Politics - Federal

Harper: GG to Prorogue Parliament

By RTH Staff
Published December 04, 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper just announced after meeting with Governor General Michaëlle Jean that she has agreed to his request to prorogue the two-week-old Parliament until his government presents their 2009 budget.

Harper will face a confidence vote when Parliament starts its new session on January 26, 2008.

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By Stupid stupid stupid (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 12:44:14

What a load of bollocks.

From now on, whenever a Prime Minister with a minority (read: all of them for the forseeable future) faces a confidence vote he thinks he's going to lose, he can just pull a "Harper Manoeuver" and hit the pause button on Parliament until he has time to spin things back in his favour.

Shame on you, governor general! You just sold democracy down the river so no one would accuse you of being partisan.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 13:14:03

"From now on, whenever a Prime Minister with a minority (read: all of them for the forseeable future) faces a confidence vote he thinks he's going to lose, he can just pull a "Harper Manoeuver" and hit the pause button on Parliament until he has time to spin things back in his favour. "

Maybe so, but future minority PMs will also learn that turning everything into a confidence matter to try to bully the other parties can backfire huge. Hopefully from now on our leaders will be more open to building a consensus and negotiating rather than going through all this nonsense.

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By ventrems (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 14:08:02

Some see this as a victory for the Conservative minority government, but it isn't. This is a nightmare for them. It is a political embarrasment. A massive failure of their government and in a ways, their recognition of that failure. Hopefully the Conservatives will realize that as a minority government, they must seek consensus to govern. If they don't, they will surely be ousted in January.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2008 at 14:13:57

My prediction (guess, in other words...) is that Harper will play nice for a few months and we’ll limp through to Spring. Ignatiaf will win the Lib leadership and we’ll go to the polls shortly after. Ignatiaf will win a minority and Harper will be out. We’ll then have an NDP/Lib coalition for another year before it all blows up again. Our democracy rocks!

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By Hammerhead (registered) | Posted December 05, 2008 at 15:43:27

It appears that according to most of the polls, the country is split (regionally) on the issue - the West agreeing with Harper, the East(particularly Quebec) not agreeing. Unfortunately,we are in for years of minority governments. We can only hope that the parties learn how to co-operate for the good of the country rather than constantly trying to score political points. This won't happen until Harper is out of the picture.

Prediction? Harper will lose the confidence vote on his budget Jan 27, and will be replaced by Peter McKay. Dion will not make it to 2009. Ignatieff will win the Liberal Leadership in May - possibly sooner if they move the convention up (which they should). Election will be held in the spring and there will be another Conservative minority.

Bet on it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2008 at 16:08:40

Interesting predictions.

I've noticed that Bob Rae is way out front on this coalition - he's embarked on a campaign to pitch the coalition to skeptical voters - while Michael Ignatieff is distancing himself from the whole thing (reportedly on the advice of his handlers, who worry that it could hurt his long-term prospects).

In that light, here are my predictions.

  1. Rae tries to hold the coalition together long enough to topple Harper in January; and

  2. pushes the Liberals to hold their leadership convention now, on the reasonable grounds that Stéphane Dion, having presided over their worst electoral showing in history, is arguably the coalition's biggest liability in public opinion.

  3. Ignatieff gravitates more toward a faction of nervous Liberals who want to break off the coalition and vote to support Harper's budget as long as it's not too offensive. He would rather win the Liberal leadership, rebuild the party's finances and credibility, and campaign to win without the NDP and Bloc some time in 2010.

  4. Dion gets cold feet over the holidays and also drifts toward the anti-coalition Liberals. (After all, it gives him a few more months at the helm.)

  5. The Conservatives will continue to dig into their deep pockets to paint the coalition in the most connotative Rovian terms they can, trying to convince as many wishy-washy Liberals as possible to chicken out before the new Parliamentary session opens.

  6. They'll also pursue backroom deals with the NDP and Bloc to try and peel them off the coalition. This seems less likely to succeed, especially after the way the Conservatives have vilified them - particularly the appalling way they have treated the "separatist" Bloc in particular and Quebec voters in general.

  7. It's anybody's guess whether the coalition can hold together, but if they do, it will be against all the internal and external forces at work on them. I would go so far as to say that if they can survive the next seven weeks, they can probably survive the following 18 months.

