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Accountability & Democratic Renewal

In their own words: Editorial and expert opinion against shutting down parliament

Posted on January 5, 2010

(Quotes are included in their original language)

“The Prime Minister is turning prorogation, a sometimes sensible parliamentary procedure, into an underhanded manoeuvre to avoid being accountable to Parliament. In the interests of political expediency, the government will diminish the democratic rights of Canadians.” (Globe & Mail Editorial, December 31, 2009)

« Pour la deuxième année d’affilée, Stephen Harper met la clé dans la porte du Parlement pour éviter d’avoir à se soumettre aux contraintes inhérentes à la démocratie. Des choses aussi désagréables que de rendre des comptes, faire preuve de transparence, respecter la volonté de la majorité des élus. Pour le chef conservateur, les règles ne valent que si elles lui servent à affirmer son autorité ou à se soustraire aux dispositions qui l’agacent. » (Manon Cornellier, Le Devoir, 4 janvier 2010)

“Sadly, there is no public interest served by Harper’s decision. Suspending Parliament might enable the Conservatives to delay questions about the prisoners and to name some Conservative supporters to the Senate, but it does nothing for Canada or parliamentary democracy… What a pity the government has put itself in a position in which it feels its best course is to run and hide.” (Waterloo Region Record Editorial, January 2, 2010)

“There is no valid reason for suspending the work of Parliament until March… The only reasonable conclusion is that the government wants to allow enough time for the detainee issue to go away. They are gambling that Canadians have short memories and are easily distracted.” (Ottawa Citizen Editorial, December 31, 2009)

« Habituellement, on proroge le Parlement lorsque le menu législatif est épuisé. Ici, ça semble difficilement être le cas. Ça semble beaucoup plus une utilisation de la procédure à des fins tactiques. Il semble que l’objectif est de gagner deux mois. » (Hugo Cyr, professeur à la faculté de sciences politiques et de droit de l’UQAM, Le Devoir, 31 décembre 2009)

“There is no doubt the Stephen Harper government’s strategic move to prorogue Parliament until after the Olympics is nothing short of self-serving. It is not about what is good for Canada, for democracy, or even for the Olympics. It is only about what Harper has decided is good for his federal Tories.” (Hamilton Spectator Editorial, January 5, 2010)

“The simple message is that political gamesmanship is more important to the Harper government than the party’s own legislative agenda – more important than any of the laws it wants to implement, and more important than the legitimate political process.”
(St. John’s Telegram Editorial, January 5, 2010)

“The Conservative government does not come out of this smelling very good. If it has nothing to hide, it is giving a pretty good impression that it does.” (Winnipeg Free Press Editorial, January 2, 2010)

“It raises the question: Why do we have a Parliament?… For those Canadians who care about parliamentary democracy and about the vitality of our democracy, and who believe in the openness and transparency of government, they should be concerned about this.” (David Mitchell, Public Policy Forum President, Vernon Daily Courier, January 4, 2010)

«Ils contrôlent le calendrier. Lorsque les choses vont mal, ils prorogent. »
(Nelson Wiseman, Le politologue de l’Université de Toronto, Le Droit, 4 janvier 2010)

“What’s going on here is, it’s a way of avoiding Parliament – the only institution elected by all Canadians.” (Nelson Wiseman, University of Toronto Political Scientist, Moncton Times & Transcript, December 31, 2009)

“It’s political games, and personally and professionally I don’t like to see that… It adds to the public’s feeling of political chicanery and manipulation of the system… It looks like the top politician in the land is simply playing games.” (Pat Kyba, a retired University of Guelph political science professor, Guelph Mercury, January 4, 2010)

“We have a minority, authoritarian type of government, and I can’t think that Canadians are going to be very happy with that.” (Peter Russell, University of Toronto, CBC’s The National, December 31, 2009)