10.24.2012 08:37 AM

Are the Ontario PCs and NDs full of it on prorogation?

Why, yes.  Yes they are.  Glad you asked.

From the ever-quick Justin Tetreault:

During the Mike Harris/Ernie Eves years, the Ontario PCs prorogued the Legislature five times: Dec. 18, 1997 to April 23, 1998 – 126 days; Dec. 18, 1998 to April 22, 1999 – 125 days; March 2, 2001 to April 19, 2001 – 48 days; March 1, 2002 to May 9, 2002 – 69 days; and March 12, 2003 to April 30, 2003 – 49 days.

When the Ontario NDP was in government, their party prorogued three times during their five year majority reign: Dec. 19, 1991 to April 6, 1992 – 109 days; Dec. 10, 1992 to April 13, 1993 – 124 days; and Dec. 9, 1994 to April 29, 1995 – 140 days, after which they dissolved government and called an election.

29 Comments

  1. Jonathan Giggs says:

    Had the government completed the Throne Speech agenda, and had most of the Bills passed, and had the Legislature committees finished their work, it would have been time to prorogued the Legislature. I would object had the Ontario PCs or NDP prorogued the Legislature at this time.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      a) With the planned resignation of the premier, the government would be leaderless if the house fell to a non-confidence vote and an election had to be called. b) With the planned resignation of the premier, a new leader will have different legislative priorities to put before the house. c) The opposition parties were not allowing the business of the house to be moved along — nothing was getting done. d) Any business of the house, including any procedure on the contempt allegation, can resume when the house resumes. e) Prorogation is a perfectly fine and legit legislative tool, to permit the government to re-group, adjust priorities, determine a new agenda. It is not like it was 2 weeks ago that the Throne Speech was read f) It is difficult to believe the NDP would support back-to-work legislation.

  2. MississaugaPeter says:

    Robert Benzie (@robertbenzie), The Star Reporter tweeted this morning

    “Pupatello tells @metromorning prorogation was necessary because opposition was throwing house into “chaos,” jeopardizing econ. #onpoli

    Jeopardizing econ? A little much you don’t think?

    • Warren says:

      No, I don’t. Check what I just posted.

      • MississaugaPeter says:

        I agree with you that prorogation, and even longer and more often, summer recesses that last well into fall, happen all the time.

        My question is: Does Sandra plan to prorogue every time there is heated debate at Queen’s Park? And do you agree with her that not proroguing would have ment that our economy would be jeopardized?

        She is the frontrunner. But already I see Ignatieff-type comments that will make the re-election of many sitting Liberal MPs a lot more difficult. Trying to defend the leader’s comments at the door step just sucks (I know, from experience canvassing).

  3. Glen says:

    Doesn’t make it right for McGuinty.

  4. Greg from Calgary says:

    For sure. When parties are in power they prorogue. When out they complain like Hudak/Horwath are now. I got a chuckle when Bob Rae was singing “He Prorogues” about Harper when as premier Rae had done the same thing. And I wonder why I am cynical about politicians. Yeesh.

  5. Torgo says:

    Having gone through a similar controversy here in BC with Clark deciding not to have a fall session of the Legislature, I wish we’d start to realize the difference between the actual running of the government and the democratic theater that is Parliament/Legislature. While I think that too many governments across Canada are abusing the privilege when they prorogue (doing it solely for political reasons rather than for practical reasons), I don’t think it’s something to set your hair on fire for.

  6. vandelay says:

    Not sure this says what you think it says there Warren. What you’re showing here is just that the Libs are no better than their predecessors, not that the Cons and NDP don’t have legitimate criticisms.

    • Warren says:

      It says they are hypocrites.

      • Jonathan Giggs says:

        Sure, they are all hypocrites, but the real losers again are the people of Ontario. The defense that it is okay now because “they” did it more than “we” is what 5-year olds use in the sandbox. Or perhaps the pool. Premier Dad is now head Lifeguard and he saved, as the Toronto Star calls, “embattled” Chris Bentley from drowning. Let’s be clear: the reasons for and the reasons given are not the same. Wasn’t the decision to prorogue made before the decision to resign?

  7. portage & main says:

    I’m just wondering where all the people are who were running around like their hair was on fire when Harper prorogued a few years ago.

  8. Jon Evan says:

    Look, to prologue is for short term political gain. Let’s not kid ourselves! But it’s a gamble longer term. SH took the gamble and got a maj. longer term. Dalton’s party gains short term but Ontarians will judge the party longer term. Dalton is not doing his party a favor with this prologue stunt longer term is my opinion. If he was a real leader like Harper he would have stuck around to deal with his decisions!

