Westminster system
1 min

Prorogation confines Parliament to irrelevance

In the event that you didn’t catch it, when the government decided to prorogue Parliament this last time around, their spokesperson openly mused that this should become an annual event, so that they can start fresh with a Throne Speech and budget every year. But it’s just proof that the government is confining Parliament to irrelevance, argues one Political Science professor. After all, it means the government can simply prorogue Parliament every time that it becomes inconvenient – and that is one of the most dangerous aspects of all.

There is some reaction to Harper’s rather “Imperial” style of leadership coming out, and both the Liberals and the NDP are saying that some rules in Parliament need to change to prevent future Prime Ministers from single-handedly suspending Parliament on a whim.

That said, the Governor General should be able to say no to a Prime Minister advising her to prorogue, right? In theory, yes – but remember how the Conservatives very skilfully used their media machine to poison the idea of a coalition to the Canadian public, equating a very legal and commonplace Parliamentary alignment with a coup d’état that they would take to the people to fight. A Governor General who denied a Prime Minister a prorogation (or even an election contravening his own fixed election date) would be immediately denounced as a “partisan appointee who has overstepped her constitutional authority and the democratically elected will of the people,” and the likes. Never mind that the message confuses a liberal democracy with mob rule, but you know that would be the message, thus further poisoning the well of political engagement in this nation.

(And no, I don’t think an elected Head of State would solve that problem. In fact, I would argue that the new division of powers would create further partisan tension and deadlock in the political process).

Meanwhile, the next move out of the PMO is likely to be five new Senate appointments, which some sources say are due to happen any day now.

Meanwhile, Don Newman believes we’re in for a spring election. It’s a worthwhile analysis to consider, anyway.
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