83 days to be precise


The Prime Minister explains why his government won’t return to the House until March.

“The fact of the matter is this,” the Prime Minister continued, “the government is going to take advantage of this time – we need the time – to look carefully at our agenda, to continue to deliver the economic measures that are being delivered here and elsewhere across there country as part of the economic action plan. We also need time to re-examine our agenda, to prepare for the next year in Parliament, and to prepare for a very different economy going forward.”


83 days to be precise

  1. Get ready for another 80 some days of Harper's tap dancing.

  2. The Prime Minister is undoubtedly very disappointed in us.

  3. What an incredibly lame excuse.

    We need the time to continue delivering what we have been delivering? What was he doing most of December and planning to do until January 25? Obviously, not looking at his agenda from the sounds of it!

  4. Because up till now they've been winging it?

    That explains a lot.

  5. to prepare for a very different economy going forward.

    Why is the economy going to be so different going forward? Harper suddenly embracing Marxism or something?

  6. we need the time – to look carefully at our agenda….. yet Canadians prefer if they carry on the business of Parliament

    I can't remember…. who was it that said

    Do you think it's easy to make priorities?

  7. No, because Harper was in last year, so there isn't a Liberal surplus to blow this time.

  8. He's trying to swipe Ignatieff's 'jobs of the future' stance for the Knowledge Economy. Something Harper has never paid attention to before.

    • I would be OK with Harper swiping any good ideas from wherever he can swipe them.

  9. I mean, admitted, it took you almost a generation in opposition to come up with five priorities, but we had hoped you might have started to move faster once actually elected.

    Do you think its easy to make priorities?

  10. Good point! You actually have to think about what you're doing, and then go from there, instead of relying on ideology.

  11. The Economist got it right : The Conservatives are like that American president who could not walk and chew gum at the same time.

  12. Does anyone actually buy this argument? It’s an admission of incapability to multitask. He is claiming that our government can’t plan an agenda or assemble a budget and manage the House at the same time. Either that, of course, or he’s lying about his motivation.

    • I think the fact that he has received so little support among conservatives – the strongest thing in favour has been "it doesn't matter because it won't move votes" – is your answer.

  13. But could that American president sing and smear?

  14. Not mutually exclusive…he could be lying about his motivation AND be incapable of multitasking as well.

  15. The other weak jusification is to point at the opposition and claim that "they" weren't behaving responsibly and therefore have brought this suspension of parliament upon themselves. Watch for examples of it, you'll see lots of them.

  16. The interesting thing is how caught off guard they seem by all of this. Their caucus communications is all over the place. Harper is talking about something different every day. Its like their entire office is in chaos.

  17. Harper must be praying for a big news event to take the heat off about now. Wonder if their digging for something on an opposition member, or about to leak something.

  18. "…and to prepare for a very different economy going forward.”

    Did someone forget to show him the job numbers?

  19. Its significant that noone is spouting talking points on here yet.

  20. Well, except for cutting the funding to the Canadian Council on Learning.

  21. Maybe they need to 'trial balloon' said points in comfortable surroundings.

  22. and all that while every local news outlet is looking to speak to the local MP.

  23. Nobody seems to be talking about detainee's, torture, etc
    If that was the point of prorogue than it's certainly been successfull. A welcome pause, that our soldiers probably appreciate.
    It's been damaging for sure but will be forgotten with the budget, and Olympics, me thinks.

  24. Perhaps they've realized that "talking it down" is actually having the opposite effect. There is no plausible justification for simply tossing out six months worth of work. and untold millions of dollars in expense, out of nothing more than pure cowardice.

    I think they've decided to batten down the hatches and will now just try to ride out the storm.

  25. I don't think that will go away so easily. There's still an order to produce the documents and I think that has to be addressed even before a vote on the speech from the throne.
    I'm sure there's a proceedural expert here that can confirm. Anyone?

  26. I dunno. The prorogation move is so extreme, and so damaging, that if I were the Opposition parties I'd conclude it would be worthwhile renewing the detainee offensive in the Spring. A desperate attempt to cover something up is the only plausible explanation for this schmozzle, so it must be quite a something; which fits with the strangeness of the Government's not simply admitting its mistake on the file when the news broke. I think the whole business is deeply regrettable but ought to be pursued: it's wearing a "pursue me" sign.

