Wednesday, December 30, 2009

harper Prorogues Parliament (Again)

Well, he did it. Together with our shit-for-brains Governor General, harper has prorogued parliament again. His insulting rationalization is that he can concentrate on the economy (which, you'll remember, harper has been insisting has been recovering nicely thanks to his steady hand on the tiller!) but nobody believes this.

One dead-ender harpercon bleated on the CBC comments page that proroguing is a part of our parliamentary process too. That's right imbecile. It is. When a session of parliament is felt to have done its work it is prorogued and another session is prepared. It is not a tool to be used (repeatedly!!!) to hide from the opposition.

At the end of the day though, this is a good thing. harper has sealed his political doom. This is the death-knell of the "conservative" movement in Canada. We will demonstrate to the majority of Canadians the terrible danger represented by this move. We will demonstrate the significance of this travesty.

harper is only putting off the inevitable. He is going to prison.

27 comments:

Todd said...

>blink-blink!<

Take it easy, Thwap. A little more analysis, a little less hyperbole.

thwap said...

what hyperbole?

Todd said...

*"shit-for-brains Governor General"

*"It is not a tool to be used (repeatedly!!!) to hide from the opposition."

*"harper has sealed his political doom."

*"This is the death-knell of the 'conservative' movement in Canada."

*"harper . . . is going to prison."

900ft Jesus said...

Those aren't instances of hyperbole. They are meant to be taken literally. The GG's brains are shit; Harper has repeatedly used prorogation to hide from the opposition; he has sealed his political doom; Harper, by re-branding and re-designing the conservative party and replacing it with the Harper party may not have signerd the death knell of CPC, but surely has damaged it; prison? He may never go, but he has committed enough crimes. Let's see what action is taken against him internationally for enabling torture.

Anger is good right now. We should be angry at being told (metaphorically speaking) fuck you and your democracy by the PM and his gutless ass kissing, self-serving MPs and Senators.

Linda said...

What do you expect? He takes his orders from the NWO, not us. Maybe the parliament will just be abolished and now the UN will take over.

thwap said...

Todd,

900ft said something very important. Anger is very necessary right now.

I'll admit, I might be unduly optimistic about the fall-out of this for "conservatism" but I stand by my comments about the G-G (who never said a damned thing about Haiti of any value) and harper hiding from his problems by suspending democracy.

no_blah_blah_blah said...

A while back, I predicted that the Governor General would not allow the prorogation of Parliament a second time. Well, I was wrong.

I'm pretty disheartened right now. It seems that major revisions to the Constitution to prevent future undemocratic behaviour are needed.

http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/canadian-constitution-introduction-canada-s-constitutional-framework#evolving

For starters, I would seriously consider removing all powers from the office of the Governor General (and, by extension, the Monarchy). The Governor General should be for ceremonial purposes only. Unfortunately, it would be almost impossible to do (unanimous support from the House, Senate, all provincial legislatures, and figurehead Monarchy is needed).

At the same time, anyone who even mildly cares about democracy should be sweating bullets right now. There may be a lot of support for Constitutional change if a push was made for it.

Proportional representation (or single-transferable vote, or whatever) would be next up, if only to prevent a majority government from ever coming into power ever again. Imagine how bad things would be if Harper had a majority... I hope no one (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, or anyone else) ever gets a majority ever again.

This may be me being a bit emotional about it right now, but seriously, things need to be improved.

Linda,

Well, I would agree that Harper's decisions are influenced by foreign ideologies (e.g. U.S. Republicans).

As for the UN, the UN couldn't even get its own member states (the U.S., Britain, and coalition) from attacking another member state (Iraq). The UN can't even get member states to agree on carbon dioxide emission goals, let alone hard targets. The UN would likely be the wimpiest "world government" in the galaxy.

double nickel said...

The msm has not reported one single story confirming the GG's decision, no interviews, nothing. Harper pulls this shit between Christmas and New Year's...is anyone in the press working? WTF?? Meanwhile, most Canadians don't have a foggy fucking clue how their government works, and sadly, could care less.

Sir Francis said...

Watching the G-G slobber all over Harper's scaly knob with this second assent to an objectively illegitimate prorogation request is a particularly sad day for us monarchists. The vice-regal office really has become a total, worthless farce.

I never thought I could be persuaded of the virtues of abolition, but I'm closer now than I've ever been.

thwap said...

