Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prorogation: What's Behind The Anger

There are many reasons to be upset by the Harper Tories' shutting down parliament and fleeing away across the rooftops to avoid questions over the Afghan detainee and other issues. For one thing, it means emasculating the seat of Canadian federal democracy over a scandalette that, if probed thoroughly and completely, would almost certainly not amount to much: the Conservative government inherited a flawed prisoner transfer arrangement from their Liberal predecessors; they were too slow to correct its flaws, but did so eventually. End of story.

In other words, they have chosen to cut and run over a fairly trivial matter, which implies that they treat the institution of parliament as something to be violated casually.

There is also the matter of the offhand brutality with which they have been willing to abandon their own legislative agenda. I personally might not agree with bill C-15 (mandatory minimum sentencing) or their consumer safety laws(C-6), for example, but these were nevertheless the result of an enormous amount of work by people and interests who were invested in them very deeply. And all of this work has been tossed aside at the first sign of political turbulence.

So, not only does the Harper government not give a toss about Canada's democratic process, they don't care about their own policies. They seem to have become entirely opportunistic over their four years in power.

But there is something more basic driving Canadian anger over prorogation, I think. It has to do with Stephen Harper the man, ideological Conservatives like those that fill his government's back-benches, and their relationship to what used to be called The Work Ethic.

I mean, this is the Prime Minister who once that claimed Atlantic Canada was hampered by a "culture of defeat", bred by laziness and a continued dependence on government handouts. This is the Prime Minister who branded the whole nation beyond the borders of Alberta a "2nd tier socialist" country. And this is the Prime Minister whose party has always been more than happy to play the "Bums from Out East" tune for all its been worth, who have argued that their political opponents are a bunch of slackers who "don't understand what it means to meet a payroll", and so on and so forth.

Now this very same Prime Minister has--hey presto!--rewarded himself and his MPs two months extra vacation time. THAT, I believe, is what really grates with Canadians. It's what lies behind the signs proclaiming Get back to work! that appeared again and again at anti-prorogation rallies across the country last weekend.

And I see that Norman Spector is prattling on again about coups, and coalitions between Liberals, Socialists, and Separatists. Well, Mr. Spector, at least these people showed up on Monday, ready to do their job. Mr. Harper and his gang of Calgary Capitalists couldn't be arsed.

21 comments:

Tof KW said...

Mon Dieu, Norman Spector has lowered himself to type an article using the logic of Pierre Poilievre? Is he mixing his meds or something?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well at least you are honest enough to admit that the Afghan detainee issue is just a smokescreen for the Harper haters.

RuralSandi said...

Spector has sounded like he's in a panic the last few articles.

Dykstra spewing about the Westminister parliamentary system BUT the legality of coalition is part of that system. Either he doesn't know what he's talking about or he is deliberately misleading Canadians - either of which is wrong.

Rick Mercer did a piece last year about the system - it would be good for it to make the rounds again.

Joanne - no one believes the Afghan issue is a smokescreen. Trying to put words in someone's mouth doesn't make it so.

Harper haters? Pretty strong language, but we all know that part of the Con troll thinking is hate.

I don't hate Harper - I feel nothing for him. I despise what's he's trying to do to Canada.

Ti-Guy said...

Spector must have taken his Viagra today. He seems energised.

Well at least you are honest enough to admit that the Afghan detainee issue is just a smokescreen for the Harper haters.

Fuck off an die, Tokyo Rose.

Tof KW said...

Ah Joanne, there is only one party of hate in this country, and that would be the populist party of saskalberta, who’ve hijacked the conservative movement and currently control the CPoC. Your association with them has obviously affected your thought process. Because they hate all outside the firewall does not mean the reverse is true.

Your lame attempt to explain away the public outrage at CPC MPs taking extended holidays while the economy struggles is as pathetic an attempt as the CPoC's ever-changing talking points and sudden barrage of EAP commercials. Yes ever the media are on to it now and no one believes Harper’s BS anymore, not even his mentor Tom Flannigan.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

There is also the matter of the offhand brutality with which they have been willing to abandon their own legislative agenda. I personally might not agree with bill C-15 (mandatory minimum sentencing) or their consumer safety laws(C-6), for example, but these were nevertheless the result of an enormous amount of work by people and interests who were invested in them very deeply.

Which were not getting anywhere anyway due to the unelected Liberal-dominated Senate.

bigcitylib said...

Actually, C-15 probably would have been approved by March or so (negotiations with Libs in the house probably would have resulted on a vote on the bill minus stripped away senate provisions). A number of other bills were at the point of being handed back to the House by the Senate, but because of prorogation there was no one there to recieve them and they basically crashed and burned for that reason.

kirbycairo said...

Ms True Blue is typical of the hyper-partisan hypocrisy that has come to dominate these issues. Put her to this simple test, if her party was in opposition, would she be saying the prorogation is bad and we have a responsibility to examine the Afghan issue? OF COURSE SHE WOULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ergo, hypocrisy Joanne, nothing but hypocrisy.

Ti-Guy said...

If anyone wants to see true, blue, raw hatred, just go over to Joanne's blog. She's been running a hate site for years now. Even when Harper's had reason to be triumphant, she and her gang of bilious poseurs and out-and-out knuckle-draggers indulge in orgies of hate with primitive abandon.

NSFW

Tof KW said...

Which were not getting anywhere anyway due to the unelected Liberal-dominated Senate.

Oh the media has already blown away that myth Joanne, only 3 bills of 36 were before the Senate at the time of prorogation. One of which only arrived two weeks before the Christmas break. Any more straws you wish to grasp at?

