Now is not the time for democracy -

Now is not the time for democracy


Conservative MP Ron Cannan explains why it was necessary to prorogue the House.

For him, prorogation is an opportunity for the Conservative government to concentrate on the economy by implementing the next phase of its economic stimulus program and prepare a new budget.

If parliament was in session then the opposition parties could vote non-confidence and force an election before those tasks are complete. “That’s what we don’t want,” said Cannan.


Now is not the time for democracy

  1. Can't authorize a money bill outside of a sitting parliament, Mr. Cannan. Although to be fair I guess you could plan one.

    • They can always pull a Grant Devine & govern via Orders of Council. Call it their "Royal Prorogue-ative".

  2. If parliament was in session then the opposition parties could vote non-confidence and force an election before those tasks are complete.

    This is a bit of sloppy journalism. This does not appear to be a direct quote from Ron Cannan. It looks to be the writer offering his own spin.

    I'm not saying that Cannan didn't make an argument to this effect. But if he did make this argument, then the journalist owes it to his readers to put in a direct quote. The way this is written it looks like the author is offering his own opinion.

    • "I'm not saying that Cannan didn't make an argument to this effect."

      No, you're just implying it. If it's a burning issue with you, stop wasting your time and ask Cannan yourself if that's what he said/meant.

    • What came first, sloppy governance or sloppy journalism? Let the muppet have his cake and say it was the wordsmithies' fault; but why are we to continue giving our so-called leaders a gimmee as they stumble, bumble, lie and deceive all the way to their secret skull cabinet meetings?

    • There's no requirement for it to be in a quote. it's either misrepresenting their position (which since this kind of thing has been said before, doesn't seem too outlandish), or its valid.

  3. Glad Mr. Cannan has cleared that up for those of us who were wondering how our Parliament was 'working'.

  4. Are they even listening to themselves anymore?

  5. The Conservatives prorogued because the opposition was gaining momentum on the Afghan detainee issue. The Conservatives did not want any further attention focused on the Afghan issue. It's that simple, all the rest is spin.

    • You're probably right. But sometimes I think that the Conservatives prorogued Parliament because they were just tired of having to deal with that pesky opposition asking all those impertinent questions.

      Now they can plot in peace. Oh, sorry – "recalibrate".

  6. I set up a Google news alert a while back with the word prorogue.' I've notcied that in newspapers all across the country Conservative MPs, Senators and Canadians are all writing virtualy the exact same Op-ed about how Parliament has been prorogued 105 times since confederation.

    They all also say that Harper has only prorogued twice in four years, completely ignoring his 2007 prorogation.

    My question is, do newspapers generally fact check op-eds or do they just trust whatever people send them and print it?

    • They usually pick the best op-eds to print but when it is from an MP of any party they usually publish the piece to not have to face assumptions of having a political bias and blocking their message. I do not think they fact check op-eds though, it is an opinion piece.

    • Newspapers is lazy. However, some of them have wisened up to the standard-issue op-ed scam and do a media scan of other papers before running suspected mail-merged bumpf from the local member. Occasionally they even print portions of such formulaic crap, just to ridicule it.

  7. There was a time when government backbenchers used to argue about the important role they play in shaping public policy.

    Nice to see the Tory backbenchers are at least beign honest. They are next to irrelevant and will-fully sliding into the abyss.

  8. Still waiting for someone to hound some opp. MP and ask him-her how they contributed to last fall`s Parliament. You know, you wouldn`t actually have to call them and do an interview; just do a little research on what they have been up to, put together a snappy little title and just do a little opinion piece like the one above.

    How about you do one on Marlene Heckler Jennings.

    • "You know, you wouldn`t actually have to call them and do an interview; just do a little research …"

      Go for it, concerned citizen.

    • Or maybe John Rabid-Dog Baird, and Little Pup Poilievre.

  9. That's because the reporter didn't due his due diligence by putting in a quote. Presumably if he had done his job properly I would have no reason to dispute this article.

