Wouldn’t you love to have three months of holiday vacation? Wouldn’t it just be splendid to wake up to a duty-free day, to crashed on the couch watching the luge during the 2010 Olympics? Wouldn’t you be upset if your parents chose to do just this instead of going to work to provide you with food, heating and to cover your tuition costs?
Welcome to Parliament Hill, where there is enough dust settling on the seats in the House of Commons to compress and create a new star. At the end of December, Harper picked up his phone and asked his good friend, the Governor General, to prorogue Parliament. This means that all motions and orders, including parliamentary committees (such as the committee investigating the Afghanistan POW scandal), are dissolved. Harper then decided to let the Canadian people know that they wouldn’t be able to reach their Members of Parliament for another two months via an announcement made by his PR representative.
Along with this announcement, Harper voiced his plan of action upon recommencing Parliament on the third of March. It’s a hefty list comprised of three agenda items. First, completely implement the economic action plan. Second, mend the deficit once the economy has recovered. Last, but not least, build the economy of the future. Nothing concerning social programs. Nothing concerning environmental initiatives. Nothing concerning the investigation into the POWs turned in to Afghanistan authorities to be tortured. Parliament was supposed to recommence on January 25.
On January 5, while most of Canada was tuned into the World Junior Hockey Championships, an interview was aired on CBC between journalist Peter Mansbridge and currently-out-of-office Prime Minister Harper. When asked how long he would like to see the current government last, Harper responded, I’m prepared to see this government and this Parliament go on as long as it can. I want to see it be productive. I want to see us do what we said we would do. But I don’t really want to see this Parliament end early. I’m enjoying the job. Can a fireman productively respond to fire alarms if he isnt in the firehouse?
The Chretien administration prorogued Parliament four times over a period of ten years. In contrast, the government under Harper has prorogued 3 times since 2006. In December 2008, Harper suspended Parliament and prevented his position from being dissolved by a vote of no confidence or to bereplaced by a coalition of Liberals and NDPs. It worked last year, so why not try for another extended holiday this year as well? Maybe the Afghanistan torture scandal will be buried under the snow blown about by the Olympics.
On Wednesday of last week, about twenty hopefuls met in the Green Room of the Student Centre to plan a Mississauga rally against prorogation. Attendees shared their ideas on the best ways to spread awareness and grab the attention of Members of Parliament. The date for the Mississauga rally is set for this Saturday, January 16 at 2 p.m.
Another meeting will be held before the rally this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Room 100 in the Student Centre (the Green Room). All are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate. Volunteers are needed to assist with outreach, collecting endorsements and preparing materials for the rally.
The rally in Toronto will be held on January 23 at 1 pm at Yonge and Dundas. Details can be found at the Citizens for Democracy website.