Parliament to perogie again?

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peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture
Parliament to perogie again?

Gloria Galloway

Ottawa — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 9:16PM EST Last updated on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 10:15PM EST

Rumours swirling around Ottawa suggest the Conservative government is thinking of shutting down Parliament until after the Olympics, killing some of its own bills but also ending the discussion of Afghan detainees that is nibbling away at Tory popularity.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-buzzing-with-talk-of...

 

al-Qa'bong

Don't be knocking perogies.  They're Saskatchewan's national food.

KenS

The strategic considerations have been discussed a bit in:
Will Harper Cut Potato Head Loose & Incur the Wrath of Nova Scotians?
But methinks its just as well its a new thread.

RosaL

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Don't be knocking perogies.  They're Saskatchewan's national food.

 

yep. Saskatchewan grocery stores stock lots of frozen perogies! But I always think of perogy-ing parliament, too Wink

KenS

Prorogue is followed by Throne Speech and then a confidence vote.

When I thought it was a quick turnaround being talked about my comment was:

KenS wrote:
 I've been saying for a long time that until Harper is quite confident that a majority will be the result of an election, we will see Harper pull back from the brink of risking an election where losing power is the likely result for not achieving a majority.

Everything he has done in the last year has been consistent with that limit, and if it is operative, then he is even less likely to use proroguing to escape the current PR problem, when a likely result is an election that he is substantially less likely to get a majority out of than he was for the previous year when he has already consistently skated away from actions that had a reasonable chance of precipitating an election.

 

A new session after the Olympics and a Throne Speech full of budget goodies... I can more see Harper taking the risk. But only "more see"... still skeptical. Because it would be a gamble right now that come March he will be in a commanding enough position in the polls that the opposition parties see a Conservative majority as imminent if there is an election.

If he gambles for that, but ends up only with the status quo of the range of support we've had over the last year... its likely enough all 3 opposition parties would go for blood.

What Harper has now works- even with the continuing hits from Torturegate.

My guess is that this will turn out to be something that was presumably very seriously considered, but was only let out of the bag for its value in keeping the opposition off balance.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Killing their own bills has certain political advantages for the Reformatories, but only with their own base.

They can continue to rail against the gun registry and they can continue to insist that the Liberal-dominated Senate is preventing them from passing their crime legislation. Of course, the Senate won't be Liberal-dominated after January's retirements and subsequent appointments, so they need to flog this dead horse while they are still able to.

ottawaobserver

Yes, and as the article pointed out, the membership of Senate committees is fixed ... until they prorogue and start a new session.

I'm convinced he's going to go for it.  And I don't think he's scared of a confidence vote on the Throne Speech.  The Liberals will bail.

KenS

Methinks it is Liberals probably will bail. And if thats what the Harper strategists think too, will they bet the farm on it?

Bookish Agrarian

My election night prediction was the fall of 2010 for an election.  I still think we are on track.  If I was Harper I would go for this.  Gives the Conservatives tons of breathing room, and with a mostly compliant press a chance at several months of good news coming out of the Olympics.  If however Canada does not do well and God forbid fail to win the gold medals in hockey the Conservatives would have some time to change the channel too.

And they would get the chance to blame all the bad things on the Senate for blocking their bills.  Watch for that to be excuse number 1.

Fidel

I think it would be a risk they can't afford. Tories are already viewed by their phony-minority support base as having done and achieved nothing. Shutting down parliament a second time will be viewed by the public as wasteful and a lack of will to govern the nation.

KenS

Where the Liberals see their best chances, or best among not very good options, strikes me as inherently unstable and with an unusually high probability of suprising outcome. Looks to me to be not something you want to bet the farm around.

Admittedly, its hard to imagine them reacting to a prororogue by sitting down and saying "OK. Now we will knuckle down and get all the ducks lined up for March." But visions of last good chances can concentrate anyone.

G. Muffin

al-Qa'bong wrote:
Don't be knocking perogies.  They're Saskatchewan's national food.

Won the thread.

Debater

Why do the Conservatives think that the Olympics are going to improve their popularity?