  10. Brilliant. By caving to demands from the disenfranchised public to take the muzzles off of their backbenchers (and some cabinet ministers), the Conservatives have effectively demonstrated the prudence of their original policy. Check and mate.

    • You forgot the first element of this – by having an extremely low quality of backbencher and cabinet minister AND THEN caving to….

      • What's more, they are hardly likely to be able to go back – at least not without further loss of credibility.

  11. Well, you what you get is what you pay for.

  12. Dear lord… I can see why backbenchers are prohibited from speaking to the media:

    “We needed to shut down Parliament so we wouldn’t have to be accountable to Parliament and we wanted to govern without its consent.”

    • If you are implying that Cannan said those words that you have placed within quotation marks then you should provide the necessary links.

      If the quoted bit is how you have surmised Adrian`s little op-ed piece in Kelowna. com then you should not have used quotation marks.

  13. You know what? With or without this episode I'll be the first to agree that the Conservative communications about proroguation have been nothing short of atrocious. But I've seen too many journalists manipulate stuff too many times to take this guy at his word when he says that was the argument Cannan was making, if he can't produce a quote to back it up. Sorry, but that's journalism 101.

    • Actually, I took Journalism 101, and read as it stands in the sample above, it looks like a bad job…

      BUT, when read in context, this summation of speech surrounded by quotes from the man himself make it quite clear an interview took place, and that the statement preceding the quote is a paraphrase. Which IS, in fact, Journalism 101.

      When did YOU take that course, by the way? I graduated with honours, and worked in the field.

    • No, I think you are absolutely right.

      In fact when I read it the first time I didn't notice it wasn't a quote, and yet I still couldn't believe (in spite of other examples and in spite of my partisanship) that any MP (or human adult) would say such an assinine thing.

      I really hope he didn't say, infer or imply something like this, because how low must I set the bar for Conservative MPs? It sounds to me like the reporter asked one of those stupid questions that can't be answered (like when did you stop beating your wife). Until I know otherwise, I blame the journalist.

      • "Until I know otherwise, I blame the journalist."

        Ah, guilty until proved innocent. And you're *not* a Conservative?

  14. " I would have hoped Wherry would have higher standards"


  15. The Conservative communications juggernaut actually outpaced itself from the beginning. They had a number of talking points pre-baked to say "Canadian's don't care about…" and decided to insert "proragation" into the matrix. I suspect some Canadians took umbrage not as much against the prorogation, as much as the notion that they were being told how to feel about it before they had a chance to think about it. That kind of strategy of guessing public opinion before actually checking it only works if you guess correct.

  16. Tony Clement, yesterday: "If you don't agree with that, which is your right, then you can vote us out of office. That's democracy.”

    Ron Cannan, today: If parliament was in session then the opposition parties could vote non-confidence and force an election before those tasks are complete. “That's what we don't want,”

    So democracy, in the mind of a Conservative politician, consists of the vote. And you can have that opportunity to vote when it suits the Conservative politician.

    These guys aren't even pretending any more.

  17. Anybody got a shovel , the BS. is starting to get too deep to walk through.

  18. So now they're actually bragging about how they've gummed up democratic accountability.

    • Now? Hell, they positively chortled about their Idiot's Guide to Blocking Committees from Ever Doing Anything Except Rubber-Stamp Government Bills.

  19. "For him, prorogation is an opportunity for the Conservative government to concentrate on the economy by implementing the next phase of its economic stimulus program and prepare a new budget".

    Another Con MP confirming that Harper and his ministers cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Using the same logic, Harper should prorogue Parliament until our economy is in full throttle again, as also suggested by The Economist.

    • To be fair to the Conservatives, creating a budget is harder work for them than it is for most political parties.

      There's all those focus groups to set up; all those hot-button issues to identify; all those slivers of marginal swing voters to placate; all that spin to manufacture; opposition parties to squash; all the planning required to determine how exactly to present the new budget. Just the question of how many Canadian flags to place behind the presentation podium is a tricky one to resolve, requiring intense study.

