The big shrug: II
So Parliament is shut down until March, after the Olympics. I'm sure I'm not the only one asking how this move fits with the little chat that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had with the Governor-General a year and a bit ago. As I understand it, he was granted a stay of execution for his government on the understanding that he would make Parliament work.
Perhaps it's just me, but defying an order of Parliament to produce documents on Afghanistan, boycotting a Commons committee and then shutting down Parliament all together doesn't seem to fit with the "making it work" thing. More to the point, Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff have made it clear in recent weeks and months that they're not about to provoke an election. So the PM can't make the argument that the opposition has made governing precarious. Nor can he legitimately argue that he needs a majority in the Senate. He is a minority Prime Minister, let's not forget. Canadians voted to keep a check on his power.
But of course, none of us know what Michaelle Jean told Harper during that longer-than-expected chat in December 2008. Who knows? Maybe she said that the Prime Minister should try to make Parliament work, unless the Olympics were on, and then all bets were off.
In the end, of course, it's not Michaelle Jean who has to approve this move. It's Canadians -- including you folks out there reading this -- who have to decide whether Harper has a legitimate reason to suspend the work of Parliament. Personally, I haven't heard one good reason yet.