Debater

The question of the day on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon is about the possible prorogation.  You can vote here:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2009/12/question-of-the-day-11...

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

 

I tried to start a thread on this under "Its real and its big.." but perhaps it belongs here with the perogies and the political/legal/constitutional battles we are facing?  Keep in mind there are a wide range of bodies, including Parliament,  international and Canadian Courts, and the media and the militarym  investigating allegations of violations of the Geneva Convention by Canada,  to the direct knowledge of the military leadership and  Ministers of the Crown. While Parliament may be ordered to stand down. we can see a ranges of clashes up to Harper and his cabinet and the military leadership on trial

---------------------.

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/741209--tory-mi...

OTTAWA–Three federal cabinet ministers and a senior government official met the head of the International Red Cross in the fall of 2006 as the humantarian organization tried to focus Canada's attention on alleged abuses in Afghan prisons, The Canadian Press has learned.

Precisely what Jakob Kellenberger told Peter MacKay, Gordon O'Connor, Stockwell Day and Robert Greenhill, then the president of the Canadian International Development Agency, in the Sept. 26, 2006 meetings is blanketed by diplomatic secrecy.

McKay was then Foreign Affairs minister, O'Connor was at Defence and Day was Public Safety minister overseeing Corrections Canada officers in Kandahar.

While the details of the meeting are secret, enough was said about Afghanistan to generate a report from MacKay's office a month later which flagged the Red Cross president's concerns.

The contents of the report, one of thousands of documents filed in the Military Police Complaints Commission investigation of torture allegations, are censored.

 

adma

Most of those CCRAPpers look like perogies, anyway, Harper not excluded

KenS

He liked that so much, he's back for another round.

 

Harper seeks to suspend Parliament

The Conservatives will ask the governor general to delay the return of MPs until March after the Olympics

Proved me wrong. Ottawa Observer won that prediction. 

Its SO grating they get away with such blatant abuse of democratic norms. They will ultimately pay the price on other fronts, but they know they can slide by with this kind of stuff because it just strikes most Canadians as another pariamentary procedure that does not grab their attention.

KenS

My prediction he wouldn't prorogue was based on Harper not taking the risk of triggering an election. That the Liberals probably would not vote no confidence to the new Throne Speech was not good enough when the risk for Harper of being wrong was losing government.

People may be right that he wasn't going to blink at that risk anyway. But Iggnatieff just gave him the great big green light. 

zazzo

So, Prime Minister Prorogie Head intends to shut down parliament, does he? Laughing

KenS

And its worth noting that Harper did not need to do this.

As Nik Nanos just took as a key point from their just released poll "Key takeaways include that the Conservative ballot support has not diminished in the face of controversial issues in December such as the Afghan detainee issue or the focus on the environment."

[Linked and discussed in the polling thread.]

Now obviously, there was a prospect of things sticking on the government if the testimonies had resumed in a month. But the bottom line is that Harper would do this simply becaue it gave them more control, and he can consistently get away with it... as long as he doesn't at the same time do any public display of fangs.

remind remind's picture

Hmmm, I was correct that Harper would prorogue when I predicted he would a month ago now, when this all started coming out. 

 

 

 

 

Linger

Interesting. Last time, last year, proroguing came after a 2 1/2h face to face meeting. This round of proroguing comes after just a phone call. Maybe next year, a simple text msg will do?

Debater

From what I can tell, this is unprecedented in Canadian history.  A 2nd proroguing in 12 months?

The opposition parties really need to go after Harper aggressively on this one.

Troublesome Thomas

This sets a terrible precedent. From this point forward it seems that any time a government is "in trouble" on any issue, the Governor General will grant a prorogation of 6-12 weeks. Since this has already happened twice, it will be increasingly difficult for the GG to refuse the next time, and the next time after that, and the next time after that ... no matter how flimsy the reason.

This is a sad day for Canadian democracy. The role of GG has been perverted, and it wouldn't surprise me if this were the beginning of the end of our constitutional monarchy here in Canada.

