Thursday, January 07, 2010

More on the Democratic Crisis

  • For those who are complaining that Ignatieff and Layton are on holiday... did it occur to you that Harper timed this to embarrass them by choosing a time when it would be difficult for them to get back to Canada quickly? Just have a little patience. We need leadership from Ignatieff and Layton - not just one but BOTH - and it needs to be good. But quality is more important than fast in this case. We can wait a few more days or weeks.

  • To Ignatieff and Layton... I hope you are working on something and that it is good. Something like... a press conference denouncing this act in firy tones, and announcing a public conference to be held immediately, called "Democracy in Crisis" at which a line-up of respected speakers (including all our living ex-PMs, ex-GGs, ex- supreme court justices, etc etc) denounce this assault on our parliamentary system and explain to the people why annual prorogations to avoid accountability cannot be tolerated.

  • The latest: Harper is asking Canadians for budget advice. At first I thought it was a stunt to deflect attention from his very unpopular prorogation of parliament (which has caused a massive fall in his polling numbers), but on a little reflection I see that this is all part of his plan. He repeatedly circumvents our elected representatives, and now tries to slip in a form of direct democracy. Geeze, maybe those old Liberal/NDP "Harper is scary" ads weren't just fear-mongering... as I said at the time.

  • Day of Action: Saturday, January 23, 1 pm - 5 pm, Canada-wide. Details to follow.



KURSK said...

When Jean Chretien prorogued parliament 4 times, were you as outraged?

Did you even react?

Be honest.

ridenrain said...

Oh, but Chretien was entitled to do that.
With all the talk about Harper being a dictator, I'd suggest they re-read "The Friendly Dictatorship" by Jeffrey Simpson again. Liberal supporters should remember what a real undemocratic bully Chretien was. Harper can hardly be a dictator when he's only running a minority government.

Tof KW said...

Do you two really want to defend Harper with 'but Chretien did it too'? Chretien did his bit to erode our democracy, building on the work that Mulroney and Trudeau had done earlier to concentrate power within the PMO.

But that's that kicker, Harper was elected to do things differently, or did I miss something? Wasn't he supposed to bring transparent and more responsible government? Instead the guy is behaving even worse than his predecessors and has managed to beat Chretien's record in less than half the time.

Both of you are hypocrites, and pathetic ones at that. But then that pretty much describes the entire 'new & improved' Conservative party.

Yappa said...

Kursk, ridenrain,

What Harper has done is magnitudes worse than Chretien.

Last year he prorogued parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote. Last week he prorogued parliament to shut down a parliamentary committee that was about to unearth some politically embarrassing documents.

Chretien's longest prorogue (82 days from November 12, 2003 to February 2, 2004) was to allow for the transition between the Chretien and Martin governments.

You partisan Con bullies can't see it, but we are in a democratic crisis. This is not a partisan issue. Canadians of all political leanings are outraged by Harper's undermining of our parliamentary system. A precedent is being set that cannot be allowed to stay.

Yappa said...

Hi TofKW -

Good points. There's lots to complain about with our previous PMs.

But Harper is going much further, and showing his absolute contempt for our democratic institutions. It's not surprising; he is on the record demanding a very different, much smaller government. He is on the record showing utter disdain for all of Canada's social safety nets and the people who use them.

That's why Canadians are rising up in protest. If we don't, Harper will continue to shut down parliament every time he doesn't like the criticism; and his predecessors will too. We can't stop this prorogation but we can do something to avoid more of them.

Mr. Lorne said...

As a non-fan of the prorogue, both Liberal and Conservative hands are dirty with this entire business.

Maybe it's time to ban the prorogue.

ridenrain said...

... And Mr. Chr├ętien prorogued Parliament so we wouldn't have to accept the auditor-general's report on sponsorship.
It's perfectly legal under our system and both sides do it. This is just the typical, shrill, scandal-du jour. The classic example of the 4th rule for radicals.

If you folks honestly believe that this is a threat to our democracy then you must convince your leader, and the Bay Street bankers who run the party, to bring down this government as soon as possible.

Yappa said...

ridenrain -

That's utter bullshit that proroguement is regularly and legitimately used as a way to avoid being held accountable by parliament.

Re your advice to call an election, thanks very much, but... Ignatieff was doing splendidly in the polls until he announced in September that he would no longer support the government and would go for the next election opportunity he could. Canadians didn't like that and he is only just now starting to recover.

Canadians have limits on how many elections they'll stomach.

Bert said...

Chretien prorogued parliment in order to keep the debate resulting from the Auditor Generals report on Adscam out of parliment. Just thought I'd mention that again, as it seems ridenrain brought it up, but you ignored that when you responded to him.

ridenrain said...

No surprises here. Their desperate to have everyone forget about ADSCAM and everything surrounding it.

Yappa: Your telling me that this is a threat to democracy but then you tell me that you have to wait until the Liberals are in a position to win?
Dion abstained some 45 times on votes that could have pulled down this "tyrannical" government and no one has bothered to keep track on Iggy but it must be around 15 by now. Even the EI ultimatum became a "blue ribbon" panel of excuses.
If it was such a big problem, it must be done as soon as possible, not as soon as the Liberal party thinks they can win.

Yappa said...

That's how minority governments work. We can't have elections every week. The other parties have to hold their noses sometimes and support Harper. Same thing happens when the Liberals have a minority government.

You're thrashing around trying to criticize everything and most of your points are off-base, but that doesn't stop your endless, boring repetition of them.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert,

I'll get back to you when I have the facts solid. I was not a Liberal during most of the Chretien years and my memory of what he did is not perfect. I recall a prorogation that was controversial, but I think it related to dumping Adscam on Martin. My memory is that in those years the Liberals were mostly fighting each other; the PCs were in tatters and the Libs had a big majority.