“Stephen Harper used prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances. We will not” – Justin Trudeau, 2015
So much for promises. Again.
The funny thing is, Canada’s Prime Minister has good reason to prorogue (reset) Parliament. A new plan for the COVID-19 era makes sense.
It’s the timing that makes it look so bad. He appears to be avoiding responsibility for his actions – again.
Prorogation gives Parliament a fresh start. Governments frequently use it to reset the legislative agenda.
In recent years though it has fallen somewhat into disfavor as a legislative tool. It has been used (quite legally) to get the governing party out of political hot water. As seems to be the case in this instance.
If the Prime Minister wanted to bring in a new legislative agenda he could have waited until it was ready and then prorogued Parliament. There’s no set length – he could have done it Tuesday and started again on Wednesday.
He has chosen however to shut down Parliament for more than a month. That means that not only does he not have to face questions in Question Period, but he also shuts down the committees investigating his admitted ethical lapses.
How convenient. Especially if there is a snap election when the new session starts, which seems very likely. That would stop those committees from reconvening. That would make the campaign easier for him – no fresh revelations of questionable ethics.
Of course the PM still has the embarrassment of having chastised his predecessor for his use of prorogation to get his government out of some tricky political situations. He went on record saying he would do things differently.
And perhaps he has kept that promise, in a weird way.
Harper used prorogation when his government was under fire. Justin Trudeau is doing it while being personally investigated. Maybe it isn’t really the same thing.
It is disappointing though. I suppose Canadians can be forgiven for being a little bit cynical about politics when those who promise to do better turn out to be worse than their predecessors.
Maybe an election will bring real change. Do you think that is likely?