in January and 2 in March, though, too, right? They were scheduled for a one week break in Feb, not two. plus, of course, the "lost" days to speeches from the throne and the time it takes to create committees all over again and and and

  32. Sad part is there are many people out there who agree with the shutting for the olympics, who cares about torture in far away lands. Bread and circuses to divert the masses eh?

    • We are talking about an extra 15 days. Hardly the end of democracy. The torture accusations can go on after the Olympics. Nobody is stopping the opposition. However, what they really are worried about is that they cannot get the public exercised over old news.

      • Oh you know that the con committee members will return do you?

        The legal order of Parliament obeyed. Cooperation and document after the olympics eh?

        I think not.

        Democracy like justice delayed is democacy and accountability denied.

  33. Count again my friend. Oh it is all about the committee`s is it.

    • Why yes it is! Glad to see this finally sinking in.

    • I counted twice. 5 in the last week of January, two days in March before the throne speech. I just threw the lost committee days in as an added, no cost bonus. You're welcome.

  34. They're being held hostage by "PMO", that alien ship hovering above Parliament.

  35. Parliament back March 3……hmmm…Easter (Good Friday) is April 4th this year. How long do they get for spring break?

    Committees have to be set up again, etc. Not much is going to get done.


    • What is pathetic is people like you who are never happy. This government could discover a cure for cancer but then you would ask why did they not cure MS. It would seem to me that bringing forward a Throne speech and a budget is a good start. Is it Harper's fault that they adjourn for Easter. Come on, get real and quit letting your partisan eyes only see what they want to see. They would not be in session while the Olympics were on or if they were for the second week no real business would be done. Committees don't meet everyday.

      • Partisan? I see your comments on every article in every newspaper that has a comments section bashing, trashing bitching, moaning and groaning – LOL

        Yes, I admit I'm unhappy with the Harper government and I see no excuses for not going back to work and "that's my right" as a taxpayer and voter.

        You don't know me so you can't generalize and say I'm never happy.

        In fact, I never, ever, under any government (Lib or Con) we've had felt so worried about what a PM is doing to our country and institutions.

        Perhaps, instead of being so partisan you can't see the woods for the trees, you should be paying attention. Go for a walk or something. Seems you do nothing but put PM talking points everywhere you can.

        • Obviously if you see my comments you are probably doing the same thing I am. I have voted for several parties over the years. I vote based on what the party stands for and what their policies are. I voted for Chretien in '93 because of the Red Book promises. He broke virtually everyone of them so I moved away from the Liberal party in 1997. Adscam reinforced my dislike for the Liberal party and its poor leadership has not helped win me back.
          You definitely have the right to what you believe as do I, I might add. However, you need some perspective.
          Your comment about what a PM is doing to our country and institutions is way over the top. He has done nothing to hurt the country. I would suggest that stealing money from taxpayers and cancelling a judicial inquiry in mid process (Somalia) is far more grievous than proroguing parliament for an extra 15 days. Given the polls you are out of sync with the majority of Canadians. However, that is your right.