A year ago, 90% of Canadians had never, I surmise, heard of the word “prorogation”. That’s because it’s supposed to be incredibly rare for the elected leader of a parliamentary democracy to ask the reigning monarch/head of state to suspend the country’s legislature. What does it mean, effectively? It means that all bills and motions and sitting committees (known as orders of the body) are expunged, but sitting Members of Parliament don’t get fired. That is to say, they’re sent home but there is no need for another election. As an interesting side note, in the British Parliament, certain bills are not affected by prorogation.
Now, technically, the Queen herself, the Governor General, or the Lieutenant Governor could summon Parliament back to work at any time. Indeed, the MPs themselves can meet when and wherever they’d like, even if Parliament is not in session. Their work doesn’t HAVE to stop just because their office is closed. I’ve phoned my twat of an MP to ask him to continue his work as my elected leader in Parliament regardless of whether the Legislature is sitting, but I’ve a really good feeling that he doesn’t listen to me. Which is one of many reasons I did not vote for him.
Historically, prorogation was used by monarchs to essentially control Parliament. Don’t like the proposed laws being read as bills? Prorogue the place and those Bills die and are tossed out with yesterday’s wash water. You want Parliamentary approval for your new favourite spending plan? Summon Parliament back, throw your weight as the Monarch around a while (maybe suggest that so-and-so might get another appointment if he rubber-stamps your suggestion), then send them all away again to the cotswolds. It’s all about making sure Parliamentarians know who’s *really* boss (the Monarch, in case you dozed off, there). At least, it *was*.
So what’s the situation? Why is is that 25% more Canadians now know what prorogue means? Well. This is a little bit of a sore spot for me.
In Canada, the Prime Minister usually only asks for prorogation when s/he is in immediate danger of being drastically humiliated. Sometimes, the Prime Minister asks to suspend Parliament because he’s simply not getting his way (do you hear me, Brian Mulroney? Sometimes, the reason you don’t get your way is because the PEOPLE don’t WANT you to. Funny, that).
Stephen Harper has prorogued Parliament three times in three years; twice in *one* year. Rather than let the majority speak/vote against him, he’s deciding to spend taxpayers’ money on sending MPs off onto a paid vacation while the actual business of the country cannot progress. It makes me angry because it’s cowardly. And worse than that, it makes me even angrier that *I* didn’t vote for our dictator. In proroging Parliament, Harper has removed the ability of Canadian people to govern themselves.
I would really like for the Queen to just rip the thermometer out of his armpit and scoff “you’re perfectly FINE, Stephen. You do NOT need to stay home from school. And besides, if you don’t go to school, you don’t get to go to the Olympics.”