Sunday, December 20, 2009

Harper is redefining prorogation

Canada's constitution lies in the written constitution as well as in parliamentary traditions or conventions. One of these is that prorogation of the House of Commons occurs after the agenda set forth in the Throne Speech is accomplished, or before elections. This definition of prorogation is being progressively amended by Harper and his Conservatives, rendering it instead a powerful government tool to escape accountability and to leverage power.

The first instance of this was last year, during the parliamentary crisis. Under unusual circumstances, the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament so as to avoid an impending vote of non-confidence. By misguidedly accepting this request, the Governor General ceded prorogation to the Prime Minister as a political tool. Last year the government used it to stave off defeat. Now they are musing about using it for other, similarly unconventional and partisan motives.

The Conservatives are worried by the prospect of further questions on the issues surrounding Richard Colvin's testimony on the transfer of prisoners to the Afghan police. They have been losing, albeit not at an exceedingly rapid rate, support in the polls.

Furthermore, the fact that in the new year the Conservatives could have a majority in the Senate is driving them to consider prorogation. The problem is that if they do not prorogue Parliament, they will have a majority in the Senate, but not on the Senate committees. Only prorogation can do this.

It would be a prorogation for purely partisan motives and for this reason, if the Conservatives do ask for the proroguing of Parliament, the Governor General should do what she should have done last year, and deny this request.
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6 comments:

  1. If Harper asks he will receive and his popularity will probably go up in the polls. Many Canadians have already proved that they don't care about the constitution or democracy.

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  2. Chretien had to prorogue to install Paul Martin when he took over as Lib leader.
    Prorogation IS a political move....what is your point?

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  3. Good try, Wilson, but Chretien did not pro-rogue to escape a vote of no confidence, which was what Harper did.

    This is a big difference that seems to suggest that either Cons supporters are inherently unable to see the important points or they must think that all Canadians are stupid enough to fall for their spin.

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  4. Why dont the Three Ppposition parties try again to take power, just like Iggy did in theLiberal party? They should came back and demand they want power without consulting Canadians. Then have an election. That will unify Canadians like it did before - perhaps you forgot of the voters saying in protests that this is wrong. It will be great to have less Liberals controling the Senate.

    As for the torture thing, why not look into what was happening brfore the Cons took power. I am sure there was actual tortures going on. If not, whay did the Cons have to change handing terrorists over. I hope they bring the pre-Conservative treatment of prisoners under the Liberals to the forefront as well.

    Please, please, pretty please, try it again, taking over power as before, then we will see that Iffy really wanted to sign on with the coalation. This is the only way he can get power - give it to him just as the Liberals did without consulting the grassroots. Canadiand would demand an election, hopefully before the coalatiuon can destroy Canada.

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  5. Anon: The Liberals have already stated that the inquiry they wanted would include investigating the former Liberal govts.

    Better questions are: Why doesn't Harper give the docs over to the Afghsn committee? What's he trying to hide?

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