Debater

True - it is not just Stephen Harper that deserves criticism, but Michaelle Jean as well.  The pair of them have behaved disgracefully over the past year.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In some countries the lawns in front of parliament would be awash with angry citizens demanding that their elected representatives be allowed to do their jobs and not be shut down by the administration in control of the levers of power.  Harper does what he does because he knows Canadians are compliant and docile for the most part.  So why is it we vote for an MP again?  In this minority parliament there has been no honest discussion and debate of the problems and the potential solutions.  Instead we have bully boys saying if you don't like it then pull the plug and opposition leaders have all taken their turns at taking the candy from the bully even though it is only worth a fraction of the lunch money stolen from them on the way to school.

I predict that in the next federal election the voter turnout will drop again and in future elections more eligible voters will stay at home rather than bother to try to elect a "seat" in the House.  There is no democracy left in Canada if my MP has no voice and a minority of the MP's are driving an agenda that the majority of voters did not support.  Harper's bold and arrogant misuse of our parliamentary system is aided and abetted by a media that does not print screaming headlines that call this move unconstitutional but instead report it as a clever procedural tactic.  Democracy requires an engaged citizenry and an independent media.  Most Canadians have not been engaged for decades and the MSM are all biased towards global imperialism.  Our supposed democracy has been a facade for awhile but now that fake front is being removed.

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

There is a writing campaign to the GG going on. You can write to the Governor General's office at: email:

In the meantime, this seems appropriate to post at this time:

mashup by twitter.com/wmacphail

OMeNerves

Debater wrote:

True - it is not just Stephen Harper that deserves criticism, but Michaelle Jean as well.  The pair of them have behaved disgracefully over the past year.

According to Soudas (spokesperson for Harper), Jean agreed to this over the phone. "All you got to do is call" I guess. Friking ridiculous. Everything about this is messed up.

info from today's star.
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/744175--pm-suspends-parliamen...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd love to see both Harper and Jean removed from their positions. I don't expect that to happen any time soon, though. Frown

johnpauljones

Debater wrote:

From what I can tell, this is unprecedented in Canadian history.  A 2nd proroguing in 12 months?

 

actually it seems the libs did something similar. it seems that the illustrius Jean Chretien the bastion of all things good in Canada made

perogies 4 times February 5, 1996; September 18, 1999; September 16, 2002; and November 12, 2003.

 

Granted that the last two were more than 12 months apart but not that much more.

KenS

Did Chretien even once do it to avoid some unfolding course of events in the House?

Its not how often Harper uses it. Its the fact he uses it to bypass one of the few, and very central, inherent controls on a minority government.

 

johnpauljones

Kens as long as the option to prorogue is there then the PM can use it at his or her discretion. the issue in my opinion should not be about Harper using it rather it should be do we even want this option avilable.

History has shown that both Chretien and Harper  used it for their own political reasons. therefore the solution is to get rid of the option. cause Jack, Iggy or any other leader would use it when they feel they want.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The simple fact is that Harper doesn't need parliament to run the government of Canada. Since the Commander in Chief seems to like him there should be no problem with Canada having a neutered parliament. All Hail the Commander and Chief and his call for allies in the perpetual war against the enemies of the civilized world.  

But what about that swine flu?  Do you think we will have a new outbreak during the Olympics and if we do will the media cover the flu instead of protests and the issues citizens want to talk about?  Democracy is a strange and wondrous system, I wonder what it would be like to live in a democratic country?

Tommy_Paine

 

Well, coming at this expensive time of year, I hope this presents no undue hardship on our Members of Parliament and our steamed senators. 

Because, of course with Parliament suspended, they won't be drawing a paycheck for work not done.

 

 

........Right........?

thanks

The title of this thread is insulting.

I understand that Alberta was early settled by a substantial American-rancher demographic, which has influenced politics in the province, with cultural and religious ties to the US west.

Rogue is definitely the more useful turn of phrase.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

Well, coming at this expensive time of year, I hope this presents no undue hardship on our Members of Parliament and our steamed senators. 

Because, of course with Parliament suspended, they won't be drawing a paycheck for work not done.

 

 

........Right........?

Mike Duffy will ask for a raise since he will have to travel more on "Senate" business with parliament not sitting.

