As the dust settles on McGuinty's shocking resignation announcement, the pungent stench of his prorogation decision remains. It is unclear if there are long term ramifications for a clearly unpopular move, particularly with a new leader coming, the Liberals may be able to bookend the whole affair. That said, with many potential successors defending the decision, this prorogation could haunt the Liberals moving forward.
About the only notable Liberal I've heard come out strongly against this unnecessary prorogation is Gerard Kennedy. I've heard a few commentators float cynical motivations, but let's not forget this is the same person who went to Bob Rae during the 11th hour when everyone knew Ignatieff had it game, set and match, only because he felt democratic expression was a casualty. In other words, Gerard Kennedy tends to lead with his principles first, political calculations second, I take his words as sincere concern. Within that vein, the fact Kennedy remains a lonely voice questioning the wisdom, disappointing, considering many Liberals went apocalyptic (self included) when other governments have abused prorogation.
Liberals can split hairs and offer various justifications to distinguish this particular prorogation. Of course each instance is unique, and perhaps in terms of degree the Harper Conservatives have no peer. However, there are some fundamental points that remain, the same ones federal Liberals RAN on in the last election, the same basic tenets we got red faced about when our political rival shut down the democratic process.
McGuinty's decision reduces the Ontario Legislature to a body which serves at his whim, forever secondary to the personal machinations and political ambitions of the Premier. Perhaps the system is set up as such, but the way government's now use prorogation a complete bastardization of original intent. The work done in Committee's, the policies debated, the laws working through the process, all these things are BIGGER than the Premier. Ontarians have elected representatives who are now rendered impotent and irrelevant because a man took a walk in the snow and sees no political advantage to let democracy breathe. How can any democrat remain silent on this front, how can we rationalize further decay that confronts notions of egalatarianism and confronts the people's voice?
McGuinty made a very astute and sound decision to resign at this time, there is no question in my mind his regime was past its best before date. There are many things the McGuinty government did that people can be proud of, but all that is sullied with this final decision. McGuinty leaves with an air of arrogance, real or perceived irrelevant, prorogation roundly unpopular. McGuinty has given rivals the high ground, while simultaneously leaving other members of his government offering the lamest of excuses to justify. As well, federal Liberals are left running for the exits, not wanting to confront the naked hypocrisy that surely exists the moment they comment on this particular prorogation. I can only imagine the contortions the next time Harper prorogues, neutered Liberals are lost. In fact, this whole affair makes one wonder just what all the kerfuffle was about, all the speeches, the indignation, the holier than thou rants about supremacy of Parliament, the people's will, the business of the nation, blah, blah, blah.
In the final analysis, the selective outrage is perhaps instructive when trying to ascertain why Liberals currently sit where we do....