Though it is a real tongue twister, it?s a word on the lips of many Canadians this week. The Prime Minister announced Tuesday his recommendation to the Governor General that she PROROGUE Parliament, marking the end of the first session of the 39th Parliament. So what does that mean?
It means that after 19 very successful months in office, our Conservative Government has managed to accomplish many of the commitments we made to Canadians in the January 2006 election. As we detailed in our Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament in April 2006, our government is clean and accountable, our economy is strong, our nation is united and we have turned the corner on issues that were long neglected by the previous Liberal government, such as the environment and tackling crime.
Now, it?s time to reassess Canadians? priorities and move forward with the next phase of our mandate of change which we?ll launch with a Speech from the Throne on October 16th.
Prorogation is nothing new. This situation is unique only in that it is the first time for this particular Parliament. Over 13 years, the former Liberal government prorogued Parliament four times and called four early elections. Our first session of parliament is longer than several of the parliamentary sessions under the Liberals.
For me personally, this is a welcome development from a scheduling perspective. As Chief Government Whip, it is imperative that I be in Ottawa at all times when the House of Commons is in session. And in conjunction with this summer?s cabinet shuffle, my ministerial responsibilities now include duties with the Treasury Board along with the Board of Internal Economy. This change in the Parliamentary calendar allows me additional time in my riding to work with constituents, businesses and municipal governments.
I know that many constituents are concerned about the status of several important Government bills, particularly our justice and democratic reform legislation. While prorogation does effectively terminate all business before both the House of Commons and Senate, including bills and motions, there is no need to start from scratch. A piece of legislation can be reinstated at the same stage it had reached in the previous session if the majority of the House supports a motion to do so.
The opposition parties? conspiracy theories on why Prime Minister Stephen Harper sought to prorogue Parliament are as varied and contradictory as their policies. On one hand, they say our Conservative Government is trying to avoid confrontation and debate with the opposition by proroguing Parliament. On the other hand, they are claiming we prorogued in a confrontational attempt to force a general election.
Regardless, I know many of my caucus colleagues are eagerly looking forward to this upcoming session with a set of clear and refocused priorities. A lot has changed in our country and in the world throughout the past 19 months. And like any strong leadership, our government knows that Canadians want reassurance that we have a purposeful vision reflecting THEIR needs and concerns.