And I'm going to take it lying down.
Holy Shit! Harper is the worst Prime Minister in history, a title he will hold for a long, long time. I hope. Jeez, I don't want to experience someone worse than him. Someone that prorogues parliament for purely selfish reasons is a coward, a liar, a weasel... I could go on. He's a despicable example of a human being, and a horrid Prime Minister. If you don't agree with that assessment, I'm not going to try to convince you.
But what do we do about it? Revolt? I can't muster up the enthusiasm for that at all. However, wouldn't that be such a Canadian reason for a revolt? We take to the streets because our Prime Minister prorogued parliament. The international press would be convinced we were off our rockers.
As a long-term strategy, this is a dumb move by Harper. Liberal and NDP supporters have no reason to switch allegiances, but Conservative supporters are starting to bleed away. Many of them see this for the abuse of power this is. Deliberately or unconsciously, Harper is basically counting on the larger non-political following public to support him. He's counting on those that don't give a shit about politics to give a shit about him in a general election. Not exactly bedrock support there.
Its the larger precedent that this sets that disturbs me (assuming the opposition does sweet fuck all about this, which is inevitable. But I still hold out hope.) This is the inevitable result when people called the Coalition undemocratic, and justified Harper's proroguing of parliament as a defensive measure. We have ceded all authority to the minority party. This is FPTP in its worst form. If nothing changes, we have guaranteed that any minority party in power will have the powers of a majority. Facing a non-confidence vote? Prorogue! Facing an investigation? Prorogue! Pet legislation defeated in the House of Commons? Prorogue! The Speaker disciplines you or one of your cabinet? Prorogue!
The power to Prorogue has usurped the power to vote non-confidence, to defeat bills, to oppose.
I'm going to repeat myself, if this is the system of government we want, we should do away with the concept of opposition parties. Only MPs from the party that wins the general election should sit. Hell, maybe we can reduce the paid MPs to just the sitting cabinet. What? You think it would be much different than what we have now? Lets be honest about it and save some money.
Do we really want this system of government? If we passively accept this usurpation of the privileges of parliament, then we do. But how do we not accept it then?
The mind quickly returns to protest, general unrest, revolt. The human propensity to effect abrupt change through crises and conflict. The incongruity of it all confounds me. We are not asking that much. All we want is for the government to be accountable to parliament. The way our system was designed to be (however effective it was). The change we want is a restoration of tradition. Not exactly a revolt to inspire the masses. How do you revolt to restore genteel tradition? Its like using a hammer to fix broken glass.
Which is why I'm resigned to the inevitability of it all. The continued erosion of MPs powers, and the resulting concentration in the PMO. My only hope is that this will eventually provoke a genuine crises some years down the road.
That is a sad hope. I'm pinning my hopes on a uncertain future conflict with the results turning in my favour. Its statistically more likely to invest my life savings in the lottery and using any winnings to buy an island in the Caribbean.
Updater: Short list of blogs I agree with: GAB is synchronous with my own thoughts, as is Steve and James Bow. Greg proposes a method for dealing with this (I'm not sure if I agree, but its not like I have a better idea), and of course the Beaver has a whole whack of posts I agree with. I can't link to all the posts I agree with, they're popping up faster than I can read them. If I excluded yours, its not because I don't see it as worthy!
I can only hope that the general public is as incensed and upset as those of us blogging about it are. So I guess that's a call to action. Get people upset about this. Educate them when the opportunity presents itself. Maybe our only weapon is who we vote for, but if the Conservatives crash and burn as a result of public opposition to this, that sends a clear message in and of itself. Returning the Conservative party to a two-seat rump in the next election would be a loud, ringing condemnation of this grab for power.