Is Parliament in session? The PMO won't say

In one of the more bizarre bits of circumlocution that I’ve ever heard from a prime-ministerial spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press secretary, would not say a few minutes ago if Parliament has been shut down or not.

In a telephone briefing for Parliament Hill media, Soudas confirmed that a new throne speech—launching a fresh parliamentary session—will be delivered March 3, and a budget the following day. That means the present session must be ended, or prorogued, by the Governor General sometime before then. And Soudas did reveal that the PM spoke to the GG today, presumably on that very matter.

But what did they agree to do? On that seemingly straighforward question, Soudas was strangely evasive. “You know,” he said, “discussions between the Prime Minister and Governor General are private, they’re confidential. I’m obvious not aware of the conversations between the Prime Minister and Governor General.”

Well, I guess certain details of such a chat might reasonably be kept private. However, on whether the country’s national legislature continues to be in session, passing laws and such, or not, I would have thought the Prime Minister’s Office might go so far as to let the rest of us in on the secret.

Apparently not. “There was a telephone call between the Prime Minister and the Governor General earlier today,” was all Soudas would tell us. “I never comment on discussions between the Prime Minister and the Governor General.”

How, then, are we to find out? I asked. “Feel free to call Rideau Hall,” Soudas helpfully suggested. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something—my communications with the Governor General’s residence being subject to no particular code of discretion.

More on this later.

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