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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Do your duty 

This is pure speculation on my part -- doing actual research would ruin my amateur standing, after all -- but I think in the secret heart of this Canada of ours, deep down where people really live, we are getting mad at Stephen Harper.
He isn't doing his job.
And Canadians don't like it when people don't do their job.
Sure, the syncopates in the press gallery can bow and scrape about how "devilishly clever" Harper was prorogue Parliament last week, but Canadians are not impressed with tricky word games. We will tolerate a lot from our politicians in Ottawa -- late lunches and long weekends and summer-time junkets -- but there is a limit. Canadians won't tolerate politicians who think it should be routine to pay themselves for not working.
Sure, we are distracted by hockey and the Olympics, sure we're digging out from snowstorms and thinking about house prices and jobs. That's why the reaction is taking a little time to build up.
But I do believe it is building now.
Now we're wondering why we have to line up along highways to watch more bodies come home while cabinet ministers refuse to answer questions about Afghan prisoners.
We're wondering why the Harper Conservatives kept telling us how damned important their crime bills are and then blithely ditch them because they're trying to save themselves a little embarrassment.
We're wondering why the Harper Conservatives pontificated last spring about how damned necessary it was for Canada to have a steady hand managing the economy, but they don't seem to be capable of getting things done and then they blithely throw the government into chaos by another prorogue.
Newspapers across the country have published editorials and more editorials and letters to the editor about Harper's contempt for democracy. I've been reading some great posts on the progressive blogs, too -- here and here, and here, and here, and everything here . The Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament now has more than 53,000 members -- I think about 30,000 joined just today. Rallies across the country are being organized for Saturday, Jan 23.
The Liberals are now trying to catch the wave -- Scott reports tonight that Liberal MPs will be coming back to Ottawa on January 25 to demonstrate to Canadians that at least some politicians are working.
Rick Mercer sums up why Canadians are getting angry:
...This prime minister has gone from the promise of an open, accessible and accountable government to a government that is simply closed.
It is too bad that prorogation isn't something that our soldiers have in their arsenal. When faced with the order to head out on a foot patrol in the Panjwaii district of southern Afghanistan, to risk their lives to bring democracy to that place, wouldn't it be nice if they could simply prorogue and roll over and go back to sleep. Soldiers don't get that luxury. That is afforded only to the people who ultimately order them to walk down those dangerous dusty roads in the first place.
HT to Alison.

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