Sunday, January 24, 2010

A brief history of why no one cares about prorogation

"Anyone can get 20,000 in a Facebook group - call me when they pass the 127,000 in the anti-coalition groups." (now 214,000)

"Oh, that's just Facebook. It won't impact the polls." (Liberals and Conservatives in virtual tie)

"But no one really cares. No one will actually show up at the protests." (most estimates have comparable crowd sizes to last year's coalition rallies)

So now...

It's all the media's fault!

26 Comments:

  • Pretty funny coming from a guy that works for a think tank purportedly supporting democracy.

    Or very sad.

    By Blogger Mike, at 10:37 PM  

  • Genius. What better way to illustrate unimportance of issue and convince the media to downplay story than by writing a whole article about prorogation and furiously attacking media? Those chess-players are so much smarter than us simple checkers enthusiasts. So smart, they're even capable of checkmating themselves...

    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 10:48 PM  

  • You know what the best thing is about these protests? They managed to get FullComment to shut up for nearly 2 full days!

    By Anonymous DR, at 12:24 AM  

  • Good God. Thanks to your link I now have to wash my internet with coke and a scrunched up newspaper... Canadiansenseless and Wilnot remain our nation's best gift to irrelevant comedy since we combined 'shatner' with 'music'...

    By Blogger rockfish, at 2:58 AM  

  • I am so impressed that the opposition to the unified right will again be shared by the NDP, the Liberals and, to a lesser degree, the Greens. If only the Liberals or NDP had a leader that could really spark a media driven campaign...

    By Blogger ridenrain, at 4:01 AM  

  • How funny that the Reforms who were all about grassroots and small government are now trying to diss the grassroots anti-prorogue rallies!

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:56 AM  

  • How funnier that their best excuse is "Chretien did it."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:31 PM  

  • Taylor's leaving out the moral dimensions to this. Harper only has a minority government. That's not comparable to majority governments wielding the prorogue power. At least they can argue to have been given a mandate to use such a unilateral power.

    This is a very important point, and Harper gets away too often with it not being made.

    By Blogger Mark Francis, at 4:10 PM  

  • Mark - I don't know if a majority government really excuses abusing power...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:46 PM  

  • A majority certainly has more leave to prorogue than a minority, which is the point. Consistently pointing that out makes it all the worse.

    By Blogger Mark Francis, at 5:46 PM  

  • Thanks, CG. As usual, you're rigt on target about harper's supporters.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:06 PM  

  • Frankly, I don't know why Liberals would spend much time defending or attacking the past. They are all highly distinguishable from what Harper has done here.

    It is not just prorogation that is the issue here.

    It is prorogation in the face of serious accountability questions and plummetting polls.

    It is the length of prorogation and shutting down committees.

    It is a pattern of systematically shutting any Parliamentary committee that asks tough accountability questions, like he did with Justice, Environment, Ethics all before he shut down the special committee on Afghanistan.

    It is frustrating the work of independent oversight and accountability commissions, like the Information Commission and the Military Police Complaints Commission, ignoring their orders requiring the production of documents and information, fighting them tooth and nail to prevent witnessess coming forward, fighting them in court.

    It is about Harper punishing the independent civil servants in charge of accountability for crossing him: firing the MPCC chair, firing the Information Commissioner, firing the head of AECL, slashing the budget of the Budget Office and not providing him with required information.

    It is being in contempt of Parliament by ignoring a Parliamentary subpoena.

    It is not just about an 83 day Harper Holiday so Conservative MPs can enjoy a longer stay in California or head off to pricey tickets at the Olympics, but a core governance issue of accountability and democracy. That's why almost 30,000 Canadians from over 50 cities went out to protest on a cold January day, why Harper has lost a 15% advantage in a month, why 220,000 Canadians signed up on a Facebook page (many many of whom had never joined a political group of any kind before).

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 9:12 PM  

  • Well said Ted

    with an unwritten constitution, context is everything

    By Blogger Northern PoV, at 11:23 AM  

  • Actually, I agree with Mark. It's unforgiveable for a minority government to run for cover. Legally, they could and should be defeated if the opposition are ready to vote the same way.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:13 PM  

  • Mark - are you suggesting that if Harper had a majority of seats in the House, proroguing to avoid questions about Afghan detainees would be acceptable?

