Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sour cream or sour grapes?

This morning Les MacPherson (SP Jan. 28/10) summed up my views of proroguing.

I heard one Liberal MP on radio the other day stating that with parliament shut down he was unable to address his constituents' concerns. Bunk. With the exception of those few national issues, ( ie abortion, death penalty, etc.) the average constituent concern is personal to them or their organization and is not dealt with in parliamentary session. The majority of MPs work is done through committees and within their own offices. Parliament is simply the big tent and the Prime Minister du jour the ringmaster. The only people really missing the session are those regular viewers of the gong show and opposition members wanting to kick start their campaigns.

If the press hadn't made an issue of a prolonged break in parliament the country wouldn't know or care or for that matter notice a difference. If the public really wants to change the format, fix in stone the days parliament will sit with a proviso for emergencies. I am not hearing the opposition leaders asking for that change.

So it is sour cream with peorgies, and sour grapes with proroguing.


  1. Well with that attitude why do we vote for anyone other than a Prime Minister?
    Also, the press was mostly choosing to ignore this until plebian voters decided to make a fuss over it. How dare we question our "betters"? We dare.

  2. Read Andrew Coyne's piece in Maclean's (January 11 or 18??). He is spot on - under legislation parliament needs to meet only once per year - and that could be the throne speech with accompanying budget. As we all know, debate in the House is now a joke and question period the typical gong show. The cabinet does all the work anyway. Committee work is a waste of time. Constituent concerns are handled by local constituency staff. Can you imagine the money that would be saved by not having MPs flying in/out of Ottawa and the living expenses involved. Harper's mistake was doing the prorogue thing rather than just calling for a longer Christmas recess. Regardless, they will all - including the opposition members - be at the gold medal Olympic hockey game at our expense.

  3. I also noted that you called this a prolonged break. In fact proroguing effectively ends the session. It is NOT a break. Harper could have called for a prolonged break but wanted to avoid uncomfortable questions and appoint new hacks for senators to push agendas that the majority of voters (note: not just eligible voters)did not ask for.

  4. What I find sour is the ignorance of the fact that dozens of bills - including most of Harper's "crime" agenda that was receiving cooperation from the Senate - died on the order paper.

    It's the parliamentary equivalent of a home builder smashing down the house halfway through - costs and time be damned - to start the same process over again.

  5. Correct me if I am wrong, but I assuming that the work that committees had performed prior to the proroguing will not simply be rounded up and burned? I understand that the processes for most of this must be started again once Parliament reconvenes, but I assume 99% of the work is in fact done outside Parliament. Why is everyone assuming that all work done up until the proroguing will just vanish?

    I don't think it is the Parliamentary equivalent of a home builder smashing down the house at all. The home builder comparison leads to the conclusion that all work done in this committees is for naught. If people believe that they are the ignorant ones.

    I think political allegiances aside, everyone in Parliament is acting like children and it begs the question of whether we need to reexamine the Parliamentary rules. You can date this entire mess back to the attempted coup of the country by the 'Coalition Forces'. Attempting to throw customary policy out the window in favour of playing the Parliamentary game by the rules the started a bad trend of using the rules of Parliament to look for an edge in the game. The Conservatives, seeing this decided they too should throw out the high ground and are now using any Parliamentary rules they can to their advantage.

    Harper, Layton, Ignatieff and Dion (at the time) should all be ashamed of themselves. Non can claim any sort of moral high ground on the other at this point. I would include Elizabeth May in there as well, but she doesn't even warrant 'pawn' status in the chess game.

    My point is, I am sick of people elating this entire thing back to Harper. Harper did not start the childish games in Parliament (granted he did not put an end to them either). This is proroguing is a result of the conduct of all parties. Quit focusing primarily on Harper, start asserting some blame to Layton and Ignatieff who have used Parliament as their personal playground in a struggle for power as well.

  6. hmmm, anon 2:15, you are wrong. The proposals that Harper put forward that spurred the oppoisition to consider a coalition to keep canadian politics fair (i.e. ensure that all political parties have some funding to put forth their ideas) was what inspired this great decline in the state of our democracy.

    To not place any blame on Harper is quite foolish, even before last fall he broke his own fixed election date law because he thought he might be able to win a majority (don't tell me it was the oppositions fault for making parliment unworkable...again the Harper & co. gave their mps a manual on how to disrupt committees and make parliment unworkable!), so I think it quite reasonable to place much of the blame for the state of our democracy on Harper.

    As for the Mistress' thoughts on proroguing...I wouldn't blame the media, I think it is a quite earnest response from the public that has kept this issue alive and as said above, if the issue was just not wanting parliment to sit, then their was no need to prorogue parliment, he could have just adjorned for a winter break. This would let the committees continue with their work...but of course then Harper would have to deal with questions about the Afghanistan detanees and the state of the economy and our balooning deficit.

  7. Tim, if you read back I noted that the first real big noise in the Parliamentary problems since the last election was the threat of the coalition government. While we can sit here and argue who cause who to do what and the motives of each person, we really don't know the inner workings of each party and dynamics in Parliament outside of what is reported.

    I did not say Harper is free from blame, in fact I said no one is able to take the high ground on this topic. My point was that every (what I presume to be every non-Conservative other than myself)has their sights set square on Harper and is laying the blame on him entirely for the state of affairs. I was simply saying that anger and disappointment should be directed to all our leaders and not just Harper.

    I was at the rally last weekend and was astonished how people blame Harper solely for this. They need to wake up and realize that all our leaders are acting like children right now and are to blame for this, they are playing by the rules of the game yes, but have lost their integrity.

    As for Parliamentary session, have you bothered to tune in lately? From the limited amount I've watched while flipping through the channels I can honestly say that I don't know if anything productive is going to be affected by this? Question period is nothing more than playground snippets going back and forth. In probably half an hour of watching I did not hear one productive comment during this so called Parliamentary debate.

    And the so called proposals that you talk about, please tell you are not referring to the political party funding legislation the Liberals put through when they were a dominant force and anticipated it would help them maintain their power? Secondly, if the coalition was simply out to keep Canadian politics fair due to big bad Harper, why did the Liberals have to make promises to NDP and Bloc to get them to commit? It was more a coalition of mercenaries then a coalition looking to keep Canadian politics fair.


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