Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deep breath everybody

Stephen Harper has prorogued Parliament to escape a Speakers Warrant being issued in the new year for the Afghan detainee documents.

This is not surprising and it is certainly an outrageous affront to our democracy but let's not get too excited.

This is not permanent. He has not put troops into the streets. He has not otherwise done real harm to our institutions. He has merely taken a longstanding Parliamentary practice and abused it. Like I said not very surprising with this guy as we all know ideologues like him always believe that the end justifies the means.

Besides pointing out this abuse to Canadians, Liberals should be quietly ensuring that their own leadership would not do the same thing in the future. Mr. Harper's diminishing of Canadian democracy will only become permanent if his Liberal successor does the same thing, given similar circumstance. That may seem like an odd statement but politicians, when in power, always do what has been proven to be successful in the past regardless of their rhetoric when they were not in power. If Stephen Harper does indeed get away with this then some of his successors may decide to take similar actions as him if they find themselves in a little bit of political trouble. This may be particularly true in another minority government situation.

If Liberals believe otherwise about their leadership our democracy really is in danger from Mr. Harper's actions.

As an aside to Conservatives do not think for a moment that Canadians will not notice Mr. Harper's actions. You may be correct that it will have no immediate impact on Conservative fortunes and it is obvious that Mr. Harper and his advisors are only thinking of the immediate but his actions reek of arrogance and cynicism and these are always the downfall of governments. Canadians recognise them and do not like them in their politicians and eventually punish them for it.

To Liberals, provided that a Liberal government does not pull a similar stunt in the future, there is a silver lining to what Mr. Harper has done. The level or arrogance we are seeing from this government is usually followed by a big fall. Think Mulroney, Harris or Trudeau. Mr. Harper has bought himself three months but it could cost the Conservatives four or more years soon afterwards.


Blogger CanadianSense said...

I don't think granting an extra 21 sitting days is an abuse.

The reset button has been pressed and the government will be busy working on presenting a new budget and new appointments for the senate.

The Liberals have abused their majority in Senate instead of doing their duty in the HOC. Now they can't hide behind the Senate in delaying or obstructing legislation. This is a good thing for our democracy.

Let's hope the Liberal rise to the occassion and do their job as the loyal official opposition.

December 31, 2009 3:21 PM  
Blogger CanadianSense said...

those 21 sitting days can be rescheduled after March 3, 2009.

(First sentence was not clear)

Great blog, best of luck in 2010.

December 31, 2009 3:24 PM  

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