Running away from the legislature

Peter Loewen condemns Dalton McGuinty’s use of prorogation.

Is McGuinty’s comportment worse than Harper’s? Almost certainly. The Premier has announced he is proroguing the legislature for a substantially longer period of time. Yet he insists that he will govern. Conveniently, he will do so without the hassle of securing opposition support. In the meantime, he will avoid scrutiny over decisions on the energy file that appear worse by the day. And he will step down from the government before the legislature returns. When that will happen remains undefined.

This is not merely a resetting of the clock. It is a wholesale flight from responsibility.

Similarly, Mark Jarvis sees an unfortunate trend.

The premier’s tone and message is reminiscent of Premier Christy Clark, who earlier this fall cancelled the fall term of the British Columbian legislature, leaving an open question as to whether or not it would sit at all before the scheduled provincial election in May. On the opposite coast, the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature reopened this March after having only sat for a total of just 33 days in the previous 14 months.

These actions violate the basic premise of responsible government: that the house or legislature, as the case may be, is actually in session in order to fulfill its fundamental responsibilities: to review government legislation, to scrutinize government administration and to extend or withdraw confidence as it deems fit. These developments should be disconcerting to us all.

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