'If that's their excuse' - Macleans.ca

‘If that’s their excuse’


Picking one of the excuses offered so far, a former House of Commons procedural clerk explains why a two-month break isn’t necessary.

One of the Conservative government’s given reasons for proroguing was to obtain a majority on Senate committees, which can only be reconstituted by resetting Parliament. But Mr. Hall said the timing of the Prime Minister’s decision doesn’t necessarily fit with that objective.

“If they wanted to reset the Senate committees, if that’s their excuse, all they had to do was prorogue just before Parliament comes back and then start the new session a day or two later. It would have still killed all the legislation, but if their excuse was well we had to do this because of the Senate, well you don’t have to do it for two months,” he said.


‘If that’s their excuse’

  1. Yes, but now Harper's main reason is "economic recalibration." Silent contemplation, if you will, of a 60 billion deficit.

    Plus, photo-ops, of course.

    • And silent-movie ops!

  2. Exactly. I was hoping Mansbridge had followed up with a question along those lines during his interview. "Why did you have to do it on 30 December as opposed to 22 January?"

  3. the clerk was only technically correct – the key is the order of the legislation that my boy Stevie will be submitting through both chambers now! The first is out of his hands as it will be the vote on the throne speech after mar 3 -> then it will be the order of bills coming down the tube that will define the strategy he will be using against the lib's .. this requires a lot of scheduling to be juggled and could NOT be done in a just a few days – it's gonna be so much fun watching them squirm!

    • A few things:

      First, the Conservatives have established that "technically correct" and "correct" are completely the same. Therefore, the clerk is correct.

      Second, your "the strategy he's using… requires a lot of scheduling" kind of fits into the whole "the government can't walk and chew gum" narrative that has come up.


      • IT'S NOT A GAME!

        What a shame that the past century-and-a-half of Canadian politics demonstrates that no federal party has ever shared your depth of feeling on this point.

        • There's a clear distinction [if you can be bothered to look that is] between competitive politics and a full time non stop strategy of screw your political opponent…whether it's in the best interests of good governance or not.

    • that my boy Steviestuff might age about as well as a pot leaf tattooed on a forearm

    • The clerk is a clerk, not a strategist. He is not the first to point out the possibility of a 'quick proroguing'. He does not deal with the screams that would go up if the Liberals are not allowed sufficient time to fill reconstituted committees. Harper and company also need time to choose committee chairs in a conservative dominated Senate.

      The actual proroguing lasts for 22 Commons sitting days. I fail to grasp the difference between Liberals blocking legislation in the Senate and a proroguing. Ignatieff and company are talking about returning to work on January 23, but will not be allowed to resume the same obstructive ways. The prorogue was announced early to remove power from committee chairs while parliament is in recess.

  4. Here's what Chantal Hébert says about the Liberal Party Attack ads on her blog today:

    Do these ads make you want MP's to come back to Parlement as soon as possible or the opposite?

    Based on the rest of the blog post, it's obvious that her answer is the latter.

  5. Hmm, he uses the word "excuse." And here I thought that holders of non-partisan government jobs were supposed to be….objective or something. My bad.

    • Hmmm the writer also uses the word "former"….curious.

      • Oh, so his objectivity ended the minute he left Parliament. Thanks for shedding some light on his CURRENT credibility.

        btw, are you stalking me or something? Or just a glutton for punishment? lol

        • well you keep posting such stupid statements that yes, I guess I am a masochist to keep reading your disingenious missives.

          and for the record, yes – objectivity ends the minute one leaves any position where objectivity is required. This is S.O.P – but again, you know that.

        • I've noticed this rather stupid rejoinder used a few times around here recently, either as a question (Are you stalking me or something?) or as an accusation (You must be stalking me!). Did I mention that I think it's stupid? It's stupid.

          • Are you stalking me from the future? Its freaking me out.

          • Yes, I am. Don't be freaked out, Big Dave S, but don't bet on the Oilers, either.

  6. If they're so stupid, then why do you literally have no intelligent comments in response? It's name calling and weak reasoning abilities from you. For example, this notion that there are no objective people in this world, especially those who were supposed to be trained in the ability. lol. Next.

  7. You just keep digging don't you? You obviously missed the word "former". Most people would just say "Oh, I missed that one…my bad. Oops"

    put down the shovel buddy, it's getting embarrassing.

    • Even if I did, so what? That he would use the term "excuse" suggests that he's not very objective, or that he hasn't held onto his professional demeanor. I mean, you even said that people don't keep being objective if they're not forced to by their job. Brilliant!

      • Painful.

      • Give it up, Dennis_F. Unless, of course, you also intend to argue that Gordon O'Connor, Laurie Hawn, and Marc Garneau also lack credibility because they used to be officers in the Canadian Forces, a profession that demands objectivity and non-partisanship. I doubt you'll do that, because you wouldn't want to be seen as "hating the troops," and I assume you're actually intelligent enough to understand that once people step out of those types of roles, they're free to express whatever opinions they want. Don't be obtuse.

  8. good point that clerk makes.

  9. Yes Sir:

    So a FORMER clerk of the House made a partisan comment or PERHAPS ONLY a procedural observation. FORMER means that he/she/it is not employed there anymore. For any serving clerk, whether on his/he/it's own time of not, to make any public comment about anything which occurs in parliament is violating his/her/it's oath taken to function in that capacity.

    If that person FORMALLY held that job in the Commons, they are as free as you or I to say any damn partisan or critical thing they want AND THEY ARE QUITE FREE TO RUN FOR THE PARLIAMENT any time they want to make changes …. I would however, point out that a MP presently had to write a parliamentary procedural book for other MP's because the clerks working there didn't have the brains to do so.

    Civil servants have their own way of interfering in the ruling government's agenda ….. they always have.

    I can best describe the comments made by the ex-clerk in the above story as sour-grapes partisan.

    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is all that story is, partisan claptrap.

  10. 37 government bills died on the order paper and will have to be re-introduced for a first reading …. some of those bills deserve a sober second look because they were (in my opinion) pure crap. I, for one, am happy the session is over.