The most recent Ipsos-Reid poll conducted between Jan. 19 and 21 shows the Conservatives leading the Liberals 34 per cent to 31 per cent. Not a huge lead, of course, but a lead nevertheless. The last EKOS poll conducted on Jan. 13 to 19 showed the Conservatives with a slim lead over the Liberals of 31.5 per cent to 30.9 per cent.
The Ipsos-Reid results could indicate that prorogation as a political issue has run its course or, at the very least, has peaked. And I believe it is worth noting that throughout the period when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was being hammered hourly by a predominantly hostile mainstream media his party managed to maintain a lead in the polls albeit a small one at times.
Therein is a powerful message to Michael Ignatieff and his caucus: the Canadian public is not buying whatever they are selling. Of course, it does not help the Liberals that the public is getting the other side of the story from newspapers like the Toronto Sun and the National Post. Through these and other sources such as the Blogging Tories, Canadians have been reminded of the many dozens of times Liberal prime ministers and premiers have themselves used prorogation.
Recently, Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun reminded us that Liberal MP Bob Rae—while serving his single term as Ontario’s premier—prorogued the Ontario legislature in December of 1991, 1992 and 1994. Ms. Blizzard also points out:
“By 1994, his [Bob Rae’s NDP] government had run out of steam. They were running double-digit deficits and he’d doubled the debt. Some of his experimental policies proved laughable at best and disastrous at worst.
“Limping badly, he prorogued for the third time on Dec. 9, 1994. The House did not sit again until the legislature was dissolved April 28, 1995.
“Rae didn’t even bring in a budget that year.
“For four-and-a-half months, this province had no sitting Legislature.”
Does Michael Ignatieff really believe that Canadians cannot recognize feigned indignation? Sure, some Canadians are taken in, some even sincerely believe the PM is wrong.
Don’t count Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae among that latter group, however. In fact, don’t include either one in any group that lists sincerity as a prerequisite for membership.
Neither Michael Ignatieff nor Bob Rae is crying out to have the rules changed to ban or curtail the future use of prorogation. Apparently, in their view, prorogation is only a bad thing when Stephen Harper does it.
And one should also exclude Liberal MPs Ujjal Dosanjh, Ralph Goodale, John McCallum and the rest of the old-timers who served under former prime minister Jean Chrétien when he prorogued. Back then, we didn’t hear a whimper of protest from them.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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