  9. Billy Boy says:

    The crux of the issue is not act of prorogation but the legitimate use of such a blunt instrument. It is not rnough to show that other parties prorogued. It must be shown that those other intances were illegitimate and deliberate attemtps to circumvent legislative accountability.

    In McGuinty’s case it is, on the other hand, it is highly implausible to think that he prorogued for anything other than to short circuit accountability.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      It would be unfair to expose his government to a non-confidence vote while it was choosing another leader. The business of the house was not getting done, stalled with an opposition which did not want to pass anything nor defeat a popular government. The legislative imperative established by the leader had come to an end, to be revisited by a new leader when chosen in a few short weeks. All business of the government, including any “accountability” will return with the resumption of the house.

  10. billg says:

    I think most voters would thank Mr McGuinty for turning off the noise.
    Harper prorogued then went out and won a majority.
    That’s your answer.

  11. James Hanna says:

    Not entirely true; MacDonald prorogued Parliament in August 1873 to avoid what would have led to a confidence motion; when Parliament resumed he was censured and resigned.

    Which again brings me to a point I made before- all a prorogation does is delay. Interestingly, in 1873 the GG put some significant conditions on the prorogation; a precedent that could have informed more recent events.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Then there would be no government. There would be no cabinet, not house leader, no one from whom to choose to form a government.

      Geez, a little fucking civics education would go a long way in this country.

  12. Mike Chopowick says:

    To be sure, are you confusing prorogations with adjournments and recesses (they are completely different)? What is the source for all this…for example I don’t recall the house being prorogued in 2005, nor in 2002…if you’re right, then kudos, but perhaps a fact check is in order…

  13. reformatory says:

    They may be hippocrites but Christina Blizzard sure sets the record straight on her thoughts about Dalto. She leans into him big time, and guess what.. I bet that’s what most Ontarians think of him right now as well. He picked the worse time to leave and it looks so suspicious. If her really wanted to take a walk in the rain.. he should have done it at the Christmas break and then recalibrated for the spring. The entire holiday would have been spent giving him accolades. Instead he is exposed for what he really is.

    Yikes.. what a turn of events. What a scam.
    At some point I would have thought he could have had a future like Roy Rpmanov. Not anymore. He’s only good in the board room right now.

    What a loser. I would feel ashamed if I was all his handlers and stategists– talk about a let down

  14. Mike Crawley CBC News says:

    There’s a myth being floated around here and by some cabinet ministers to justify prorogation: that the Opposition could have brought down the Liberal minority government while the party was in the midst of choosing a new leader. The fact is: in Ontario, the Opposition does not have an unfettered ability to call a non-confidence vote whenever it wants. Yes, the Opposition can introduce a non-confidence motion, but the decision on whether to call a vote … is up to the Government. So in reality, the only times that the Opposition in Ontario is guaranteed to have a shot at bringing down the government are a) when voting on an item that must be a confidence vote (Throne Speech or budget) or b) when voting on an item that the government deems to be a confidence motion. Either way, the timing is is the government’s hands … not the Opposition’s. (And you can check with the Government House Leader’s office if you think I’m wrong.)

    • Jonathan Giggs says:

      Thank you. Please read Tim Sullivan.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        Yeah, ’cause holding off on a non-confidence vote won’t attract any, or the same, criticism. Good idea.

        Now, how about a list of all the things that were getting accomplished.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        I head Mike Crawley’s little news piece on the CBC a few mornings ago, about how the opposition parties think this prorogation is such an assault on democracy. While busy getting myself and my kids out of the house, one child to school where I am pleased there is a Liberal policy in place the PCs want to revoke, I remember thinking: so now he’ll have the other side, a counterpoint to the opposition’s criticism, like the Premier or House Leader explaining how work was not getting done.

        Nada.

        So what did those PC’ers do when Harper, a week or 2 into the session and a month after the election, have to say about prorogation?

        Didn’t come up.

        So, I can check with the House Leader’s ooffice, but I expect I’m out meeting a payroll and don’t have the time, maybe a reporter can do that for me.

        It didn’t happen on that morning puff piece Mike Crawley did.

        Thanks, Jonathan Giggs, for the recommendation. I will rely on the CBC do get the news and information for me. I’ll prefer to do my own thinking, however.

  15. Michael says:

    Prorogation is legit when it’s not used to duck the opposition. If the government had reached the end of its first legislative programme, a new throne speech and new session would have been appropriate.

    Of course, that’s not happening in this case. And if it was Tiny Tim pulling this crap, you would agree.

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