  27. A welcome pause, that our soldiers probably appreciate.

    The soldiers I know appreciate being left out of political bullsh!t altogether. I have a special contempt for political cowards who try to shelter behind the soldier's well-deserved reputation for professionalism.

  28. I wonder if the person who came up with that brilliant "we need the time" line is aware that in 1873, at the height of the Pacific Scandal, Sir John A. MacDonald asked the Governor General to prorogue the House so that he could have the time to prepare his defence before the House moved a non-confidence motion against him.

  29. And how is Parliament sitting preventing that? what a ridiculous unfounded answer.

  30. Exactly my thought. Usually with 33 comments, about 22 of them are busy accusing Wherry of Liberal shilling. Interesting.

  31. I agree. Early on, I thought that this wasn't a case of complicity in the sense that, eg, some intentional behaviour of CSIS agents and DFAIT representatives (and of course their political masters) has been (which also has still to be explored), but now I'm not so sure. The stonewalling, the lying, and the smearing were so transparent and so extreme that you have to think there's more to cover up than a delayed and fumbling response to a difficult situation. They could have handled it relatively easily, but they just kept tossing more fuel on the fire.

    And now they are also in contempt of Parliament. I'm not a constitutional expert, but I think that David M is right — that resolution can't be brushed aside by prorogation.

  32. ROFL : I have not had so much fun reading forums in the longest time! Way to go Stevie boy … watching Iggy stumble around hmmmm errrr of course we will show up for work BUT god forbid we stand up and actually vote against the throne speech = what a maroon! I wonder as obviously Harper is giving away some points but at what point will the all those frustrated left wing nuts out there start to deamand he VOTE against the Throne Speech! because that's the rub isn't it folks? I love canadian politics. Of course every one well almost everyone but even us Con's are against the anything to do with giving politicians more perks BUT were one to have a poll that asked are you agaisnt Harper and therefore want to go the POLLS – how much you wanna bet everyone wants to complain but no one wants an election well almost no one .. we shall see if Harper loses a few more points and Iggy somehow can actually gain more than one maybe Iggy will wstart hmm'ing and errrring again

  33. When Ignatieff made the mistake of putting Harper on parole Harper ran with the ball to good effect. Now that Harper's returned the favour let's see what MI can do with the ball…run Michael run…that means take advantage of this…"ACT.. LEAD". I know it's not as much fun as spending money…but defending parliament is a noble thing…should be right up you alley? Well Donolo's anyway!'

  34. Ah yes, the "My way or the highway" approach. The idea of taking responsibility or reasonable compromise really is that foreign to you, isn't it?

    So, let's say we go to an election. Let's say conservatives win. Even a majority. Does that in any way excuse this? Does it in any way excuse our government leaving our soldiers with the choice of disobeying orders or committing war-crimes?

  35. I'm inclined to see this as simply more of the same from this PM and the PMO: that is contempt for his opposition (at least sometimes well derserved); contempt for the GG; contempt for the voter; and frankly just plain ballsy confidence that they – especially after the proroguement (?) was so successful last year — can get away with this again.

    There may be more to the "torture" files than we now know, but I'm not sure the CPC behaviour is all that different from such things as their preemptive attacks, stupid games with tough on crime legislation perpetually proposed and never passed, Senate gamesmanship, smears of NGOs etc., etc.

    It all feels like standard CPC MO.

  36. The British PM does not need the time. He's back in parliament.

    Obama is back in the White House. The US Congress is back to work.

    The European parliaments are back.

    And yet, Harper needs three months to cogitate.

    Conclusion: he is incompetent.

  37. Isn't this where I came in? I mean, is this a Dallas episode, and I'll wake up to find the last decade was all a bad dream?

  38. Okay I remember this from KOM's blog.


    What PMO doesn't mention is that Standing Order 40 states that prorogation "shall not have the effect of nullifying an Order or Address of the House for returns or papers, but all papers and returns ordered at one session of the House, if not complied with during the session, shall be brought down during the following session, without renewal of the Order." Which means that, notwithstanding the Wall Street Journal's otherwise accurate summary, the order to produce those uncensored detainee-related documents has not been "killed," but remains very much alive until Parliament is dissolved for a general election.

