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Rally Poster

New Democrats Demand New Limits to Prorogation

Op-Ed

On January 25th, 2010 the riding of Brant will not be represented in Parliament.  Though this was the date scheduled for Parliament to resume it will not be happening.  The Prime Minister has locked the door’s to the people’s House. Those that return to Parliament wanting to work will find that the Prime Minister has locked the doors, shut out the MPs and is nowhere to be seen on Parliament Hill.  

What a terrible way to begin a new decade of Parliament.

Sadly, our elected representative and Conservative MP Phil McColeman will be supporting the Prime Minister’s decision despite the desires of this riding.

With all of the challenges facing Canada – job creation, climate change, the war in Afghanistan – Parliament must be able to do its work.  Holding the Prime Minister his team to account is a vital part of that work.

That’s why, when Parliament returns, our party will be proposing legislation to limit the power of prorogation so that the Prime Minister can no longer abuse it. It is my belief and the belief of many that we deserve a government that can multi-task and work through the many difficult issues facing Canadians.

This proposed legislation will inform the Governor-General of the will of the majority, so that prorogation happens when it is needed and not simply when a Prime Minister feels like it.  Legislation like this is necessary, because even Prime Ministers who promise a new approach don’t always deliver.

Stephen Harper was elected on the promise of a new day in Ottawa – more open, more transparent, and more accountable.  Canadians were told that the sun was setting on the old ways of the previously elected Liberals – the scandals, corruption, secrecy and arrogance.

But that new day never dawned.  Instead we have a government and Prime Minister with more secrets, more arrogance and more disdain for the elected House of the people of Canada.   In Ottawa, there is just more of the same old politics.

Mr. Harper’s unilateral decision to suspend Parliament is wrong. It’s wrong because suspending Parliament will hurt those Canadians who were counting on Parliament to be there for them; to pass laws that would protect their pensions, clean up their environment or extend their employment insurance.

With so much work to be done, Canadians have demanded to know why Mr. Harper shut down Parliament. Was it because he didn’t want to face the House over the treatment of Afghan detainees?  Or was it because of his failures on climate change?  Or because there are still no new jobs? Or is it simply that partisan games, the old politics, matter more to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives than the challenges facing Canada?

Canadians have a right to ask, because the excuses Mr. Harper has given don’t add up.  He claimed he needed to reset his agenda – even though 36 government bills died when he prorogued Parliament. Then he claimed that debate in the House is bad for financial markets – even though the Prime Minister being answerable to Parliament is the foundation of our democracy and that is the foundation of a strong Canadian economy.

Fortunately for Canadians, there is a new kind of politics emerging.  This new politics is coming from the grassroots, it’s happening in neighbourhoods across the country.  People are joining social networking groups and making their voices heard in new media.  They’ve organized rallies and town halls. 

This new politics says there’s a better way forward; an end to secrecy and arrogance; the beginning of openness and accountability.  The new politics is New Democrat politics. In that same spirit, limiting the power of prorogation is a strong foundation for a better Parliament.

We will get past the old politics in Brant Riding and make bold moves to ensure that the new politics continues to grow. 

Ridings like this one have the opportunity to be the ones to move past the Prime Minister’s agenda and push forward.

We don’t need mascots that continue to push Mr. Harper’s agenda we need effective leadership.  This will not be the last you will be hearing on this issue locally.

We hope to see you at the various rallies in the region and will be looking for your support on this issue in the weeks ahead.

In Leadership and Solidarity,

-Marc Laferriere

Federal Candidate Brant NDP 

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