Government sets trap for opposition, who must approve request to cancel two break weeks once House resumes sitting
Then Jane Taber calls it a "direct challenge to the opposition". Oh jeez, I'm sure the opposition parties are scurrying around Ottawa, wondering how they can possibly deal with this gauntlet laid down by those clever Conservatives:
Facing an outpouring of anger and criticism over prorogation, the Conservatives are cancelling March break on Parliament Hill and one other off week scheduled for mid-April.
First off, this is a complete no brainer for the opposition. I can think of a million soundbite responses that say YES, we will be in Ottawa working, just like we were when you guys weren't- a veritable smorgasbord of material available. The opposition comes on side in a heartbeat, end of story.
What I find particularly fascinating, this maneouvre amounts to capitulation by the Conservatives. Now, suddenly, we need more time to deal with government business. It's an admission of their failed public relations strategy, it's DAMAGE CONTROL and it's actually DUMB when you think about it.
These two weeks, spaced separately, will be known as the prorogue replacement weeks, acting as reminders of what the Conservatives did. I don't mean to overstate, but instead of naturally moving on, as was bound to happen when Parliament returned, the Conservatives have purposely interjected the issue into the spring session. How that helps their cause escapes me, and it allows for mild poking from the opposition.
In addition, the more Parliament sits, the more it tends to work against the government. Isn't that why Harper prorogued in the FIRST place? Okay, okay, if you want to give us two more weeks of grilling you, UNCLE then.
There is no upside for the government, that I can tell. This view assumes a certainty, the opposition will show up for work on the weeks requested. A shrewd retort comes out tomorrow morning with formal acceptance, completely negating any potential public relations play by the Conservatives. Then, the issue is dead, all that is left is a sense of a desperate Conservative strategy to regain some credibility. Let that waft around, it dies down, then we have spectre of actual "votes" in Parliament to extend, once again bringing Ottawa back to the prorogue issue, a LOSER everytime for the government.
Thanks for the "challenge" and the "trap" you Kasparov-like PMO. A bigger softball has never been pitched.