OK, now I'm getting mad.
Mike Duffy speaks as if Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be proroguing Parliament, which infers the Governor General will rubber stamp his request. Global National presents it as a mere possibility. Either way, Harper simply thinking about using his power this way to avoid losing power, and many Canadians thinking this move is OK, reflects the fact that successive Prime Ministers have so distorted the running of our democracy that many Canadians now believe that it is legitimate for the Prime Minister to thwart the will of Parliament.
The Prime Minister and his government serves at the will of Parliament, who represents the will of the people. When Parliament no longer has confidence in the Prime Minister, then the Prime Minister and his government must resign. For the Prime Minister to say, "No, I won't!" is for him to effectively say to the people I won't obey the majority of your representatives.
It isn't the Prime Minister who runs Canada. It isn't his cabinet who are the sole leaders of our country. It is Parliament. The problem is that from the time Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau started concentrating power in the Prime Minister's Office until recently when Harper fine tuned it into a truly one-man band, Canadians have been slowly moulded into thinking that the sole arbiter of how this country is run is the Prime Minister and his office staff. But it's not. It's Parliament.
But the undermining of our Parliament wasn't done just by succeeding Prime Ministers; they did it with the willing submissiveness of their elected party members. Party discipline became so important over the years that by the time Harper took over, it seemed a natural, if strange next step, for him to disallow MPs from even speaking. It was an odd spectacle in Question Period today to see a Conservative MP stand up to ask a question of the Opposition and then the Opposition member say they've never seen that MP before and wondering who he is. It is a bit late for Harper to realise that government comprises more than one member. But he isn't solely to blame for this state of affairs. Even now, when clearly people and some Conservative MPs are angry over his bungling, Tory MPs can do no more than not applause with their compatriots instead of fully representing their constituents.
As a result of this increasing concentration of power in the PMO, Canadians have become disenfranchised in the election process. What does it matter if they vote or not because if their MP is not in cabinet or not the Prime Minister, they have no say in the governing of the country. What does it matter if they vote period because all we get are four- to five-year dictatorships. This voter disillusionment reflects Canadians' distaste for what Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, and now Harper have wrought. Only with minority governments has the possibility of a healthy, vibrant Parliamentary democracy revived itself.
Yet when finally Parliament stands up and says, we are the governing body, not you Mr. Harper, many Canadians are outraged and declare it undemocratic. Harper of course is fuelling the lies from declaring that there was no Canadian flag behind the leaders when they were signing the coalition agreement (there were at least two, is the man blind as well as stupid?) to creating war between the West and Québec in order to retain his grip on power (this man then says he's the only patriotic one! what does that mean, to be patriotic is to divide the country?) to declaring that the election said that only he could be in power. The latter is simply not true. We're just not used to seeing an election lead to a minority government made up of more than one party.
This coalition between the Liberals and NDP has resuscitated the idea of Parliament leading Canada. And quite frankly, it means that each MP holds more importance; they are no longer just warm bodies giving Harper a nice background on CPAC. It is no longer a dictatorship of one, as a Cabinet comprising two parties is not one that will easily follow the Prime Minister along like good little children as happens now.
If Harper recesses Parliament so as to duck the will of Parliament, then he is in essence trying to rewrite how Canada ought to be led -- he is trying to cement the idea that it is in fact the Prime Minister, and only the Prime Minister, who runs the country and that Parliament ought not to have the power to stop him. If the Governor General agrees with Harper proroging Parliament, then she will cement into practice that we are in essence run by four-year dictatorships where the Prime Minister has sole say in how we are led.
Do you want this slow perversion of our democracy to become law? Do you like the fact that your MP, if not in Cabinet, has no say in the running of your country? Remember that if your MP is in power now, that will not be the case four years, ten years from now as governments do have a habit of changing hands and that what may be good for you now, will not be once your MP is on the back benches or in Opposition.
This rather reminds me of King Charles I who prorogued Parliament because it had challenged his attempts to accrue more power to himself. He was pretty ineffective in the end, frittering away money and getting himself executed.
Almost four centuries later, we are being reacquainted with how our democracy is supposed to work: co-operation between a majority of MPs, within one or more parties, in concert with opposition that works -- not by fiat from the PMO.