Monday, January 11, 2010

Clement says 'elites' making prorogation an issue

(From CBC)

I can't believe the arrogance of this government. I take that back, yes I can. As I mentioned before, the Mike Harris team has moved into 24 Sussex Drive and is having their way with us.

(The least they could do is give me a tax break so that I could afford dinner and drinks.)

So Tony Clement says that the only people making a fuss of this whole prorogation thing is the elite and the chattering class; that he has only gotten "maybe three dozen emails". How insulting is that?

How so "Reform Party". But should we be surprised. Whatever Harper does is done to strengthen his power and weaken public discourse.

This issue isn't just about taking a three month vacation, this is about our paid representatives
not being able to follow through on legislation that is currently before the Commons. Let's not mention the Afghan inquiry.

Here's the CBC article, please read and make your voice heard even at the risk of being elitist.

Academics slam suspension of Parliament

MP Tony Clement says criticism from 'elites' doesn't reflect Canadians' views

Parliament is set to resume on March 3 following an extended break over the holidays and the Vancouver 2010 Games.Parliament is set to resume on March 3 following an extended break over the holidays and the Vancouver 2010 Games. (Kerry Wall/CBC)

A group of university professors is condemning the federal government's decision to suspend Parliament, but the ruling Conservatives appear unmoved by the latest criticism.

Over 100 professors have signed a letter written by University of Montreal philosophy Prof. Daniel Weinstock that accuses Prime Minister Stephen Harper of violating "the trust of the Canadian people [and] thus acting anti-democratically."

The letter, to be sent to major newspapers in Eastern Canada, is the latest criticism of Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3.

The Liberal Party released two English-language ads and one French-language ad on the internet on Sunday describing the prorogation as Harper's "holiday gift to himself." A group on the online social network Facebook called Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament also has over 150,000 members.

And an EKOS poll, released exclusively to CBC News last week, suggested 58 per cent of Canadians aware of the decision opposed the move, compared to 31 per cent who supported it. Opposition to the decision was highest among Liberal and NDP supporters and those with a university education.

Weinstock told CBC News that the structure of powers in Canada gives the prime minister more sway to make decisions than a U.S. president, requiring Harper to exercise discretion before using powers like prorogation.

"It really does require that the holder of the office exercise some self-restraint in the use of the powers that are vested in him, and that he use them for the public good rather than for narrowly partisan reasons or to evade accountability as we feel the prime minister has in this case," he said.

Clement says 'elites' making prorogation an issue

The Conservatives appear unfazed by the criticism, however, with Industry Minister Tony Clement saying Monday that ordinary Canadians don'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, but I got to tell you if reaction in my constituency is any indication, I've had maybe three dozen emails," he said.

Clement said the government was focused on the economy and the next session of Parliament.

"It may not be what the chattering classes want, but we're not here to govern on behalf of the chattering classes," he said.

Opposition parties suggested Harper's move to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament was an attempt to muzzle parliamentarians and avoid the controversy sparked by hearings into Canada's role in Afghanistan — specifically, the treatment of detainees transferred to Afghan authorities by the Canadian Forces.

The Conservative government said it sought the suspension to have time to consult with Canadians, stakeholders and businesses as it moved into the "next phase" of its economic action plan amid signs of economic recovery.

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