Personally, I always thought it'd be easier to acquiesce to a figurehead then to waste time pursuing a republic.

But Michelle-Jean has done such a fine job of disgracing her office, using it to provide a despotic PM to abuse democracy that it might just be worth it to abolish it.

I wonder if any of her actions can be explained by her husband's separatist leanings. I'd prefer to debate and contest honestly with separatists than to countenance this sleazy destruction of our institutions from within.

nitroglycol said...

Apparently in Sweden the monarch's position is now entirely ceremonial, and his/her reserve powers have been given to the Speaker. Maybe we should consider the same thing here?

Todd said...

900 ft. Jesus said:

"Those aren't instances of hyperbole. They are meant to be taken literally." "

I'll do you the favour of responding to your intent and not your words.

"The GG's brains are shit"

You seem to be interested in assigning to her some _personal_ failing without once examining the circumstances surrounding her position as GG. From what I've been able to find out, she's nothing much more than a good little liberal; her documented actions (adopting a Haitian orphan, working at women's shelters; all individual actions with little thought to larger, collective action, good enough to salve her own qualms) hardly suggest someone who wants to get Conservatives out of power and keep them out. She seems far more likely to play nicely by the rules as they've been written. It's unfair and unrealistic to hang all hope on her then vilify her for "not doing anything".

(Do you often hang all if not most of your hopes and aspirations on a leader's actions, Jesus? You might want to reconsider that, especially in light of Obama.)

Is what Harper's done illegal? Obviously not.

Is it unfair? Naturally, but bourgeois parliaments aren't well noted for meeting standards of fairness. They're loci for struggle, and that can get ugly (even between bourgeois factions). Harper's a right-wing bastard not a fool: he'll play hardball as long as he has to to get as much of his way as he can.

"Harper has repeatedly used prorogation to hide from the opposition"

Given his governments' status as a minority, what _else_ do you expect from him? See my remark above about fairness in any parliament.

"he has sealed his political doom; Harper, by re-branding and re-designing the conservative party and replacing it with the Harper party may not have signerd the death knell of CPC, but surely has damaged it"

Oh, I see. Another red Tory, are you?

Just in case you haven't clued in for the past two decades or so: governments (and not just Canadian ones) have been moving further and further to the political Right. Why have we seen a further shift to the right from the Liberals? Because (surprise!) the Cons are ideologically there to begin with.

(cont'd)

Todd said...

(cont'd from above)

"prison? He may never go, but he has committed enough crimes."

I'd enjoy seeing this happen (not that it'd change much else), but what slamdunk proof do you have that he's committed them? What's happened to Bush II, Cheney, etc. after they stepped down? And they're even filthier than Harper: Harper just found himself in charge of (part of) an occupation; he never actually started a war (yet).

"Let's see what action is taken against him internationally for enabling torture."

Again: Bush II and Cheney.

"Anger is good right now."

Fine. Let's have a good measure of intelligence with it instead of just operatic howling and Menshevik kvetching about how _unfair_ the PM is being.

"We should be angry at being told (metaphorically speaking) fuck you and your democracy by the PM and his gutless ass kissing, self-serving MPs and Senators."

I don't know. I keep missing those remarks about (what spirit) bourgeois democracy (has) being ignored, drowned out as they are by the even more constant and long-lasting (over a century) "Fuck yous!" towards workers, homosexuals, women, internationalists, sovereignists, etc. that I've been hearing and reading about.

Linda said:

"He takes his orders from the NWO"

Boy, I hope that's a joke . . . .

Thwap said:

"I stand by my comments about the G-G (who never said a damned thing about Haiti of any value)"

She's just a liberal (how well off her family in Haiti was and how much she identified with it I don't know), so what do you expect? She adopted a haitian kid; so far as she's probably concerned, she's done her heavy lifting for her lifetime.

As for the comments about abolishing the monarchy here, fine; I'm all for it. But What Is To Be Done?

nbbb said:

"At the same time, anyone who even mildly cares about democracy should be sweating bullets right now."

Can you explain to me succinctly what the nature of this danger is? WRT the prorogation, all I see is Harper doing what he's allowed to do (or, at least, what he's not been forbidden to do). I don't see Parliament being abolished, I don't see the other parties being driven from the building, I don't even see vote manipulation a la Jeb Bush.

"Well, I would agree that Harper's decisions are influenced by foreign ideologies (e.g. U.S. Republicans)."