      You couldn't possibly expect the governing party to deal with all of that and be answerable to their opponents, could you? There are only 24 hours in a day!

  20. I said this before but it bears repeating. The worst part of the prorogation mistake from the Conservatives point of view is that it means Harper can't just walk down the hall and start kickign and shouting at his MPs to shut the f**k up.

  21. This communications issue was supposed to stop when the PMO got their new Issues Management person in place.

    Judging from their disasterous last week, they might want to start asking the old person to come back with a raise.

  22. I've commented before on the paucity of talent and intellect in the Conservative ranks. At times, I feel like I'm being a bit mean, but then one of them opens their mouth and I don't anymore.

  23. I'm too lazy to look it up but I will assume Ron Cannan wasn't in parliament in 2005 when Paul Martin's Liberals kept rescheduling opposition debates and dismissing committee motions declaring non-confidence. His party was not too fond of the government's explanation of the importance of letting the Gomery inquiry finish its work or allowing the important budget to pass so that the Atlantic provinces could get their pork.

  24. Would somebody please ask Mr. Cannan what it is an MP can do that someone else can't that doesn't constitiute political interference?

  25. FACT: Ron Cannon made his previous living fishing shopping carts out of a pond next to his trailer park.

    • Yet Gail Shea is Fisheries Minister?
      SH just doesn't utilize his resources wisely, does he?

  26. So Anon ABC is quoting from a link from Mr. Wherry, which is linked to an article from Adrian at Kelowna. com which is his account of an interview he had with 3 protesters who are giving their take on a meeting they had with Cannan.

    Now that`s solid journalism !

    • Read it again.
      Direct quotes from Cannan, who was interviewed by the reporter after the meeting.

      You also owe the journalist an apology.

    • don't come here looking for solid journalism

  27. I guess that's the thing. A guy like Cannan is not saying this kind of thing because he is opposed to democratic accountability in the abstract: he doesn't know anything about the concept (or, in fairness, much else). Ditto most MP's. It also explains why the Opposition caucuses have been unable to get their act together.

  28. Sorry, I don't see how this contributes anything useful to the discussion.

  29. Many neo-cons come to the table with nothing much more than a massive chip on their shoulders. It's not a great starting point for serving the people well. Their combined spite and self-assumed victimhood renders them unable to even coherently articulate and pursue their own blueprint for improvement, in many cases.

    • what a load of malarkey

  30. I hear you on the lazy thing. My three year old daughter hit my eight -month old son yesterday, and justified it by pointing out he had just hit her. I was far too lazy to point out that two wrongs didn't make a right, (oh, that and my son is EIGHT MONTHS OLD) and sent her to her room. I also like how rescheduling opposition days now = proroguing the entire damn Parliament and killing 30 bills on the order table. Since I'm not feeling particularly lazy today, let me help elevate our discourse to a minimal adolescent level and point out that TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT. Your inability to recall that Martin actually called the Gomery Inquiry in the first place pretty much stands on its own.

    • Okay, I looked it up and Ron Cannan was not in parliament at that time. You may recall that the Conservatives, NDP and BQ tried multiple times to defeat the Liberals in the fall of 2005 and that the Liberals avoided that defeat at great lengths defending their actions on the basis of the need to let Justice Gomery complete his inquiry before Canadians went to the polls. I wasn't picking sides nor labelling the actions right or wrong, I was just pointing out the hypocrisy. But I suppose I can excuse Ron Cannan because he wasn't in parliament at that time so he might not be familiar with the outrage some of his caucus colleagues had and he may not see the similarities in the defenses.

      Anyways, I'm not sure why I needed to explain that Paul Martin called the Gomery Inquiry. I guess my inability to recall that he was the opposition critic for the environment, Canada's most successful Minister of Finance, and started a national daycare program as PM, also stands on its own too.

