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  • Prorogation

    martin shields

    We’ve had a number of tumultuous events in Canadian politics recently. As your Member of Parliament for Bow River and a member of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, I’d like to share my perspective on recent events, and on the path forward.

    The WE Charity scandal has rocked the Liberal government in a variety of ways, with new details coming out all the time that demonstrate their severe ethical lapses. After weeks of damning revelations, Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned (or was forced to resign) and the Prime Minister prorogued parliament.

    The Liberals vowed in their election platform not to prorogue parliament for political purposes, and yet here we have an entirely unnecessary prorogation in the middle of a pandemic – not to mention a massive government scandal. If that’s not political, I don’t know what is. With parliament prorogued, the committees that were investigating the WE scandal have been suspended. The government had already almost completely locked MPs out of parliament, and now the last tools Opposition MPs had at their disposal to hold the government to account have been eliminated. 

    This government has shown a shocking disregard for transparency and democracy throughout their time in power, but this prorogation is their worst transgression yet. If they simply wanted to introduce a new throne speech and budget to reset their agenda, they only needed to prorogue for a day. That they opted to instead prorogue for a month shows that their real intention was to shut down committees and try to coverup their ethical transgressions. It’s also notable that with Parliament prorogued, the government has no ability to introduce any emergency legislation that might be required to combat the pandemic’s fallout. They are making a cynical gamble with the safety and financial security of Canadians.

    When the House of Commons does sit again after prorogation in September, the Opposition parties will have to decide whether to support the new throne speech or bring down the government and call an election. For those wondering, this hasn’t been an option over the summer because the Opposition has been unable to introduce confidence motions under the rules adopted during COVID-19.

    On the local front, I have been to dozens of communities across our riding this summer. I have been extremely impressed with the resilience of people living here. Despite the economic toll of the lockdown, many businesses are gradually recovering and people are getting back to work. This is in no small part because people supported their local businesses and charities (as much as they could given the circumstances). While many challenges remain on the path to recovery, I have every confidence we can return to better economic conditions through the hard work of entrepreneurs and employees across our region.

    As always, my office can be reached by email at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca. My Brooks office can be reached by telephone at 403-793-6775, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.