___________________________________________

Soothsayers had a better record of prediction than economists

NDPP

Siddiqui - Harper Acting Like an Elected Dictator

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/740829

"When you add up all that this government has done, it's truly scary..."

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

And Andrew Coyne agrees with Siddiqui, in his blog on Macleans:

"Question: In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time? To ignore explicit parliamentary votes demanding the production of documents? To stonewall independent inquiries? Perhaps the rules allow it elsewhere, but is it the practice? Does convention not still forbid it? Is it not viewed in other countries as dictatorial behaviour, and therefore, you know … not done?"

Coyne suggests that Parliament should continue meeting anyway.

Debater

I don't always agree with Coyne, but on this issue he makes some good points.

ottawaobserver

Interesting interview with L. Ian MacDonald on the cycle now at CTV Newsnet.  Here's a precis of what's he's saying (although, note that he is wrong when he says that private member's business dies on the Order Paper along with Government Business; that's no longer true, but used to be when he worked in the PMO).

L. Ian MacDonald wrote:

"Harper and the fellows around him do have a propensity to get a little too fascinated with their ?brilliant? tactics ...  In the short term he gets control of Senate committees.  They do get to avoid committes of the House sitting. ...  The budget will be the 'moment of truth' for the opposition, particularly Mr. Ignatieff.  Problem: they had a successful message track in 2009 of "staying in Ottawa to make parliament work", which will now make it hard to accuse opposition of obstructionism. ... It's tactics at a cost of strategy."

One thing I'm noting ... only the Toronto Star is reporting Dimitri Soudas as saying the GG agreed to the PM's request.  Other news sources are all being very careful to say that the PM has requested a prorogation.  I wonder what the significance of that is.  Probably the write-in campaign that Kim Elliott is suggesting is well worth pursuing in that case.

As to the why's and wherefores, and further to my original prediction, the Liberals basically signalled that they would support the Conservatives' budget, no matter what was in it, when they scheduled their big "thinkers" conference for mid-March.  Thus Harper is now taking a few months (according to John Ivison's column, and his sources would know) to figure out what to put in it, and how to handle the process strategically in terms of which opposition party he chooses to deal with and over what issue.

He's also forcing the Liberals to give their thumbs-up, thumbs-down on the budget before they've had a chance to think their thoughts (to use an Iggy-ism), but after they've invested a fair bit of cash into organizing the thing.  Also, by putting the budget the day after the Throne Speech, he's trying to put ensure that the first confidence vote to occur is on budgetary policy, rather than the issue of the prorogation and new session.

I wonder if he's getting a bit too clever for his own good, but if they use the time profitably perhaps it won't be costly in the long run.  However, I think L. Ian points to the obvious opening for the NDP, which has also had the same successful message track about making Parliament work, and should try and highlight that point in the coming months when Jack and others tour our priority seats.

Debater

John Ivison provides some criticism of Stephen Harper:

 

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/30/...

ottawaobserver

OK, I guess CTV is saying that they've confirmed that the request is being granted.  I still think it's not a bad idea to express displeasure to the GG, but I gather that horse has left the barn already.

Debater

Well, some people are writing to her to complain, but no, there's not really anything that can be done.

Bookish Agrarian

I think Coyne's suggestion that the Commons keep on meeting the best one I have heard.  The optics of opposition MPs trying to earn their pay while government MPs take a three month holiday is perfect. 

I would strongly advise candidates running against government members to ask for the MP to either pass back their pays to the people of their riding, or step aside so that someone that actually wants to work for the people of 'Punky Doodles- Maple Sugar' or whatever riding they are in.  Make it a letter to the editor and my guess is they will get postive coverage.

I can also forsee a series of ads showing people in sunny vacation spots - while NDP MPs work in freezing Canada doing things like helping to shovel out walkways in their ridings, or helping out at community functions -anything, or just show a bunch of freezing Canadians trying to struggle to work through inclement weather.  Time to hit the buggers right between the eyes- or a lot lower would be even better.

Debater

ottawaobserver wrote:

Interesting interview with L. Ian MacDonald on the cycle now at CTV Newsnet.  Here's a precis of what's he's saying (although, note that he is wrong when he says that private member's business dies on the Order Paper along with Government Business; that's no longer true, but used to be when he worked in the PMO).

