While Harper may in part be trying to avoid criticism what is probably more important is to pack the Senate and get rid of parliamentary committees that bothered Harper. Harper considers parliament and parliamentary processes as some sort of barrier to be overcome or disbanded when he does not like what they are doing. Here is the champion of a party that wanted a triple E senate now packing it just as those terrible Liberals would do if they got a chance. So much for change and accountability.
NDP slams Parliament suspension
Posted By BRENDAN WEDLEY AND ANDREA HOUSTON, EXAMINER STAFF WRITERS
Two prominent local NDP members slammed the Conservative government for suspending Parliament until March 3.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is trying to avoid criticism from the elected members of Parliament on not properly handling prisoners and violating the Geneva Convention, NDP riding association president Norm Slater said.
"When Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament in order to avoid criticism of the sponsorship scandal, Stephen Harper was the first one to criticize him," Slater said. "He's doing the same thing Jean Chretien did. I think the word hypocrisy comes to my mind."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government announced on Wednesday that Parliament would be shut down until March 3, with a budget presented the following day.
Parliament was originally scheduled to return on Jan. 25.
Proroguing Parliament allows the government to focus on the Vancouver Olympic Games, to fill the five vacant Senate seats to give the Conservatives a majority on Senate committees, and to disband Parliamentary committees, Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has said.
"We will effectively take a majority position in the senate in the coming weeks which will allow us to take... bills that have been blocked by the Liberal senators," he said.
Del Mastro said the proroguing of Parliament has nothing to do with the Afghan detainee issue.
MPs are elected to work, not to go home and to go on vacation, Slater said.
"For some reason (Harper) doesn't want to face Parliament and deal with the people who are elected to run the country. I guess he thinks he's the emperor or something," Slater said. "Democracy seems like a bother to him."
Local NDP candidate Dave Nickle said the Conservatives continuously contradict their election platform of being open and accountable with the Canadian people.
"But we are just getting more of the same," he said. "I don't think anybody who looks at the record of this government believes them."
Nickle said the Canadian people will view the decision to suspend Parliament "very cynically."
"I hope people really start to look beyond the fluff and look at the real workings of government," he said. "Whenever the going gets tough for this government, they take an extended holiday."
Peterborough Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor and local Liberal riding association president John Nichols couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff issued a statement after the announcement of the prorogation.
"The decision to prorogue is about one thing and one thing only -avoiding the scrutiny of Parliament at a time when this government is facing tough questions about their conduct in covering up the detainee scandal," Ignatieff stated. "By shutting down Parliament four times in just three years, Mr. Harper is showing that his first impulse when he is in trouble is to shut down Parliament."
The last time Harper asked Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament was in late 2008 when the Liberals and NDP agreed to try to form a coalition government.