  31. If Canaan's position has been truly misrepresented he himself should be calling Wherry ASAP and Wherry should give the opportunity to clear up things. Until then I will assume it's a valid summation of views expressed at the time, and you should too.

  32. As i thought. If this keeps up i do believe i might start to feel a smidgin of sympathy for Harper.

  33. "If parliament was in session then the opposition parties could vote non-confidence and force an election before those tasks are complete. “That's what we don't want,” said Cannan"

    That's a beauty!

    "Damn those voters! Don't they realize this is serious stuff we're talking about here.They didn' give us our majority…what the hell choice did we have but to prorogue the damn place"!!

  34. i could only work up something that amounts to sympathy if i believed he would prefer it otherwise. i simply don't beleive that to be the case to the degree that he doesn't loosen the reigns on those more competent in cabinet or caucus (e.g., Prentice or Strahl who also happen to be decent people) or make an overt effort to attract more talented folks.

  35. Nothing is ever their fault. Ever.

    • Canadians are not, by nature, braggarts.
      Stephen Harper's inability to admit mistakes is going to absolutely haunt him

  36. I`m sure Mr. Wherry thanks you for the effort however I don`t think he needs any help hounding gov`t MP`s. I was hoping , just for the sake of balance, Mr. Wherry might compare the work schedule of opp. Mp`s. Probably tomorrow.

  37. It does look that way…you can't make bricks without straw…but he's had both time and opportunity to find some.

    • Who would want to become a Conservative MP, or to work for one? Consider the job description:

      – Work in Ottawa, away from friends and loved ones
      – Long hours
      – No independence or authority: you have to do what you're told
      – Surrounded by angry people
      – Likely to be blamed if anything goes wrong
      – A certain amount of willing suspension of disblief is required

      What kind of life is that to live?

  38. I can't wait to hear the excuses when they do eventually get dumped from office. It's probably the #1 reason they'll keep the cbc around.

  39. Several apologies, considering the number of times Common Man has badmouthed Wherry in this thread alone.

  40. No, you go back and read it again. The direct quote from Cannan is " That`s what we don`t want ". The rest of the link Mr. Wherry uses is not in quotes because the reporter is surmising what was said. When a reporter does not use quotes then the reader should assume it is only an opinion piece and we are left to guess in what context the quoted portion should be taken.

  41. Blaming the media is what usually happens when things don't quite work out your way.

  42. I`m don`t blame the media. I know they have their reasons for what they write. But I would hope you guys would be more careful before commenting on what you have read.

  43. You don't attract top talent when you won't share the reins – and competition is unwelcome when you want the reins all to yourself.

  44. How about he come down to your place of work and tell you how to do your job?

  45. "The rest of the link Mr. Wherry uses is not in quotes because the reporter is surmising what was said "
    Well, well. So, according to your expert analysis, this is what the writer inferred.

    ==sur·mise (sr-mz)
    To infer (something) without sufficiently conclusive evidence..==

    The reporter INTERVIEWED Cannan, used several quotes in his article. Paraphrasing is what reporters do, because an article composed entirely of quotes is generally incredibly wordy and boring. If you insist upon implying that the reporter is making stuff up, he'll have grounds to dig up your ISP and sue you for defamation.

    Before you expound further upon journalistic techniques from your deep reservoir of professional writing knowledge, you might have a look at the following paragraph, the lead of a story from an early January edition of the National Post. No quotes in the paragraph, so it must be an opinion piece, right? o, it's a news story, an interview with the Prime Minister.

    Harper not looking to call new election
    David Akin, Canwest News Service
    Published: Wednesday, January 06, 2010
    .OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper doused speculation that he's gunning for a general election this spring, telling Canwest News Service in an interview that he'd rather govern than campaign.

  46. Wherry's quote, which I c&p above, came directly from the article at Unless you are saying that Cannan was unfairly quoted, I am not sure what your point is. Are you?

