26 August 2015

#25 The Reset Button is Getting Worn

Apart from talking to the premiers on a regular basis, one of the other things we tend to expect of a government and a Prime Minister is that they will pursue their legislative agenda. Now, in the case of the outgoing Prime Minister, not all of us wanted that to roll forward without interruption, but some interruptions are more equal than others, if you'll permit me to borrow from an apt political novel.

Prorogation is a way for the government to say that it has achieved what it set out to do in its speech from the throne (in Québec, an inaugural address, for those who are not aware that we don't do the “throne” thing) at the beginning of a legislative session and it is time to map out a new path for the time ahead. It has an impact beyond the ceremonial, erasing all legislation that has not reached its final stage of approval (you would think that would be minimal, given the raison d'être of the prorogation described above, but not always).

What Mr. Harper has done with prorogation has been to run away from problems and give himself a little breathing room to regroup. I remember a particular moment in time where it looked like the government might fall and the opposition parties were ready to ask the Governor General for the chance to form a government together as a coalition. Not only did Mr. Harper demonize the idea of a coalition as being anti-democratic (quite common in many democracies, so, no...), but he prorogued parliament, taking away the possibility of a confidence vote and kicking the can down the road a few months.

In fact, it seems to be one of his favourite things to do when in a jam. I wonder if he will be wanting to prorogue the current campaign?

Further reading here

When things go awry
remember in government
“prorogue” means “reset”

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