Thursday, January 07, 2010

Memory Lane

From a Liberal press release, some oldies and goodies:

The Liberals, apparently, want to prorogue the House. They want to run out of town, get out of town just one step ahead of the sheriff. Is the Liberal government committed to staying here as planned throughout the month of November so that it can be held accountable in the House for its actions?” (Stephen Harper, Hansard, October 20, 2003)

Now is it true that the government will prorogue the House so that it will not be held accountable for its shameful record?” (Stephen Harper, Hansard, October 20, 2003)

I'm pretty convinced now that they intend to prorogue and run away from accountability.” (Jay Hill, Alaska Highway News, November 17 2005)

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they decided to prorogue Parliament... I'm sorry if I sound a little cynical... This is a government (for which) the rules of engagement don't apply. They'll move the goal post, change the boundaries and bribe the referee.” (Peter MacKay, Nanaimo Daily News, July 18, 2005)

It's like hitting tilt on a pinball machine... I think it's a bald-faced admission that the government doesn't really have an agenda and... that there's a few contentious bills that I think they just want to deep-six.” (Peter MacKay, Canadian Press, September 16, 2002)

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  • Of course, the flip side of that is that the Grits are now opposing what they once supported. So neither side can claim moral superiority.

    By Anonymous crocker jarmon, at 6:54 p.m.  

  • Amusing, but for Tim and Jane Horton all it does it re-enforce the Conservative point that the Liberals prorogue too, and opposition parties always get upset, and political parties always say one thing and do another, so a pox on all their houses. And by making it a wash the Conservatives come out ahead.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7:01 p.m.  

  • Liberal governments used Prorogue to end a session AFTER bills had been run through. Never have so many bills been left undecided as with the current Conservative "government".

    Even more telling, Harper's governments have "sat" far less than any other governments in history. While prorogue is the established way to end the business of the House, it is apparent that Harper and his government are NOT GOVERNING. The days of each session are telling. The number of bills left on the floor are telling.

    It's not just the fact that a prorogue happened. It's the context, and when push comes to shove, it's about the number of days your government is WORKING FOR YOU. In this case, not a lot...

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 7:41 p.m.  

  • Not to mention that unlike previous Liberal admins, Harper and the Cons campaigned on the basis of bringing us greater 'accountability' etc...

    By Blogger Frank Frink, at 9:00 p.m.  

  • I agree with you, WG. But getting people to sit down and listen to us explain that important nuance will be a challenge, no?

    By Blogger Jeff, at 9:14 p.m.  

  • "Liberal governments used Prorogue to end a session AFTER bills had been run through. Never have so many bills been left undecided as with the current Conservative "government".

    Chretien "killed" plenty of his own legislation in 2002 - and delayed a damaging auditor-general's report. I say "killed" because bills can be picked up where they were left by a vote of parliament, and private members bills stay where they were.

    To me the one consistent and strong argument against Harper's prorogation is that it buries the detainee issue. Other arguments are weaker, will resonate less, and allow Harper to draw on more Liberal precedents.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 3:22 a.m.  

  • Egads, but this is driving me crazy all over the internet. The noun is prorogation, not prorogue. You cannot say "Liberal governments used Prorogue..." - it would be Liberal governments used prorogation...

    Sorry to be nitpicky but i just cannot get over how many people are getting this verb/noun thing wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 a.m.  

  • Apologies Anon. But Jeff get to the heart of it. In an Angus Reid poll, folks may say "yeah, I am againt prorogation" but it won't sway their vote either way. For the reasons Mr. Jedras mentioned.

    The Facebook/activist element are most likely Harper haters anyway. The Grits best weapon, that of arguing the Cons just wanted a holiday (used so well against Stock Day) was blown up by Ignatieff being at his holiday home in France when Harper was in Centre Block. Could still work, but once again, the Grits are starting 10 feet behind when they should have been 10 feet ahead.

    By Anonymous crocker jarmon, at 9:51 a.m.  

  • I tend to agree with H2H. There's nothing wrong with proroguing. Sure, Harper's used it a bit more frequently than the Liberals and it shuts down the House an extra 2 months and kills some bills...but those afronts aren't THAT much worse than anything past govs would have done.

    But there is an argument they're doing it to squash the detainee issue. That doesn't seem to be the aspect of the issue that's resonating with the public, but to me, that's their worst sin in this.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:24 a.m.  

  • True Jeff. It will be tough, unless the focus is on this government running from a torture coverup, with some focus on the prorogation as a "free holiday" - as long as Iggy gets back to work this coming week.

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 2:07 p.m.  

  • I'm with H2H and CG... proroguing really doesn't make any difference to me, but it does seem it's an evasion tactic from the abuse and torture issue.

    By Anonymous Jason Bo Green, at 6:18 p.m.  

  • Prorogue is a legal tactic used by many past Canadian Governments.

    If we speak of morals, then Liberals would be wise to quiet down.

    To join in a coalition with the NDP to overthrow a fairly elected government is a direct attempt to thwart democracy.

    Canadians voted in a conservative government. That means Canadians did not want more of the same rip-offs made so clear by Gomery's investigation.

    Liberals are on such thin ice.

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 9:13 p.m.  

  • Tony: Canadians don't vote for governments, they vote for for Members of Parliament. The government is formed from those Members and exists for as long as it retains the confidence of those Members.

    There is nothing undemocratic about the directly elected representatives of Canadians challenging the government.

    There is nothing undemocratic about a majority of MPs representing a majority of Canadians challenging a minority government.

    By Blogger Paul Turnbull, at 9:34 p.m.  

  • Except that Ignatieff admitted in his interview with Paul Wells that he would make a "scandal" out of any prorogation by the Conservatives.

    I have yet to find a single individual, who claims to have been scandalized by the prorogation, who can explain exactly what it is that cannot survive a few extra days until the next Session of Parliament begins.

    I can only congratulate the media for following the leadership of the Liberal spin machine, telling Canadians that they must be upset, without knowing why.

    By Blogger Paul, at 6:16 a.m.  

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