Thursday, January 07, 2010

You Know It's Bad When

Your Prime Minister's antics are attracting attention across the pond.

CANADIAN ministers, it seems, are a bunch of Gerald Fords. Like the American president, who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, they cannot, apparently, cope with Parliament’s deliberations while dealing with the country’s economic troubles and the challenge of hosting the Winter Olympic games.

But then, the writer at the Economist takes out his knives:

The argument that previous prime ministers frequently prorogued Parliament is no more convincing. In almost every case they did so only once the government had got through the bulk of its legislative business. The Parliament that Mr Harper prorogued still had 36 government bills before it, including measures that form part of the prime minister’s much-vaunted crackdown on crime. When it reconvenes, those bills will have to start again from scratch. Past prorogations were typically brief (see article). This time sessions will be separated by a gap of 63 days.

Both points are significant, because they give Canadians a little more insight into how badly Stephen Harper is abusing our democracy.

Mr Harper is a competent tactician with a ruthless streak. He bars most ministers from talking to the media; he has axed some independent watchdogs; he has binned campaign promises to make government more open and accountable. Now he is subjecting Parliament to prime-ministerial whim.

In short, PMSH is trying to make parliament accountable to him, rather than the other way around. It is a disappointing statement indeed that a Prime Minister would behave as Harper has - and worrying indeed that he is beginning to attract the same kind of attention that Bush/Cheney did during their tenure in the USA.

The damage that Harper is doing to Canada and our government is incalculable -and it is time it stopped. It is time that the Opposition parties stood up and acted in the interests of Canadians who respect and value our democracy.

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