Fixing prorogation central to New Democrat plan
OTTAWA – New Democrat leader Jack Layton, after slamming Prime Minister Harper for his dismissal of Parliament, today set out constructive proposals for reform, including new rules for prorogation.
"Today I am announcing that the New Democrats will bring proposals for legislation to limit the power of prorogation so the Prime Minister cannot abuse it. The government should only prorogue Parliament on a vote in the House of Commons. This will inform the Governor General of the will of the majority, so that prorogation happens when it is needed – not simply when the Prime Minister feels like it."
Not exactly an earth shattering proposal or particularly daring, but it accomplishes what it intended, namely placing the NDP as the driver for reforming this arcane prorogation power. It speaks to parliamentary supremacy, which is the core slight that Harper engineered. You can debate the constitutional arguments, but that's hardly the optical point- the NDP wants to negate the whims of a Prime Minister. People will respond to the above proposal, a simple measure that confronts the nature of the perceived problem.
The Liberals have been doing a lot of good things lately, plenty of positive signs that have me encouraged. Why we voluntarily ceded this prorogation ground to the NDP escapes me. This proposal is so basic, so transparent, that anyone can understand what it means. Would it have been so "outside the box" to have taken the initiative and put the Liberals out front on this issue? Do we think other parties sit on their hands, while we plot slowly? Outflanked again, and worse still, you could see it coming...