HE SAID: Pro prorogue (say THAT three times really fast!)

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
January 20th, 2010

If it wasn’t for all the media hype damning Prime Minister Harper for proroguing Parliament, would anyone have even noticed?

The federal services won’t suddenly freeze up just because ineffectual politicians are not sitting in the House of Commons. There will be no interruptions in employment insurance or old age security payments and, for the most part, it will be business as usual with everything else. For Canadians, life will go on as normal, and it’s not as if the MPs were accomplishing much with their relentless partisan bickering.

The way that opposition MPs are dealing with this is just silly, by trying to brainwash us into believing that the Prime Minister has somehow magically ordered Parliament dissolved, or that he has violated the trust of the Canadian people, they leave themselves open for the same criticisms – at least, the Liberals do.

Parliament has been prorogued 105 times in the past, and if we look back in the not-so-distant past, we find that Chretien used this power four times and Trudeau used it 11. Our media fails to mention this and never have I heard a Liberal admit to their own “crimes” while condemning Harper for doing what Prime Ministers have always done.

I can picture Ignatieff, fists at his side, stomping his feet while yelling, “That’s not fair!”

The only thing I find unfair about proroguing Parliament is that all 308 MPs will still receive their salary while not performing the business of Parliament. Granted, they could be working for their constituencies or doing party business, but I think there’s a possibility at least some will be looking after personal affairs, campaigning for the next election or just taking it easy.

If the Prime Minister is serious about taking this time to reflect on his economic strategy, then I would like to make the suggestion that he consider a salary adjustment for MPs when the government is prorogued.

However, I digress … this is not the issue, and the issue is whether Harper undermined the democratic process and violated the trust of Canadians by proroguing Parliament.

I don’t understand how the democratic government can be undermined by giving it a rest, especially since this same power has been used, on average, every 1.3 years, nor can I understand how Harper violated the trust of Canadians.

The trust that Harper is supposed to have violated certainly can’t apply to the 41 per cent of those Canadians who didn’t even bother to vote, and only a philosopher could argue that those who voted Liberal, NDP or otherwise did, indeed, put their trust in Harper as Prime Minister.

And if the opposition feels that Harper has undermined democratic government, then they can show their dissatisfaction through a simple no confidence vote when they return to Parliament.

But they better remember that if they ever want to prorogue Parliament again.

Categories: Op/Ed


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