Proroguing Parliament: To be or not to be

The chattering classes are atwitter with the idea that all Harper has to do is ask the GG to prorogue Parliament until January and his bacon will be saved. As an example, Ian MacDonald writes in the National Post:
"All Harper has to do is prorogue the House. In the Westminster tradition, managing the government’s agenda and timetable is the exclusive preserve of the prime minister. No governor-general has ever refused to sign an order-in-council to prorogue the House and bring it back with a new Throne Speech.
And there is a recent precedent for such a short session after an election. In 1988, after the free trade election, Brian Mulroney brought the House back in December with a Throne Speech accompanied by implementing legislation. The Throne Speech and bill were passed in 10 days and the session prorogued.
Harper has already caved on the party financing and public union issues. He has nothing to lose by resetting the clock."

Mr. MacDonald ,a former speechwriter for the Conservatives, has one fundamental factor wrong.In the example he cited, the PM met the House and got a vote of confidence so this is a spurious example of proroguing after a short session.

The essence of the matter is this: The GG appointed Mr. Harper because his party had the largest number of seats in the House. But Mr. Harper clearly does not enjoy the confidence of the House and the GG will be aware of that due to communications to her from the other party leaders. Unless he can win a confidence vote in the House Mr. Harper's credentials as PM are defunct.

To prorogue under these circumstances would be unique in Canadian history.

What MacDonald and others are forgetting is that we do not have a Presidential system. We elect a Parliament, not a Prime Minister. So, unless he can win a confidence vote, Mr. Harper has no prerogative to govern as PM or ask the GG to terminate this session before he has survived a confidence test.

Will the GG have the guts to call Harper on his bluff? Stay tuned.


Historic accord-Harper on the way out

Today we witnessed an historic accord that will see the Harper minority government out of power within weeks. A Liberal-NDP coalition with Bloc support! Who have thought it?

Regardless of how this unfolds, Harper's credibility is now shot. He will never regain the confidence of the other three parties and I am extremely doubtful that, if an election occurs with a new Liberal leader, that Harper would get even another minority. However long it takes, Harper has set in motion the momentum that will see him out of office within months.

There have been wily politicians in the past who might have negotiated their way out of this noose but not Harper. He is far too partisan and inflexible and he has infuriated the other three parties to an extent that would have seemed inconceivable a few weeks ago. They now have a common cause- remove Harper from office. And all the result of an unnecessary provocative manouver by Harper.

Tactics such as delayed votes, even proroguing, will not save him. He is "for the hanging", to quote an old phrase. And watch the bloodletting among the Tories once he is ousted. He will bear full responsibility for this debacle. The man who united the right may even provoke its unravelling in due course.