Right across the country Canadians are expressing concern with the death of democracy in Canada. Mass rallies are planned and a Facebook group; Canadians Against Proroguing of Parliament is growing in number.
When I joined there were a mere 500 members, now there are almost 10,000.
Monster Harper declared his dictatorship so that he wouldn't have to face charges of possible complicity in war crimes. But they won't go away. We can't let them.
He may have destroyed our international reputation, but he's not going to destroy our honour.
Harper should respect Parliament: Brison
December 31, 2009
Liberal MPs from Nova Scotia aren't buying the Conservative government's line that suspending Parliament was needed to give the Tories time to consult with Canadians about their economic plan, says Kings Hants MP Scott Brison.
"[Prime Minister] Stephen Harper is not interested in consulting with Canadians," Brison said Thursday. "If he was really interested in the views of Canadians, he would respect the Parliament that Canadians elected last time."
On Wednesday, the Conservatives shut down Parliament for two months, until after the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Harper's spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, said the government sought the suspension to consult with Canadians, stakeholders and businesses as it moves into the "next phase" of its economic action plan amid signs of economic recovery.
"This is quite routine but it is also important to give Canadians an overview of where we will be taking the country over the next little while," Soudas told CBC News from Ottawa.
But Brison said the prime minister is simply trying to avoid having to answer his critics in question period and in parliamentary committees.
"Stephen Harper is operating more like a dictator than a democratically elected prime minister," Brison said. "This is an abomination of Parliament and of democracy. This is a prime minister who doesn't like Parliament, does not respect the democratic institutions that govern our country."
Brison not alone
Fellow Grit MP Geoff Regan says Harper simply wants to stifle criticism.
“The means by which the public exercise their control is through the House of Commons sitting and challenging the government,” said the Halifax West MP. “That's what question period, committees and other work of the House of Commons is all about.”
Regan says the governing Conservatives will face a backlash for ending the work of Parliament early for the second time in just a year.
New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer doesn’t accept the argument that the government needs a break to consult Canadians. He said the Conservatives get plenty of feedback when the Commons is in session.
“There are 308 members of Parliament representing 33 million Canadians,” said the MP for Sackville–Eastern Shore. “That’s what our job is — to take opinions from Canadians and go back to the House of Commons and tell the government what we have been hearing.”
Parliament is to resume March 3 with a speech from the throne.
Proroguing Parliament also means shutting down government committees, such as the one examining the controversy over the treatment of detainees transferred to Afghan custody by the Canadian military.