It was a bone-headed idea the first time he did it; and it’s still a bone-headed idea now. Our Great Poobah, Steven Harper, has prorogued parliament again. Maybe he’s just a masochist. Whatever he is, I’m sick of his childishness and wish he would just prorogue himself.
In case there’s anyone left who doesn’t know about this: Harper shut down parliament on 30 Dec, for a couple of months, because he wasn’t getting his way. The act of shutting the government down like this is called prorogation.
Lots of people are mightily pissed off about this. For example, there are several facebook groups dedicated to complaining about prorogation. The one I joined, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, has over 220,000 members, and it has a regular website too. Typically demure Canadians are atypically miffed at ol’ helmet-hair’s brazenness. We’re unaccustomed to being taken advantage of quite so obviously. Harper’s astounding arrogance is not something Canadians suffer gladly, but this isn’t really what burns my toast.
It has become quite clear that this move was one of political convenience alone. Like a spoilt brat at a playground, Harper has taken his ball and gone home, thus avoiding a lot of embarrassment about things like mistreatment of Afghan detainees. Even the most cursory review of the news – including from non-mainstream sources – makes it clear that we really need an operating parliament these days. But that’s not keeping me up at night either.
It’s rather bizarre that Harper would just call up Governor General Michaëlle Jean and arrange the matter over the phone – a sure sign of disrespect for the GG’s office, if not for Ms. Jean herself. I mean if I was going to stop a whole government, I’d at least make an appointment and have a chat. Perhaps even more bizarre is the lack of reporting (as near as I can tell) on why Ms. Jean granted Harper’s request. (I’ve only found one fairly shrill rant about it, which really wasn’t worth reading.) Sure, Ms. Jean seems like a really nice person, but that shouldn’t stop the people of Canada from understanding what happened here. But that’s not a big bother either.
What really pickles my cabbage is the notion that Harper keeps trying to sell this prorogation as if it were the right thing to do. No matter how staggeringly irrational it is, Harper just can’t bring himself to tell the truth. Of course, this isn’t surprising; he is, after all, a politician. And all politicians really do is make whatever thing they’re doing seem like the right thing. Although he’s living down to everyone’s expectations of him, I just can’t get over the inanity of it. His steadfast dedication to repeating the same tripe over and over again makes me wonder he isn’t some kind of nut. They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Harper keeps saying and doing things that denigrate Canadians, and Canadian Institutions, over and over again. And yet he expects us to just accept it? He keeps denying the most obvious facts, and expects us to think he’s rational? He keeps refusing to show any leadership in key international issues like climate change, foreign aid, and women’s rights, and expects us to think he’s progressive? He continually supports big business at the expense of the middle and lower classes, and calls himself a leader of the people? He cuts funding to science and engineering, yet expects innovation to thrive.
It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for the sheer magnitude of his folly. He’s shut down the government! This is big. Really, really big. Short of declaring himself Emperor of Canada, this is just about as big a thing as he can do. And yet he’s treating it as if it were a Sunday afternoon game of pickup baseball.
Sorry, folks, but this just isn’t how the leader of our country should act. He’s a putz. And the sooner we get him out of office, the better.