    If so, I disagree.

    By Anonymous Jason Bo Green, at 4:03 PM  

  • It's unforgiveable for a minority government to run for cover.

    But... forgiveable for a majority?

    I'm confused on the morality you're working with here.


    NICE! Word Verification: labia

    By Anonymous jason Bo Green, at 4:04 PM  

  • "It's unforgiveable for a minority government to run for cover.

    But... forgiveable for a majority?"

    IMO, it's a bad thing if there is important legislation in the works.

    Otherwise, cutting the session short by a couple of weeks is a gray area.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:42 AM  

  • "I'm confused on the morality you're working with here."

    Never be in doubt about their morality.

    The Liberals lie and cheat when they get in trouble. The harperites lie and cheat as a S.O.P.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:45 AM  

  • it's a bad thing if there is important legislation in the works.

    Sure, but that's not what you said -- your comment was about seat count.

    Get your story straight, loser.

    By Blogger Bo Green, at 7:19 AM  

  • "it's a bad thing if there is important legislation in the works.

    Sure, but that's not what you said -- your comment was about seat count.

    Get your story straight, loser."

    What graciousness!

    I say it again. It's unforgivable for a minority government that governs alone.

    Regardless of seat count, there should be no proroque if important legislature is pending.

    It may be acceptable if the agenda has been cleared and MPs are given a two week holiday,

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:56 PM  

  • "Regardless of seat count, there should be no proroque if important legislature is pending."

    You're aware that in a new session of the same Parliament, Private Members Bills are automatically reinstated at the stage they were at prior to prorogation, right? And that Government Bills may be reinstated at the same stage by approval of the House? (The Government, by redirecting its agenda through the new Throne Speech, is granted the opportunity to determine which of its Bills should be adjusted.)

    If important legislation is pending (and there is always important legislation pending), it will continue with the process in the new Session of Parliament.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 12:03 PM  

  • "You're aware that in a new session of the same Parliament, Private Members Bills are automatically reinstated at the stage they were at prior to prorogation, right? And that Government Bills may be reinstated at the same stage by approval of the House? (The Government, by redirecting its agenda through the new Throne Speech, is granted the opportunity to determine which of its Bills should be adjusted.)

    If important legislation is pending (and there is always important legislation pending), it will continue with the process in the new Session of Parliament."

    The point is this! Why take a holiday when there's work to be done now?

    A government's job is to address the needs of the country. Can a government arbitrarily decide that the country's needs are not urgent?

    Do we really need that government?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:38 PM  

  • Actually Paul, that talking point does not really fly with reality.

    Technically, the crime legislation - that Harper thought was important enough to browbeat the opposition over regarding alleged delays but didn't think was important enough to actually pass - can be brought back at the same stage. If it was, the delay in these "important" "critical" changes in the Criminal Code would only be delayed by 6 months or so.

    However, unanimous consent of the House is required to reinstate them at the same stage. Most of these did not have unanimous consent the first time around so what makes you think they will get unanimous consent to be fast-tracked?

    Especially when Harper has shown that he only cares about his legislative agenda so long as it is a useful political footbal. He's not all that interested in actually getting things passed.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 2:09 PM  

  • I agree. This is our moment. This time we can say the PM's time is up and we mean it!

    Stop the madness! Stop the Killing! Stop Harper!

    He is wrecking our precious democracy and Canada will be no better than Iran if we give this thug one more month of power.

    We Liberals know we would crush the Tories in the next election so why are we waiting? Bring the house down!!!

    By Anonymous Concerned Liberals for a Better Canada, at 3:55 PM  

  • It's funny, because Mark said it was wrong for a minority, but okay for a majority, and you chimed in to agree - so once again, get your story straight. Loser.

    By Blogger Bo Green, at 7:09 PM  

  • Bo,

    Get your facts right. Mark said, "A majority certainly has more leave to prorogue than a minority, which is the point."

    He didn't say that it was always okay for a majority. Only that a majority gives you some flexibility.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:04 PM  

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