Re: “Tories scramble to recover from prorogation hit, show they're working hard”
Do you suppose there will be 223,243 Canadians joining a Facebook group called “Canadians who think Proroguing doesn’t matter now that Harper is willing to work during March?
Tories scramble to recover from prorogation hit, show they're working hard
(CP) – 1 hour ago
OTTAWA — The Harper government is scrambling to take back the political agenda after suffering a beating in the polls over its decision to suspend Parliament.
The Conservatives trotted out a pair of cabinet ministers Thursday to assure Canadians they're hard at work - and that a new proposal to cancel parliamentary spring breaks is not just a cynical political ploy.
"The two break weeks need to be cancelled so we can work hard," Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis said. "We want to sit as much as possible in order to get the measures passed that we think Canadians want to see passed."
He didn't explain why Parliament couldn't be doing that work now.
Conservative whip Gordon O'Connor sent a memo to Tory MPs and senators on Wednesday, telling them to cancel their traditional spring breaks - a change that would need unanimous approval by all parties.
The move came after successive polls suggesting Tory popularity has taken a nose-dive since Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Dec. 30 that he was proroguing Parliament until March to recalibrate the government's agenda.
Last month, Harper and other top Tories said ordinary Canadians didn't consider prorogation to be a big issue.
"I know it's a big issue with the Ottawa media elite and some of the elites in our country," Industry Minister Tony Clement said Jan. 11. "It may not be what the chattering classes want, but we're not here to govern on behalf of the chattering classes."
Clement was singing a different tune Thursday as he emerged with Paradis from cabinet meetings to insist the government is working hard.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said he has no problem with the government's plan to cancel the parliamentary breaks, but suggested it would be better if the Tories simply came back to work now.
He said Harper's excuses for the shutdown have disappeared and now the PM is "in a scrambling act to ... catch up to the Liberal party."
Ignatieff has been getting daily headlines since returning to Ottawa with his MPs on Jan. 25 - the day Parliament was to resume.
"We've been at work for two weeks and we've had some great results," he said during a break from party roundtables on community safety and energy and the environment.
"Parliament should not have been shut down. Canadians are prepared to get Parliament back to work. Why is the prime minister not prepared to do that? And now, he wants us to work during the break weeks in March and April.
"We're perfectly prepared to do that but we're wondering why we couldn't have started working on the 25th of January."
The usual procedure after a prorogation is to follow the established calendar which would mean the MPs would have had a break week after March 15, just days after returning to the Commons. After nine days of sitting they would have had another two weeks off in April, including the week of Easter.
Opposition parties suggested Harper's move to suspend Parliament was an attempt to muzzle parliamentarians and avoid controversy sparked by hearings into Canada's role in Afghanistan and the treatment of prisoners transferred to Afghan authorities by Canadian soldiers.
Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Posted by Fillibluster at 4:27 PM