Harper prorogues Parliamentary backhanding

By Mischa Popoff on February 11, 2010

If Harper prorogued Parliament merely to avoid answering questions about Afghan detainees there might be a basis for the indignity the opposition feigns. But Harper had a quick look at the polls before he called G.G. Michel Jean and you can rest assured that the tale of a terrorist who claims to have been roughed up after our soldiers handed him to Afghan authorities is destined for obscurity.
  It’s not as though any Afghans captured by Canadians died. Remember when Shidane Arone was beaten to death by Canadian soldiers in Somalia? Even a prorogation could not have checked that issue. The Afghan detainee issue is nothing by comparison. Innocent people die every day in Afghanistan, including Afghan women and children, 138 Canadian soldiers, a diplomat and a journalist. What Canadians want to know is why we’re not killing more of the enemy, not whether the enemy suffered a fat lip.
  Love him or hate him, Harper is a renegade in power, an accolade that many Liberals, New Democrats and Bloquists will admirably admit privately over a beer.
  After sailing through the House of Commons, Harper’s crime bills and Senate Reform bill have been held up for three long years in the Liberal-dominated Upper House. By proroguing Parliament Harper will go down in history as the first prime minister to stymie a Senate he did not yet control. This has given rise to calls to abolish the Senate, but where were those voices when the Senate was thwarting the will of our elected MPs?
 Despite the 150,000 Canadians who joined a Facebook page called “Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament,” few Canadians are upset. The turnout in the streets was scant. There is only one poll that matters. There is likewise only one campaign that matters. The only way Harper will regret what he did is if he is returned to the Opposition Bench following a non-confidence vote and a general election... if only members of the Opposition actually believed their own words.
  The NDP are wisely distancing themselves from the Liberals on this one, appreciating that when it comes to explaining what Harper’s real goal is the answer for the majority of Canadians is clear: It’s the Senate, stupid. Some scholars suggest Harper should have continued appointing Conservative senators and could eventually have passed his Senate Reform and crime bills, but this intellectually dishonest line of reasoning belies the hustling of the Liberal leader who directed his MPs to go one way and his Senators to go another. And Harper is accused of being undemocratic.
Ignatieff used the same tactic when Harper tried cracking down on marijuana grow-ops by reducing the number of plants allowed for personal use to 10. Ignatieff supported this in the Commons and then backhandedly opposed it in the Senate where 200 plants were claimed to be just fine. Who knew Jean Chrétien had appointed so many avid potheads to the “upper” chamber?
  We’re all big girls and boys; we know politics can be a dirty game. But whoever among us was prepared to continue turning a blind eye to Ignatieff’s inside/outaide strategy has to now grow up and get over Harper’s bold move to deny the Liberals the use of that wholly undemocratic ploy.
  In 1958, Liberal stonewalling of Diefenbaker’s Conservative agenda led that renegade to Canada’s largest ever electoral majority, surpassed only by Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives in 1984. With that in mind, Harper’s main consideration in proroguing Parliament was determining that if Ignatieff actually dared to try to teach him a lesson by going to an election, there is a very high probability it would backfire on the Liberals for the third time in 52 years.
  Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with an Afghan terrorist who’s lucky he’s still alive is missing the point.


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