Friday, June 08, 2007

If you're a political junkie...

Warning: Don't bother reading this post if you hate politics. On the other hand, why would you ever read this blog if you hated politics?

Anyway, John Robson of the Ottawa Citizen gets into the nuts and bolts of prorogation (boy, that's a word to make your eyes glaze over!) - If you want to play politics, learn the rules.


Oops, sorry. If I interpret this correctly, Robson is chastising the Three Activist Musketeers for not getting the facts straight before going to the press with their fear-mongering that all will be lost if Parliament is prorogued.

Still with me? Good. According to Robson's brilliant but nameless source, "the standing orders of Parliament were changed so that prorogation no longer kills private members' bills. Ten years ago."

"Everybody says they want to give backbenchers more power, especially everybody in opposition. Astoundingly, someone actually did it. In November 1998, the standing orders were changed so that private members' bills, unlike government bills, no longer die if Parliament is prorogued. They stay right where they are."

I didn't know that. I certainly should have, given what I do for a living. My friend, who does not seek the limelight so I name no names, saved me from much worse embarrassment by spotting the error.

But what is the excuse of Mr. Fontaine, Mr. Barr and Mr. Suzuki? I do not normally find myself in solidarity with them, but I try to be fair about public matters, and when I thought they were morally right I was prepared to deliver myself of a strongly worded opinion to that effect. Instead, I find that they were factually wrong.

They said proroguing would necessarily mean that these bills would either be lost or badly delayed, and that's not true.

Well, I didn't know that either.

Here's another quote that I think warrants some thought:

On which grounds the inability of the Tories to stop bills C-288, C-292 and C-293 raises serious questions about whether they really are "the government." I think it is wrong for the Tories to cling to the shadow of power without its substance, and equally wrong for the Liberals, NDP and Bloc to seek the fun of legislating without accepting the responsibilities of governing.

There is a lot to ponder here. First of all, as Chantel Hebert notes, this Parliament has some big problems. One of the most obvious is that the Liberals have forgotten that they're in the opposition, and vice-versa. If you saw QP yesterday, you know what I mean. Peter Van Loan was answering questions with questions.

But the most serious problem is the ability of the three opposition parties to introduce private member bills that are antithetical to the government's position; especially in the area of Kyoto compliance for example. Of course, they don't have to deal with the consequences of their la-la land bills, right? That's for the grownups to handle. I want a new bike. Right now! I don't care that you can't afford it. That's your problem.

The bills end up being stalled in the Senate by various tactics employed by Conservative Senators, as their only ammunition against the Liberal-dominated Lifetime-endowed Chamber of Senile Second Thought.

This is a mess. I have no answers.

I mean if David Suzuki can't even get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us mere mortals?


PGP said...

"But what is the excuse of Mr. Fontaine, Mr. Barr and Mr. Suzuki?"

Not one damned thing my friend!

Sandy said...

Joanne -- Check out my site. I just got the Ont. PC Party messaging. It's a hoot. See also the video.

The great misleaders of history. Pass it around.