Oh for God's sake! You make it sound as though conservatism is some static thing that didn't even originate in the Eden That Was Canada (at Some Unguessed Time in the Past). His antics couldn't have come from Thatcher's Britain, oh, NO! They're just so damn _polite_ over there . . . .

no_blah_blah_blah said...

Todd,

Repeated prorogation is unsettling because it allows a very small group of individuals to halt (and in some cases, reset) work being done by Parliament (which is the only elected body on the federal level). Of course, prorogation doesn't give the executive branch dictatorial powers or anything. It does prevent our elected body from doing its work, and that is sufficient hindrance to a functioning democracy.

Repeated prorogation is also a bad precedent. It doesn't matter if it's Harper doing it now. Once it's been done, I can assure you that future prime ministers may be willing to do the same thing regardless of their political affiliation. If it was the Liberals or NDP doing it, I would be sweating bullets equally hard.

As for Harper's ideology, I will concede that I was speaking in haste. Conservatism would exist in Canada with or without foreign influence, as it does everywhere else.

ephemeral said...

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. --E.L. Doctorow

I know, this has nothing to do with Jean or Harper. Whatever! From one writer to another, Happy New Year. I love you. mmmvvvvaaaa.

Todd said...

nbbb said:

"Repeated prorogation is unsettling" and "Repeated prorogation is also a bad precedent."

This matches with what I've been reading from somewhat cooler heads: it's not in the parliamentary tradition (parliamentary conventions) even though it's not something illegal. What really frightens me isn't so much that someone's doing it as that it hasn't been made unconstitutional under the law yet. I strongly suspect it's because the "gentlemen" who made that "gentlemen's agreement" (among others) figured they could all use it when they wanted to.

"it allows a very small group of individuals to halt (and in some cases, reset) work being done by Parliament (which is the only elected body on the federal level)."

Yes, it's about the torture. It's pretty blatant, I think. Hopefully, this'll stick for the next election (if not the ones after that).

"Of course, prorogation doesn't give the executive branch dictatorial powers or anything. It does prevent our elected body from doing its work, and that is sufficient hindrance to a functioning democracy."

It delays it, sure, and in cases it can reset things, as you've said. But, if this resetting happens, what's preventing someone from just starting again?

". . . It doesn't matter if it's Harper doing it now. Once it's been done, I can assure you that future prime ministers may be willing to do the same thing regardless of their political affiliation."

Yes, I can see it being done again if something isn't done about it.

"If it was the Liberals or NDP doing it, I would be sweating bullets equally hard."

It's an annoyance and a blatant ploy (both now and a year ago), but I'm still lost when it comes to that fear you're trying to transmit.

thwap said...

ephemeral,

Hah! Nice to see you.

Todd, (and all), more tomorrow!

no_blah_blah_blah said...

Todd,

You're absolutely correct that even with stuff resetting, all Parliament will do is just start over. Given that work does take time, I guess how much we should worry/be annoyed is directly proportional with how frequently Parliament is prorogued. If prorogation significantly slows down Parliament in the future, I guess that there would be a major shift to private member's bills.

Now that I have had time to cool off, you're also right that I really don't have anything to really fear. Checks and balances exist for a reason. I guess my uneasiness comes from the fact that someone with a fair bit of power is willing to do all this.

Regardless, thanks for cooling my head off. It's always good to exchange ideas. :)

Alison said...

But it isn't just any old reset button, is it?
It's a reset button that will allow Harper to reform the sitting senate committees to include the 5 new Cons that he will be appointing to them before parliament reconvenes.
It's a reset button that will require unanimous parliamentary consent to bring back any of the 30 odd bills - the real work of parliament - that have now been killed off by proroguing. Harper has scuttled a year's worth of work in the parliamentary committees - including his own apparently not-so-important-after-all crime bills - just to consolidate his power.
A reset button used to prevent government accountability in committees scuttles the only federal democratic voice we have in Canada.
And he can do this because Iggy has spent the last year promising anyone who will listen that the Libs will not support any form of future coalition.

Todd said...

Alison said:

"It's a reset button that will require unanimous parliamentary consent to bring back any of the 30 odd bills"

Ah! Now this is an interesting point I wasn't aware of.

As you said, Alison, Harper's scuttled his own party's bills, too. This dovetails quite nicely with what I read from Dawg's link to Andrew Coyne's comment about Harper pissing off his own party's constituents.

