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Proroguing parliament

By Ben WedgeStaff Contributor

Parliament is full of quirks and precedents. One of those is prorogation.
Could you believe that a Prime Minister would dare ask the Queen to shut down Parliament for 63 days in order to attend the Olympics, reset the makeup of Senate committees? Oh, and delay a political circus looking into an Afghan prison guard beating a man with a shoe three years ago after that man killed a Canadian soldier?
Well, that folks, is what happened last week.
It’s scary isn’t it? It’s a good thing Jean Chrétien didn’t prorogue Parliament for 83 days (19 more than Harper) in 2003 so that Canadians couldn’t ask him why the Liberals stole $130 million of our money to line their pockets in an attempt to guarantee perpetual electoral victories for the Liberal Party.
While on the thought, I’m glad that Louis St. Laurent didn’t prorogue Parliament for five months, and Diefenbaker for six months, though those two weren’t trying to duck the firing squad, as Chrétien did.
Chrétien seemed to have been judged differently than Harper. There was barely a voice that spoke out against his move. Probably because he wasn’t an “evil Conservative”.
Instead, he raised taxes for all Canadians, and watched millions of people in this country slip into poverty, the opposite of the more than one million additional Canadians that are now above the “welfare wall” thanks to the tax changes brought in by Harper.
Chrétien’s record should be critiqued even more in comparison to Harper’s: under Chrétien, Parliament sat approximately 119 days per year, on average. Under Harper? 135 days last year, and the projection for this year, with prorogation, is 115. That hardly seems like someone who is “hiding” to me.
Harper may not be the most charismatic Prime Minister we’ve ever had, but that’s just fine. Charisma is for people who are afraid to lead. Harper leads. It’s that simple. When Ignatieff bellowed that he would no longer support the government, Harper shrugged. Layton ended up backing him up on his Employment Insurance bill that, in Layton’s opinion, was a start, and better than an election.
Sure, Harper hasn’t been the role model of co-operation, but one need only look back at Chrétien and Trudeau to see ruthless politics in action.
Harper sticks to his guns. He knows that by next fall, most Canadians will have forgotten that he took a short break this year. At least he spent his Christmas in Canada, which is more than Michael Ignatieff can say. He spent three weeks, concluding on Jan. 7, at his family’s French villa.
Love him or hate him, Harper’s policies deserve a lot more credit than he’s getting from students. Time to go back to proroguing homework.

Ben Wedge is a member of the Dal-King’s Conservatives.

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