    • Come on. Canaan can presumably dress himself in the mornings, and he has managed to find a place to sit in the HoC on more than one occasion. So that tells me he at least has something of a brain, and how can anyone with even the tiniest bit of grey matter come out with a statement basically saying the government wanted to rule but was about to lose its authority so shut down the authority, and not conclude he was misquoted?

      I'm as partisan as everyone else, but this is *too* dumb, even for a Conservative! (I hope to God.)

    • Read it again Anon ABC. Wherry cut and paste from the article correctly, but what was cut and pasted was not a quote from Cannan at all, with the exception of the words "That's what we don't want"; the rest being paraphrasing from the writer.

      • What else might Canaan have been saying they don't want then?

        • He might have been saying they don't want an election before those tasks are complete.

          Which isn't any different, yet makes all the difference in the world when you don't include "If parliament was in session then the opposition parties could vote non-confidence" in front of it.

        • I don't know.

          In all likelihood this was an honest paraphrase and not an attempt to misrepresent what he did or didn't say, and Cannan really did say something that stupid. It's just sloppy journalism that no quote was provided, and if I'm wrong it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a journalist has taken a Conservative out of context to do a smear job.

          • Well well well…looks like I was right to be concerned after all. The story has been updated.

            Conservative Kelowna-Lake Country MP, Ron Cannan, has asked to clarify remarks he made about prorogation.

            Yesterday, reported that Cannan said one of the reasons why his government decided to suspend parliament was to avoid the possibility of a non-confidence vote forcing an election before it has a chance to table its budget and implement the second phase of its economic stimulus program.

            “I have no idea how that came into the conversation, obviously there was some misinterpretation,” Cannan said today.

            He also said that his references to a non-confidence vote had to do with what the possibilities are once parliament resumes in March, rather than what might have happened had parliament not been prorogued. “Once the budget is tabled on March 4th, then when parliament's in session, the opposition parties can vote non-confidence and force an election.”

  47. They are engaged in some sort of contest, to see who can come up with the most absurd reason why they prorogued parliament. I am just waiting for "we all got drunk one night and thought how much of a drag QP is, so BAM! Here we are."

    • You may be onto something there. Perhaps an early New Year's Eve party that just got out of hand? It might explain why it was a phone call instead of a visit to the GG.

      • LOL. Harper drunk-dialed the GG?

  48. Wal-Mart doesn't allow employees to have personal visitors.

    I kid!

  49. "I would have hoped Wherry would have higher standards of what he links to but I guess the quality of the article doesn't enter into the equation of what gets posted."

    Still wasting your time, I see, by implying someone is either lying or being journalistically irresponsible, just because you don't like what you read.

    I don't know why you're bothering. It's not like this article isn't reporting something the Conservatives haven't said on the record, in a variety of ways, dozens of times already.

  50. I thought "Harper prorogued to avoid a confidence vote" was supposed to be a Liberal talking point. What gives?!?!?

  51. Q. How many politicians does it take to change a light bulb?
    A. 145. One to make the decision and 144 to spin it.

  52. Ha ha ha! Good one!

  53. Heaven forbid!

    However, the other way is making Canaan guilty until proved innocent, so I don't see that our side is more noble–in this instance, I certainly see the progressive side is more noble most of the time!

      • "since the reporter got it wrong".

        No, what we have here is a classic "I was taken out of context" moment. Bet you the reporter goes out and buys himself a cheap digital recorder so he can legally back up his stories when needed.

        I used to get these responses from politicians. I reminded them I recorded every interview, and not once was there a follow up.

  54. I really have to question your ability to assume if you use the name " Wherry " followed by the expression " a valid summation of views expressed ".

  55. Funny how Wherry would never write about Cannan in any way, shape or manner unless it involves an attempt to embarrass him.

  56. No quote?


    Also interesting that this rotting horse is still being beaten.

    A sure sign of the lack of substance coming from the opposition.