L. Ian MacDonald wrote:

"Harper and the fellows around him do have a propensity to get a little too fascinated with their ?brilliant? tactics ...  In the short term he gets control of Senate committees.  They do get to avoid committes of the House sitting. ...  The budget will be the 'moment of truth' for the opposition, particularly Mr. Ignatieff.  Problem: they had a successful message track in 2009 of "staying in Ottawa to make parliament work", which will now make it hard to accuse opposition of obstructionism. ... It's tactics at a cost of strategy."

One thing I'm noting ... only the Toronto Star is reporting Dimitri Soudas as saying the GG agreed to the PM's request.  Other news sources are all being very careful to say that the PM has requested a prorogation.  I wonder what the significance of that is.  Probably the write-in campaign that Kim Elliott is suggesting is well worth pursuing in that case.

As to the why's and wherefores, and further to my original prediction, the Liberals basically signalled that they would support the Conservatives' budget, no matter what was in it, when they scheduled their big "thinkers" conference for mid-March.  Thus Harper is now taking a few months (according to John Ivison's column, and his sources would know) to figure out what to put in it, and how to handle the process strategically in terms of which opposition party he chooses to deal with and over what issue.

He's also forcing the Liberals to give their thumbs-up, thumbs-down on the budget before they've had a chance to think their thoughts (to use an Iggy-ism), but after they've invested a fair bit of cash into organizing the thing.  Also, by putting the budget the day after the Throne Speech, he's trying to put ensure that the first confidence vote to occur is on budgetary policy, rather than the issue of the prorogation and new session.

I wonder if he's getting a bit too clever for his own good, but if they use the time profitably perhaps it won't be costly in the long run.  However, I think L. Ian points to the obvious opening for the NDP, which has also had the same successful message track about making Parliament work, and should try and highlight that point in the coming months when Jack and others tour our priority seats.

L. Ian MacDonald has basically become a shill for the Conservatives again in recent months.  His analysis is pretty shoddy and incomplete.

As for Ignatieff, he is not the brightest bulb, but perhaps he has learned something from his beatings by Stephen Harper in 2009 and will become more effective in 2010.

I'm not sure if the NDP is benefitting that much though as they are 12 points behind the Liberals in the latest poll you posted.

NorthReport

So all the EI improvements that the NDP negotiated to keep the Cons in power are now effectively dead. Is that correct?

Bookish Agrarian

If Ignatieff had learned anything he would have been in front of the mics the moment the rumour of peroguing was running around calling Harper a coward and daring him to throw away democracy and his own bills.  Instead Iggy brings a butter knife to a gun fight. 

Progressive Canadians are being blocked by his presence as leader of the opposition the sooner we are shut of him the better.

Troublesome Thomas

Agrarian, I had the same thought; if I were a Liberal or NDP MP - or heck even a potential candidate, I'd be spending the next 2 months banging on doors, handing out flyers, and attending every community event I could find. I'd work every bit as hard between now and March 3 as I would during an election campaign, and I'd take every single opportunity to point out how the Conservative MP's are spending their winter in hiding or on vacation.

Debater

Andrew Potter criticizes Harper's disrespect of Parliament and democracy in The Ottawa Citizen:

 

'Power and Privilege'

 

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Power+privilege/2384887/story.html

Debater

'This madness strikes at the very heart':   MP Bruce Hyer

 

http://netnewsledger.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12...

Polunatic2

MPs do constituency work when they're not in Ottawa. Demanding that they return their pay is a red herring. 

As with everything Harper does (and any leader I guess), he must be factoring how this will help him get a majority in the next election, like with the feel-good after-glow of a "successful" Olympics. With Parliament not sitting, the media will be loathe to pay much attention to the opposition unless they can come up with a show stopper of some kind. 

It's shameful that the G-G is nothing more than a rubber stamp although I don't expect her to do anything that would rock the boat of Canadian parliamentary "democracy". As noted in my now resurrected blog Prorogue, the opposition blew it last year with the coalition and that has repercussions now and in the future.

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