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Prorogation Provokes Virtual, Actual Outrage in Halifax

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Haligonians are joining others in expressing varying levels of outrage at Stephen Harper’s prorogation of Parliament until after the Winter Olympics. A rally in Halifax is being planned for January 23rd in coordination with others across Canada. Facebook groups are growing by the minute as thousands click “Join this group”.

As Thomas Walkom argues in the Toronto Star, this latter feeble form of protest is quite insufficient in terms of political action, despite the media’s insistence on reporting the swelling numbers of group members (For those not living in the Facebookiverse, joining a “group” entails no commitment of any kind.) Canadians should rather pressure their MPs to vote down the minority government when Parliament resumes (if your MP is in opposition) or ask Harper to back down (if your MP is Conservative).

Walkom also points out that Harper’s prorogation is “neither illegal nor unconstitutional” and that his motives – avoiding the Afghan detainee scandal, basking in the glow of the Olympics, appointing 5 Conservative senators – and the fact that he has prorogued himself out of 2 sticky situations in under a year are what is fuelling the current outrage.

It’s true that prorogation is perfectly legal under current circumstances. However, when last year’s Liberal-NDP coalition was in the works, Conservative spin doctors did not shy away from spreading misinformation and outright lies about its legality or basis in democratic tradition. Harper’s opponents should spare no fury in denouncing this move as undemocratic and borderline-dictatorial, for it certainly violates the spirit of the principles of democracy and accountability, if not the letter of the law.

The elite spectator sport of electoral politics will soon continue as normal. Stay tuned.


(Find your MP at www.elections.ca .)

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