Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sorry, I didn't realize that we lived in CHINA!

The Conservative government announced Wednesday that it plans to prorogue Parliament until March 3, said the Prime Minister's Office.

Parliament has been scheduled to resume its current session on January 25, following the holiday break, but a spokesman for Stephen Harper said that the government will instead appeal to the Governor General to end this session of Parilament and then will wait until March 3 to deliver a new Speech from the Throne.

"This is quite routine but it is also important to give Canadians an overview of where we will be taking the country over the next little while," said Harper's spokesman, Dmitri Soudas.

Routine is a bit of an understatement. This is the second time that Stephen Harper has appealed to the Governor General to allow him to prorogue Parliament.

In choosing to prorogue, all bills and committees that are currently before the House of Commons are wiped off the table- in this case, one of the Tories' crimes bills will be finished, as will the Parliamentary committee looking into the allegations of Afghan detainee abuse.

Prorogation would also prevent Question Period criticisms from Opposition MPs during the Olympics.

Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale called the move "almost despotic," and described the government's justifications for prorogation as "a joke."

What we have now is a bit of a dilemma. While the GG could technically refuse Harper's request to prorogue Parliament, to do so could be widely criticized as an intervention in the free affairs of government. On the other hand, if she allows Harper to prorogue then she is effectively condemning the entire framework of responsible government, which is that the government in power be held accountable for its actions.

Muzzling opposition criticisms just because the world eye is on Canada during the Olympics is no different than Beijing's swift and brutal repressing of citizen dissent leading up to the 2008 Olympics. While Harper would be able to shut down legitimate opposition during the Olympics, he could also risk drawing the ire of foreign nations who were quick to criticize China for its opposition muzzling in 2008.

How does it reflect on Canada that we are willing to continually re-elect a prime minister who repeatedly refuses to accept accountability for the crimes and short-fallings of his government?

No comments:

Post a Comment