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When the going gets tough (III)


 

Talk of proroguing Parliament may not be grounded in fact, but it is apparently grounded in the advice the Prime Minister is receiving from his advisors.

MPs are not due to come back to Parliament until Jan. 25. One scenario under consideration by Harper’s inner circle would be for the prime minister to prorogue Parliament a few days before that, have MPs return to Ottawa as planned on Jan. 25, and then quickly roll out a speech from the throne followed by the presentation of the 2010 federal budget — all before the Winter Olympics get underway in Vancouver on Feb. 12.

Still, if he does choose to prorogue, Harper would open up himself to some other potential political problems, primarily because prorogation has some similar effects to a general election: it would kill 40 pieces of government legislation — including the government’s own tough new bills on consumer product safety and on harsher sentences for drug traffickers — and it would disband parliamentary committees.


 

When the going gets tough (III)

  1. I don't buy the argument that Harper wants to quickly get control of the Senate. I think the Tories would much rather wail on about their bills being 'blocked by the Liberal Senate' than have actual control of the Senate and pass said bills.

    As for the GG, will Harper appoint himself and get it over with?

    • Rumour has it Christie Blatchford will be getting the nod.

      • Miss Blatchford has her nose so far up the PMs butt, I'd be shock if she wasn't appointed to the Senate. She's bought and paid for and would be a loyal foot-soldier in the Harpo regime. On the upside we'd no longer have her biased commentary contaminating her paper!

    • Well, it's always nice to have something to complain about, but Harper's view on Senate reform – that it should be Triple-E, if permitted to exist at all – is the stronger belief here. Going about "reforming" the Senate in the manner that he has allows him to make some changes without going through that near-impossible practice of constitutional reform, and has the added benefit that the Senate will be a Conservative Majority for (I haven't done the math in a few months, but if I recall) at least the next 20 years beyond 2011.

      That's quite a legacy.

      I think what's most notable in the article is that prorogation will allow him to disband parliamentary committees – including the one looking into the detainee issue – and it's those committees that have prevented Harper et al from changing the story to something far more beneficial to the CPC. Such as how poorly communicated Iggy's policy views are.

      • I disagree with you on the Senate. An election does not provide us with any guarantee of the most competent — and as we can see, election results can be as much against something as for it. This isn't a good thing for a house of "sober second thought".

        No, I prefer the senate as it is. A group of people who, as appointed by the Prime Minister can be people of competence, if not popularity, and who will tend to reflect the character of Canadians' political choices as a whole over the years, rather than whipsawing back and forth to whatever the media narrative happens to be at the time of their election.

        • I agree on this point, and it seems to me that there are a number of different simple reforms that would remove the patronage problem, or at least significantly lessen it. Election by secret ballot in the house, like the speaker, of people nominated by PM or cabinet would assure that individual members approved; election openly in the house, presumably along party lines, would assure that gov't either needed a majority government or support of an opposition party for their nomination; or indirect election by provincial governments would be a more drastic reform that still keeps senator's out of the fray of electoral politics but does make them more responsive to local issues.

  2. I'd love to get a fact check on this:
    "…prorogation has some similar effects to a general election: it would kill 40 pieces of government legislation — including the government's own tough new bills on consumer product safety and on harsher sentences for drug traffickers — and it would disband parliamentary committees."
    I've heard members of both opposition and government assert to the contrary, the former with reference to the work of committees, the later regarding legislation.
    Little help? :D

    • I *think* that it can be re-introduced if all parties agree, but we know how likely that is.

      • Thanks, and I agree with your conclusion. Not bloody likely. However, it is inevitable that both sides will argue the other is to blame for the impasse. What is striking, in this, is how unified the opposition is in all this. We have, once again, a truly polarized government, and when that is also a minority government, well… I won't even say it, but rather skip right to my favorite part: Indeed.

  3. Let's have a bit of a reality check. Under new rules adopted by Jean Chretien any bills affected by prorogation can be brought back at the same stage in the new Session. The main effect of prorogation would be the reconstituting of Committees in the Senate and the House.

    • Now you did it, you wnet and ruined all their Harper bashing fun!

      • Make that "checking reality". I doubt we have the power to correct it. :)

        • Too bad I was preparing my request for your intercession …

          • LOL!

      • Right on. Thanks, man.

  4. Maybe when Ontarians and BCers will see the need for an Elected Senate,
    their regionaly elected Senators would have the power and desire to stop/delay/amend the HST bill.

    • I don't know. I'd rather see my parliament act like an elected and responsible body first.

      • Maybe when Ontarians and BCers will see the need for an Elected Senate,
        their regionaly elected Senators would have the power and desire to stop/delay/amend the HST bill.

        When Hell freezes over.

  5. Fearless prediction: Harper won't prorogue. Too much downside, not enough upside.

    • Agreed. But the point of the Olympics taking up 100% of media may mean that he thinks the downside would be greatly reduced. Who knows, Harper's very good at surprises.

    • "Too much downside, not enough upside."

      What are the downsides/upsides? I don't think the average Canadian knows from one day to next if Parliament is in session or has been prorogued. The only upside that I can think of is MPs get to attend Olympics and maybe a few photo ops with gold medal winners or some such. Afghan torture meme does not seem to be driving public opinion one way or another.

  6. I'm thinking they started the rumour to make them look good when they don't.

  7. If the Conservatives aren't careful, their attempt to use the Olympics to make them look golden could back fire too. If they are as ham handed about it as they have been with the infrastructure cheques, it may lead to Canadians wondering what the hell politicians have to do with winning a medal in curling or hockey, and why can't they escape politics on a sports channel.

    • Which gets me wondering if either or both the Libs and Cons will be using the Olympics for a television ad campaign.

    • The infrastructure cheques didn't seem to hurt the Conservatives in the polls, or the by-elections. If the opposition attacks Harper for associating himself with the Olympics, Canadians may well wonder why the opposition can't leave politics out of it for once and just enjoy Canada's moment in the sun.

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