Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dangerous

Wake-up call for any fence sitters:
The prospect of the Prime Minister trying to shut down Parliament to avoid defeat has one constitutional scholar shaking in his boots.

Political scientist Peter Russell said Stephen Harper may have the right to ask Governor General Michaƫlle Jean to prorogue Parliament and end the current session but doing so would set a dangerous and undemocratic precedent.

"Of all the things that have happened or have been threatened to be about to happen, this is the most dangerous because it shows the intention of the Prime Minister to govern without Parliament and that is undermining our parliamentary democracy," said Russell, a University of Toronto professor emeritus.

"It got me shaking in my boots," said Russell before adding he remains optimistic Harper will not choose this path.
Oh the issues that are discussed under the tenure of Prime Minister Harper. Bringing us to record new lows in democratic standards. As this expert suggests, the prorogation option reeks of desperation:
“I can’t remember when this power to prorogue was invoked to lock out Parliament for a few weeks waiting for cooler heads,” said Louis Massicotte, a professor at Laval University. “It sounds really desperate to me. It’s like closing shop when the kitchen becomes hot.”
Yes, and when you can't stand the heat...

For more on prorogation and whether Harper's possible coming request is permissible, there are two experts who support prorogation here and another expressing doubt, here. Meaning that Ms. Jean is likely to find herself in a bit of a bind, should Mr. Harper approach her on this.