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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Off with his head

It was with jaw-dropping astonishment that I read Dalton's McGuinty's lame reasons for proroguing the Ontario Legislature:
Ontario’s opposition parties reacted with disbelief Wednesday after Premier Dalton McGuinty dismissed a contempt motion against his minority government as “phoney” and blamed them for his sudden decision to prorogue the legislature.
“They consumed an entire week with a spurious, phoney contempt motion rather than do the people’s business,” McGuinty said when asked why he shut down all legislative business until at least February 2013.
“They allowed themselves to be consumed by that phoney contempt motion.”
McGuinty also blamed the Opposition for delaying legislative business by repeatedly ringing the division bells, something they haven’t done in months, and flatly denied he prorogued to avoid the contempt motions and more fallout over the gas plants.
“I prorogued because the place was becoming overheated and because the public interest demanded that we find a way to freeze public sector wages, and it became obvious that is not something we’re going to be able to do through the legislature,” he said.
“I blew the whistle. I said ’all right, everybody out of the pool. Let’s allow the waters to calm.”’
What the hell? Of all the slimy things McGuinty has done in his disastrous eight years at the helm of this province, this is the most reptilian. The Premier is annoyed that the elected members aren't cooperating with his plans, so he's decided to go ahead and rule without the inconvenience of having to answer to them, because "it became obvious that is not something we're going to be able to do through the legislature"? He's mad that the MPPs are "delaying legislative business" so he dismisses the legislature until February, effectively ending ALL legislative business? This is astonishing, even for a Liberal. He said to the elected representatives of the people of Ontario "all right, everybody out of the pool"? Not only is his snide statement arrogant, it's an insult. The people who screamed bloody murder when Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament when faced with a procedural coup d'etat by the opposition parties had better be marching on Queen's Park with torches and pitchforks pretty damned soon.

You know, there's a historic precedent for dealing with this situation. In 1629, King Charles I prorogued the English Parliament when it refused to cooperate with his plans for war on the continent, and he began eleven years of governing without the House of Commons in a period which came to be known as The Eleven Years' Tyranny:
In January 1629 Charles opened the second session of the Parliament, which had been prorogued in June 1628, with a moderate speech on the tonnage and poundage issue. Members of the House of Commons began to voice their opposition in light of the Rolle case, in which the eponymous MP had had his goods confiscated for failing to pay tonnage and poundage. Many MPs viewed the confiscation as a breach of the Petition of Right arguing that the petition's freedom-from-arrest privilege extended to goods. When Charles ordered a parliamentary adjournment on 10 March, members held the Speaker, Sir John Finch, down in his chair so that the dissolving of Parliament could be delayed long enough for resolutions against Catholicism, Arminianism and poundage and tonnage to be read out. The lattermost resolution declared that anyone who paid tonnage or poundage not authorised by Parliament would "be reputed a betrayer of the liberties of England, and an enemy to the same", and, although the resolution was not formally passed, many members declared their approval. Nevertheless, the provocation was too much for Charles, who dissolved Parliament the same day. Moreover, eight parliamentary leaders, including John Eliot, were imprisoned on the foot of the matter, thereby turning these men into martyrs, and giving popular cause to a protest that had hitherto been losing its bearings.
Shortly after the proroguing of Parliament, without the means in the foreseeable future to raise funds for a European War from Parliament, or the influence of Buckingham, Charles made peace with France and Spain. The following eleven years, during which Charles ruled without a Parliament, are referred to as the Personal Rule or the Eleven Years' Tyranny.
Further conflicts with Parliament eventually led to the English Civil War. On January 30 1649, Charles I was executed in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall by the victorious Parliamentarians. I'm not saying it's time to erect a scaffold in front of Queen's Park, but His Majesty Dalton I is certainly acting like he's exercising his Divine Right of Kings. Turn him out immediately. It's time he retired to his manor house and wrote his memoirs.


onefinguy said...

How did you get Dalton to vogue that reptilian pose ?

Anonymous said...

Lol a Tory complaining about prorogation. That's funny.

Sean M said...

Staggering arrogance isn't it... who in the heck voted for that awful weasel ? McGuinty is such a creepy dude, he seems in a sort of un conscience state, completely lost in his own world. We have the same problem out here in BC with our Premier, Clark, a complete nit wit, and a federal Liberal just like McLiar. The BC Legislature is closed for business, the primary reason given by Clark much the same as the Ontario Premier, she doesn't like the atmosphere, inconvenience or some such drivel. I imagine the Ontario media are having more or less the same reaction as ours... couldn't care less... truly pathetic leadership, totally and utterly contemptable.

sal paradise said...

You're going to comment on the lame excuses for prorogation?


Eric said...

Yes, I am going to comment on lame excuses. Harper's prorogation at least had a legitimate reason: the opposition parties attempted to form a government by coalition, something that had little precedent in Canada, which no one voted for in the previous election, which would have given the separatist Bloc Quebecois access to the levers of federal power, and which would have replaced the party in the House which elected more MPs than any other. I'm pretty comfortable supporting that.

You're going to defend McGuinty shutting down the legislature because it's inconvenient? Funny.

sal paradise said...





That you attempt to do so: funny.