Saturday, February 13, 2010

Prorogue Facts: 2002 Chretien Prorogation

Due to certain misconceptions over prorogation and the failure of anyone in the media to clearly articulate the problem with this more recent decision to prorogue, this blog will present factual evidence to illustrate that, other than John A. MacDonald in 1893 (to avoid Pacific Scandal) and Stephen Harper in 2008 (to avoid vote of non-confidence) and today (to avoid Afghan detainee abuse scandal), no other Prime Minister in the history of Canada has abused the power of prorogation to avoid democratic accountability.

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2002 Prorogation by Jean Chretien

Misconception:
In 2002 Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament for 84 days.
Fact: In 2002 Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament from Sept.16-30, for 10 working days, in order to have a new Throne Speech with even Stephen Harper approving of this prorogation.

The misconception mistakenly takes into account the days Parliament was adjourned for summer vacation, however by these Globe and Mail articles it is clear Parliament was not prorogued until September 2002.

In 2002 Parliament was adjourned for summer vacation on June 13 to resume on Sept. 16, however on Sept.6 Jean Chretien announced he would prorogue and Parliament would not resume sitting until Sept. 30.

There are two images to the left, the first is from the Sept.5 2002 Globe and Mail and it described the likelihood that the Prime Minister would prorogue Parliament for a few days in order to create a new direction with a Throne Speech. To be clear it should be emphasized that Parliament was not prorogued at the time of this article.

This second image is from Sept.6 2002 which corroborates the earlier article by reporting that Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament until Sept.30 in order to start a new agenda. Of interest here is that even Stephen Harper approved of this prorogation.



From the Sept.6 2002 article Harper said referring to the prorogation, "I think it's actually a good thing. The Liberals have been flailing around on policy. I think they need to take some time and figure out what their agenda is, and write it down and deliver it. And I think that's probably the best way to start."

Note: Though the word prorogation is not used, the ending of a session and discussion of throne speech necessitate prorogation. The word prorogue was most likely avoided because it wasn't as common as it is now.

8 comments:

Fred from BC said...

So...since Chretien prorogued 4 times, this one wasn't the prorogation that he used to avoid the Auditor General's report on the Sponsorship Scandal or the one that was used to shut down the Somalia Inquiry? Good to know...

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Well my good Fred, I am not sure if I included this on my blog post but I wrote it as a part of a series to illustrate that prorogation was only used three times to avoid democratic accountability, the first by John A. MacDonald and the other two by Stephen Harper.

The number of times Chretien prorogued is meaningless, unless you have something against the power itself, which I would be interested to know your reasoning.

If you could check my most current post because it provides numerous articles showing that the 2003 prorogation was not done to avoid the Auditor General's report. Unless of course these articles are mistaken, and if they are I'd appreciate those that you have read to the contrary.

Thanks so much Fred.

Patrick Ross said...

"The misconception mistakenly takes into account the days Parliament was adjourned for summer vacation"

Fair enough -- this is evidently true.

But many of the opposition supporters protesting this proroguement have done the same, including time under which Parliament was adjourned as proroguement time.

jeanine said...

Jean Chretien's decision to prorogue Parliament in September 2002 prevented the delivery of a report, written for the House of Commons public accounts committee, into the sponsorship scandal.

Read it on Global News

Parliament has been prorogued 104 times...Trudeua & Pearson Prorogued 11 times, and not always for good reasons.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Jeanine would you be so kind as to post the link to that article you read? I ask because if that is true it appears my history book as well as the Parliamentary Library is incorrect, as that report you reference was not out until 2003, a full year after the date you suggest.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Also Jeanine in response to your reference of prorogation occurring 104 times, I'd like to point out that prorogation isn't a bad thing by itself, however it's abusive when its used to avoid an investigation into government.

I'd like to further refer you to the top of the post in which I wrote, "other than John A. MacDonald in 1893 (to avoid Pacific Scandal) and Stephen Harper in 2008 (to avoid vote of non-confidence) and today (to avoid Afghan detainee abuse scandal), no other Prime Minister in the history of Canada has abused the power of prorogation to avoid democratic accountability."

Paul C said...

This blog post isn't nearly detailed enough to justify the conclusions made. I am not disagreeing that Harper's prorogation is controversial. But in order to back up your claims you really need more than one lousy example before making a sweeping conclusion like that.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Paul, what conclusion are you referencing that needs more evidence?