R. G. Harvie said...

Fellow conservatives, and Joanne, I would ask that we think abou this:

How did you feel when you read that the IPCC scientist doing research on global warming that they would hide or destroy research rather than put up with what they perceived as unwarranted challenges to their theory?

So.

Now consider how Canadians who may not agree with the government position on Afghan detainees must feel when Stephen Harper did much the same by preroguing parliament.

I agree with BCL. The whole detainee issue is probably not a major event, if dealt with straight-up.. even allowing for some extended period of hyper-partisan muckraking. But the idea of a governement, basically, saying "You're questions aren't worthy of debate" I think has struck a chord, properly, with some of the electorate.

Ti-Guy said...

How did you feel when you read that the IPCC scientist doing research on global warming that they would hide or destroy research rather than put up with what they perceived as unwarranted challenges to their theory?

What are you lying about now?

Provide a credible source or retract.

Tof KW said...

Our individual thoughts on climate science aside, Mr Harvie’s overall point is quite sound. I have said in many ways, and on many different blogs, that it is never the initial transgressions that get you but the cover-up.

This could have been handled quite effectively by Harper if he just announced an official inquiry right after Mr Colvin’s initial testimony. It would have taken a year or slightly longer, and damaging facts would have come out about the original Liberal government’s decisions - with which Harper could mute his opponents. In the end he could admit mistakes were made, some sacrificial officials fired, and a few key recommendations half-heartedly adopted. Case closed. Canadians are a very forgiving people, and PM Harper would come out of it all looking very prime-ministerial.

But instead seeing +40% poll ratings, this was all pushed under the rug in an attempt to win that almighty majority after the Olympics and spring budget. Harper shoot himself in the foot here, and adding lie upon lie only hurts him more. The media smells blood with this suspected cover-up. Cover-ups are ‘sexy’ - they sell papers and boost ratings. No one from the PMO remembered to add that into the calculus involved in the prorogation equation? The initial detainee issue has little to do with it anymore, as these things tend to take on a life of their own.

Mark Francis said...

I was just about to say that the Afghan detainee issue only became a scandal in my mind when the government responded the way it did. They were in classic coverup mode, which always means there's something big being hidden.

If it's not such a big deal, having a few key MPs see the documents in private, may have put the thing to bed, or resulted in a modest inquiry so that we, the not-quite-so-apathetic people of Canada, could have some sort of explanation we trust.

R. G. Harvie said...

Ti-Guy:

How did you feel when you read that the IPCC scientist doing research on global warming that they would hide or destroy research rather than put up with what they perceived as unwarranted challenges to their theory?

What are you lying about now?

Provide a credible source or retract.



The text of the email from Phil Jones Nov. 16, 1999:

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

and from Phil Jones again on July 8, 2004:

"The other paper by MM is just garbage. [...] I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

and, yet again, from Phil Jones, February 2, 2005:

"And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days?—our does! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.

And finally, all leading to Phil Jones' email in May 2008:

"Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise…Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't have his new email address."

How's that Ti-Guy?

And, my point really has nothign to do with climate change, it has to do with cautioning "CONSERVATIVES" that we have to be open to challenge and not too quick to excuse the prorogue as NO BIG DEAL.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with climate change theory, or the conduct regarding detentino of Afghan detainees, the point is that the hallmark of democracy is the right to challenge positions we disagree with in open debate.

Whether it goes as far as destroying documents, or just obfuscating and preventing full disclosure by avoiding debate, it is counter-productive to democratic principles we should all hold - Liberal and Conservative alike.

And it is no answer to say, "your questions are politically motivated or are based upon ignorance."

bigcitylib said...

R.G.,

Let it go man. That stuff got debunked a month ago. At least move onto "glaciergate" or some other fake scandal.

Gayle said...

A reasonable person would have simply taken responsibilty for his mistakes, apologized and moved on. I agree with the sentiment that had Harper sinply done that in the first place this would all be over by now. Instead, he has left the country believing he has something to hide.

I don't even know if he does have anything to hide. I just note that he has a hard time accepting responsibility for anything that goes wrong. Which puzzles me really, since conservatives purport to be all about personal responsibility. And yet you need only visit Joanne's site (don't bother trying to post there- she's a censor) and see how Harper's followers will twist and contort themselves in order to reach a conclusion that Harper is right.

As for the senate, maybe Joanne can give us a list of how many of Harper's bills were blocked by the senate.

RuralSandi said...

"Which were not getting anywhere anyway due to the unelected Liberal-dominated Senate."

Joanne doesn't even have an original or searched out thought.

Joanne - FACTS, please:

The House of Commons passed it in little over a month.

The Senate passed it in little over a month.

The holdup? Harper and his cabinet. Thems the facts there lady. They set the date of Feb 22 - it's their fault.

Gayle said...

I kind of think Joanne knows the facts. It is her job as a conservative shill to spread lies so no one else knows the facts.

Ti-Guy said...

How's that Ti-Guy?

Thanks for admitting that you lied. Now, the retraction, if you will?

R. G. Harvie said...

I would love to watch Ti_guy's head spin if he comes across an email from Peter McKay or Stephen Harper to his associates saying, "Please delete all my emails".. and "If anyone asks for information, I'll delete it before I send it to anyone."

Shit man, just admit you are wrong, I am right, and get on with wondering why you bother arguing with me.

Or.. maybe I misread you.

Maybe you think it's just fine for Harper or any government leader to avoid being required to answer questions he doesn't feel are "important" enough to answer.

Is that it?