25 January 2010

Prorogued! Harper v. Chretien

Michael Ignatieff has unveiled a set of rules he hopes will one day govern the proroguing of Parliament. Good for him. In the meantime, as always, Conservative supporters are shouting "Hypocrisy!" and argue that Jean Chretien prorogued 4 times and Harper only 2, so Liberals should all just shut up.

Like their leader, they have not yet realized that the job of opposition is different from the job of government.So let's compare apples to apples.

Comparing absolute number of prorogues ignores TIME GOVERNED: JC at more than 10 years and Harper at less than 4 means Harper prorogues more frequently.

It also ignores the TIME PROROGUED: Harper's two already total more days prorogued than JC's 4, and in way less than half the time. Let's be clear: this prorogation marks more total days prorogued for Harper's Conservatives in less than four years than for JC's Liberals in more than ten - including JC's final prorogation that was called to permit the leadership race in which Paul Martin became leader.

Finally, and most importantly, it ignores the REASON for the prorogation: in Chretien's four cases, to allow the suspension of government for an election or leadership race; in Harper's two cases, for no legitimate government purpose, but rather for the illegitimate, selfish, and anti-democratic purpose of avoiding a non-confidence vote (2008) then avoiding scrutiny of parliamentary committees (2010).

And this time Harper had to abandon more than 20 bills on his own government's agenda just to suspend the work of one committee. He obviously doesn't think his agenda is worth working on, and neither do most Canadians. In the meantime, rabid Tories are out shouting "FOUR IS MORE THAN TWO," which is admittedly true but which also is a far-too-simple analysis pronounced by far-too-simple people.

How do you like them apples?



Blogger Luctor et Emergo said...

Good them apples.

January 25, 2010  

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