  8. If the coalition does survive the Conservative propaganda assault and hold together, they will topple the Harper government. Given her decision this week to grant Harper his prorogue, I think it's likely that Governor General Michaëlle Jean will chicken out and dissolve Parliament rather than give the coalition a chance to govern.

  9. Assuming the Liberals and NDP run as a coalition in that election under someone other than Dion, they'll win a minority with a strengthened Bloc Opposition and the Conservatives relegated to their Western stronghold and a few northern Ontario ridings.

  10. If the coalition doesn't hold, the Liberals will abstain from voting on the Conservative budget and it will pass. Ignatieff will win the Liberal leadership in May and the Liberals won't pull the plug before 2010.

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By Walter (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2008 at 19:35:03

Food for Thought.

What if PM Harper engineered this whole thing?
Think about it. He brought in a financial statement that he knew the other parties who hate so much they would get in bed with each other. He also knew or was pretty sure that the GG would allow him to end this session of Parliament as there has never a government not given that option if asked for it.
The coalition was a surprise but they should have waited until they defeated the government. It is like poker, you don't show your hand until you know you have won.
Now he brings in a new throne speech and a budget that will help just about everyone and one that the coalition, if it is still around who not defeat the government over.

If they do defeat the government, an election is held and the Conservatives would get a majority.

He wins either way.
If they approve it, he looks as if he has given in and listened to the opposition.
If they defeat him, the voters will give him a majority in the election

Smart move

Walter
Ingersoll

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 06, 2008 at 11:21:47

To all those MP's who were elected, you are suppose to represent the people, those that voted for you.

The conservatives have no plan in place, except to use the most disgusting language possible to divide this country further.

They have no plan in regards to poverty reduction, to help those who have lost jobs, to help those who will not have access to EI while looking for work.

I heard an intersting analogy last night, in where by the suggestion was for the people themselves to hold a general strike, in order to get the voices of the people at the forefront.

Harper got 22 % of the vote The non voters were 41% of the vote

Who holds majority???????

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By adam1 (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2008 at 12:55:28

I hope a lot of people are upset at themselves for not voting

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2008 at 09:42:48

Well, it looks like I'm already a bit off on some of my calls.

The Liberals are agreed on the need hold the leadership contest before the new Parliamentary session opens on January 26, and Michael Ignatieff looks like a shoo-in now that Dominic LeBlanc has dropped out and backed him.

The idea is that the Liberal caucus will ask Dion to step down and choose an "interim" leader - effectively a new permanent leader in all but formality.

Bob Rae agrees with the need to fast-track the process but is contesting its narrowness, saying such an important vote should go out to all Liberal members, not just the caucus.

If Harper plays nice and pluralistic in January's budget announcement, the Liberals under Ignatieff will abstain from toppling the government.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2008 at 10:52:25

Couple of points:

First of all, while I am sympathetic to Bob Rae's wish to include all Liberal party members in the leadership election, I have to say that the current Liberal leader electoral process is a farce. I covered one aspect of the last leadership election here: http://raisethehammer.org/index.asp?id=3... What a joke. You've heard the expression, 'a camel is a horse designed by committee'? Well that pretty much sums up the thinking behind the current process. I say let the caucus decide and get it over with.

Secondly, I hope this whole coalition side-show will help Canadians understand how their parliament is likely going to look for the next little while. Coalitions are the norm in many European countries - it's how democracy get's done (or not...). Unless we change our democractic model Canadians will have to lose this nonsensical notion that 'we voted for a leader'.

Of course the unworkability of coalitions is one of the strikes against PR. Perhaps if we can get our government to cooperate a little better we may be able to make PR a reality one day.

Cheers

Ben

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted December 08, 2008 at 23:37:33

To me I think what difference does really make when neither the liberals or conservatives, those the political elite in each party fail to see the reality on the ground. They are more concern about their own skins and are ignoring the strive that many of our fellow Canadians are about to embark on and are going through.

As with McQuinty, there was no money to raise the social assitance rates, yet there is money for him to get a raise. I find the system very disturbing and out of touch with the people. They do not work for the people, they follow a different master, one that is hidden from view. But as long as they are sipping champagne and eating cavier, who cares about those that are left homeless, starving, without work, even without protection under employment standards and no place to go to fight for social justice.

This past election 41% did not vote, what will happen in the next one, if the people themselves are forgotten?

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