    Sorry I'm not blog savvy enough to properly post links. Perhaps there's a tutorial.

  39. Yeah, but he was drunk at the time and kept knocking over the inkwell.

  40. The inkwell had it coming, and come on it was the 70's if you weren't drunk you were hungover.

  41. Funny.. governments always used to be able to govern and plan at the same time. Why is yours so incompetent?

  42. Thats what happens when every Conservative MP is at home in their own riding, and not in Ottawa where the PMO and Harper can put their thumb down on them all in one room.

  43. Thanks! I knew I'd read that somewhere. Which still doesn't answer whether a point of privilege can come before the vote on the throne speech, but we're making progress.

    I have never found a tutorial, but I believe you can just copy and paste a link and when you "submit comment" it will come up as a link. I don't know how to post a link as a word, though. Anybody?

  44. Perhaps they've realized that "talking it down" is actually having the opposite effect. There is no plausible justification for simply tossing out six months worth of work. and untold millions of dollars in expense, out of nothing more than pure cowardice.

    I think they've decided to batten down the hatches and will now just try to ride out the storm.

  45. Wherry — how on earth did the Tories ever get their previous budgets out the door?? The House wasn't prorogued and they managed to find the time. Far as I can tell this has never been an issue before. House is almost always in session leading up to the release of a budget.

  46. agreed Clare. in addition to caucus comms being scattered so was PMO. dimitri and the PM have given multiple reasons as 'the resaon' for the decision too. i wonder if they got some bad polling based advice.

  47. I've been trying to get info on this, as well.Nobody here seems to know the exact timing of events (or they haven't responded) and I just don't know how to access the information myself. But as I see it, there's the Throne Speech, then the election of a Speaker, then someone can stand on a point of privilege. As I understand it, points of privilege must be dealt with immediately, before any other business (such as vote on Throne Speech) so either MacKay and/or Harper can be voted in contempt before it even gets to a non-confidence motion.

    But I don't know how to confirm my thinking.

  48. Conclusion : He has something big to hide (besides the actual announcement he already hid on Friday the WJHC gold medal day, and 4 soldiers and engaged journalist tragedy day) Actually, I dont want to believe Harper knew about the soldiers and journalists demise when he prorogued. The news from Afghanistan was here after the prorogie brunch, but did he already know? Uggh

  49. From the column…"He will start his new job in the PMO on Monday, serving as the director of issues management, a powerful behind-the-scenes position handling the government's political response to the most challenging issues of the day."

    Other parts of the column suggest that Mr Stairs has some serious capabilities. Too bad there isn't a way that we could hire him to actually handle the most challenging issues of the day; instead he gets to handle the government's political response to the most challenging issues of the day.

  50. Thanks!

  51. The idea that MP's have any role in pondering the budget is easily the funniest thing about this.

  52. Harper wants to talk about prioritising cuts to programs to address the deficit….his government just wasted tax payer dollars (millions) for two years of on salary, travel, and infrastructure – not to mention how many individuals, not-for-profits, individuals, government departments etc…money – all that money wasted by him when he prorogued twice and the Bills were sent back to square one. But he wants US to tighten OUR belts??? Excuuuuuse me?

  53. Sadly, your link included double / every time, but I found what you were looking at. How did you know to look at the Standing Orders? Good one!

    So, once the Speaker is chosen, someone can give a page the written question on a point of privilege, and an hour later take it up? Hmmm, so could there be a vote on the Throne Speech in that meantime?

  54. It doesn't open properly? I tested it several times without issue…oh well.

    It would seem that with the selection of the Speaker out of the way and the delivery of the written question, the point of privilege could take precedent. There is time allocated to debate the Throne Speech, up to 6 days – 50.(1)

    Let me try that again

  55. Hmm, maybe it was just me, then. It certainly worked this time.

    Okay then, I guess one hour to hold the debate and the vote is not going to be enough time. This is very good to know. Thanks very much!

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