Politics
2 min

Time to suspend Parliament?

Looking for a way to keep the special committee on Afghanistan from holding emergency meetings during the winter break? How about prorogation? That’s the rumour swirling around the Hill, according to the Globe and Mail, which is not out of character for this government. In fact, they’re saying that Harper might keep Parliament suspended until after the Olympics. Of course it’s a fairly dangerous thing to keep Parliament suspended for that long – if an emergency happens that requires Parliament to be recalled quickly, they would have to go through the Speech From the Throne process first of all, but hey – what better way to avoid further accountability, or to flout the will of Parliament?

For a government so keen to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gasses, they’re certainly going about it in a very peculiar way. The CBC today revealed that they had been given access to cabinet briefings which show that the government is really looking to follow American targets which would see more relaxed targets for certain sectors – like mining and the oil sector – which would allow their emissions to actually increase rather than go down, though not as much. Because you know, Obama is serious about reducing GHGs, and so is this government.

There were also shenanigans in Copenhagen by groups who put out releases claiming Canada was going to adopt serious targets – and our government freaked out. It turned out to be a hoax by the Yes Men, but it was still a bit of drama that was out of the ordinary.

On the heels of the government deciding that it needs to review our security certificate legislation (which I will remind you is actually part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as it is a measure designed to deport detainees deemed too dangerous to enter the country), the federal court has struck down another certificate. The judge said that while there were legitimate security concerns seven years ago, when the person was arrested, that is no longer the case.

As it happens, the Senate was indeed sitting today. I may not have been up there, but the CBC’s intrepid Kady O’Malley was, and her liveblog is here.

On the topic of the Senate, The Canadian Press’ headline about revised travel rules for Senators, allowing them greater access to international travel at taxpayer expense, is borderline hysterical until you read well down into the text. There, it was revealed that Liberal Senator Paul Massicote and lesbian Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth studied the issue for a year, and they found that given the Senate’s more “individualistic” role in Parliament would benefit from more access to international travel to pursue certain projects. Which is wholly reasonable when you consider that Senate studies are often longer-term and of a different nature than the short-term and often politically charged studies the Commons undertakes. As well, Senators are required to get permission from the internal economy committee as to its merits, and then report on the details of these trips once they’re back. It’s not unreasonable, and I think the hysterical tone of the headline belies the continued ignorance on the part of the general public as to some of the different roles that the Senate plays.

And finally, Her Excellency’s state visit moves from Guatemala to Costa Rica.


(gg.ca photos)
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