There have been some amazing pieces written in newspapers across Canada about the prorogation of Parliament in the last week or so.
They all say it so much better that I.
I particularly liked what Rick Mercer has to share with us. In part he says:
It is too bad that prorogation isn't something that our soldiers had in their arsenal. When faced with the order to head out on a foot patrol in the Panjwai district of southern Afghanistan, to risk their lives to bring democracy to that place, wouldn't it be nice if they could simply prorogue and roll over and go back to sleep? Soldiers don't get that luxury. That is afforded only to the people who ultimately order them to walk down those dangerous dusty roads in the first place.
Read the whole thing here
I can't help but wonder if this prorogation of Parliament is just the issue to send Canadians scurrying away from Stephen Harper.
Say what you will but, so far at least, Harper has proven himself to be a master strategist. He has done a good job of reading what Canadians back in the hustings take offense to and what will just piss off the elites and the pundits.
Has he gone too far this time? I guess we'll have to wait and see but, if the e-mail lists I am on is any indicator, he may have over reached.
What plays into Harper's court is the simple fact that most Canadians don't know or, don't care how their Government works. If they ever did learn about the British Parliamentary system at all, their minds have been warped by years of watching Fox news and CNN. Either that or they don't care.
When Parliament sits again in March Harper is counting of Canadians being so dazzled by the Olympics that any of his transgressions will be forgotten by Canadians. For Harper, the Olympics are like photo-op heaven. For some reason, Canadians seem charmed by this strange awkward man.
Let's take a look at what happened. Historically, the Prime Minister will visit the Governor General just before he/she calls an election. The GG is asked to prorogue Parliament, which effectively stops business then the PM calls a press conference to announce to Canadians that we are going to have an election.
In this case Harper has simply shut down the Parliamentary/democratic process so that his government can stop having to dodge questions from the opposition. No Parliament, no questions. And, don't forget, now he has done it twice.
I am told that Parliament has not been prorogued in this manner, while there are still pressing questions to be answered and there is still business on the order paper since the time of Charles I of England. In that case the King did the dirty deed not the PM.
Where is the Governor General in all this? Who knows? In most cases the PM heads down the road to Rideau Hall, has a meeting with the GG then quietly and with dignity announces an election. In this case Harper rang up Michaelle Jean, made his demand, she turned turtle, Harper's PR guy issued a press release, done deal.
So where does that leave us?
So Harper and the Pinocchio gang don't have to answer and more pesky questioning about Afghan prisoner transfers, they won't have to make up any more perky responses about the economy and they can continue to ignore the growing climate crisis without anyone challenging their failed environmental policies.
Jack Layton has a few more months to come up with something better that "Sitting around the kitchen table and talking to working Canadians."
Michael Ignatieff has bit more time to re-brand himself as something a little more down to earth than the little guy from Upper Canada College - Canadians are generally suspicious of intellectuals - and to work on his warm and fuzzy routine. (Remember Harper with the kitten)
Let's hope they get it right. I am not sure I can take much more of the divine right of Steven Harper to rule my country.
Well, the gym is full of people working off extra holiday pounds (it won't last) newspapers have almost stopped running those annoying best/worst of the decade lists and Eric Tillman has gone to court. We must be into 2010.
The decade some have called the naughties has come and gone and generally won't be missed. Even the Queen, in her New Years broadcast, suggested that some decades were best forgotten.
Politically it was a pretty dismal decade, no question.
- The bombing of the Twin Towers in New York changed the world and made everyone just a bit more paranoid.
- Canada veered to the right and elected Stephen Harper and we entered a very new style of Canadian politics.
- We find ourselves mired in a shooting war in Afghanistan even if the government tries to characterize it as a humanitarian mission.
- Western economies took a huge hit gutting many Canadians' retirement savings and pension plans.
- Canada's government continues to build a democratic deficit.
On a personal level things were quite different.
- We watched our children grow through adolescence, go onto university and to make us proud in so many ways.
- We reconnected with my daughter after too many years of being apart.
- I got to discover the joys of being a grandfather
- We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary
- I managed to retire after working for 47 years.
- First, I read back through a year or so of this blog and I was struck by how bitter and cynical it has become. I will try to be a bit more optimistic when I sit down to write.
- I will travel more
- Encouraged by our walk across England last year I am more determined than ever to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
- I will be better in keeping in touch with friends.
- I will continue to try to hold our leaders' feet to the fire.
- Like everyone else, I will lose some weight.
So what the hell - damn the torpedoes - bring it on. I am going to enjoy this decade.
Well, the tourtiere and turkey are all eaten, the pressies are all opened, the drinks are drunk and our visitors have all headed home.
The tree is still up but, not for long. It is back to life as we know it and that tree will soon be standing in a snow drift, waiting for a city truck to take it to it's final resting place.
It was a great Christmas for both of us. Full of sons and daughters, partners, girlfriends and grandchildren. I am always amazed at how we can all just seamlessly pickup after being apart for in some cases quite a long time. I guess that is what being family is supposed to be.
We spend some grand time with good friends.
It was all a too rare moment in time