This just might blow up in his face, y'know: going for the short-term gain to lose long-term if he calls a general election.

Consolidating his power? It really looks to me far more frantic and defensive a maneuver in nature.

Alison said...

Frantic and defensive? I disagree.
With the opp parties silenced, Harper will spend February singing O Canada while being photographed with Owelympic stars to get himself into majority territory. Come March 3 he'll reintroduce a poison pill into the budget to trigger an election - killing off public funding for the political parties "in these tough economic times" would be a good one - and voilĂ  - he gets his majority in both the House and Senate.
And what's fucking Iggy's response? He's planning a cross-country townhall tour of universities for the third week of March.
Screwed.

Todd said...

Alison said:

"Frantic and defensive? I disagree."

I'm assuming that this second prorogation is due to the torture fiasco; do you think it had been planned before this appeared? Maybe, but there's too much of a coincidence and the whistleblowers have been having a better showing in the media, I think, than official mouthpieces.

"Harper will spend February singing O Canada while being photographed with Owelympic stars to get himself into majority territory."

Maybe. These poll numbers say the possibility is there:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/091230/canada/canada_us_politics_67

But I think we're going to see more torture stuff come out, and there's still the legal battle to get more information on it that has to be fought.

Still time for this to turn around.

As for the Liberals, yes. As for the NDP and BQ, it's telling how far they've tacked to the right that they're apparently not bothering to educate their constituents and keep the torture meme alive.

Mentarch said...

"It really looks to me far more frantic and defensive a maneuver in nature."

Exactly. That is the point. That was also the point the last time Harper did this.

All this bypassing of parliament is about one thing and one thing only: buy time and hope that the chronic short-term memory affliction of Canadian citizens erases essentially the whole of the previous year, all the while having the "political space" to work out message framing, spin and other tactics (including outright lies) to defend against the opposition once parliament reconvenes.

Beause Harper and his Harpies understand very well the following equation:

short-term memory defects of citizens + time + better message framing/spin/lies = better (if not improving) poll numbers

And thus being able to continue functionnng as a majority government before a happless, funding cash-starving, opposition.

That is how it has been going since the CPC came to power in 2006, folks.

In the end, the problem remains the same: our fellow citizens, their need for instant gratification and their short attention span.

So the real question is: how to cure this short ttention span syndrome which is apparently afflicting the majority of Canadians?

Mentarch said...

P.S. Read Boris' latest take on the opposition as further support of my pont that the opposition is hapless right now, thus allowing Harper and the CPC to function as a majority government - even though they are a de facto minority one ...

no_blah_blah_blah said...

Mentarch,

I guess one way to combat public apathy is to run ads to remind people of what truly makes Canada worth caring about. Ask people why they are proud to be Canadian. (If the majority answer turns out to be hockey, my head may explode.) Note that the system has a glaring flaw that the Prime Minister can use to hinder Parliament, and note that a whopping 32 bills will have to be taken from the beginning (including the Conservatives' own anti-crime bill).

I know that it is tougher than it sounds to actually make people care about politics. (It seems to be a burning question after every election when turnout is low.) If the possibility of our democracy suddenly turning into a super-slow and super-inefficient version of itself at the whim of only a single person isn't enough to make people care (regardless of whatever position they may take), I don't know what else can be done...

Todd said...

Mentarch said:

"how to cure this short ttention span syndrome which is apparently afflicting the majority of Canadians?"

The slow way: education, agitation, and organization.

Mind you, I'm fairly certain this formula tends to be ignored by the less radical ie liberal and "social democratic" Left in Canada (which is the majority, unfortunately).

"hapless opposition"

Maybe. I have my doubts that the Liberals would've acted much differently in important ways than the Conservatives on stuff like cuts to taxes and spending; they might even have tried to block our Torturegate (although possibly with less viciousness). They and the other parties are probably hoping the Tories will hang themselves with all the rope they're buying, come in and do much the same thing in substantive ways (much differently in other ways, too).

Mentarch said...

"The slow way: education, agitation, and organization.

Mind you, I'm fairly certain this formula tends to be ignored by the less radical ie liberal and "social democratic" Left in Canada (which is the majority, unfortunately).
"

Pray tell - I've blogged and proferred this solution often enough in my little corner of the blogosphere.

The question posited above was rhetorical - by the way.