Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rally Against Proroguing in Sudbury

This article from The Sudbury Star, link via Green Sudbury:

Sudburians to voice discontent

A group of Sudburians will join other concerned citizens across Canada on Jan. 23 to rally against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to once again prorogue Parliament.

Parliament was originally supposed to return Jan. 25, but Harper has delayed the return to March 3.

Since then, an army of angry Canadians have joined a Facebook group called Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has formed -- attracting about 70,000 members as of Wednesday afternoon. Group members are now planning rallies across the country on Jan. 23.

The Sudbury and District Labour Council, along with the local NDP riding association, is organizing a rally in Sudbury that day.

Chris Duncanson-Hales, president of the NDP riding association, said it will give people a chance to voice their discontent.

He said people were still angry about the last prorogation in 2008 -- which Harper requested after a poorly received budget and threats of non-confidence from a coalition of opposition parties.

"Now it seems like it's a routine in order to squelch debate," Duncanson-Hales said.

This time, the Tories said they needed to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a throne speech and budget. Government sources say they are contemplating formally shutting down Parliament at the end of every year.

That way, the argument goes, the public will have a clear idea what the government plans to achieve for the coming year.

But the opposition says the shutdown is just a ploy to avoid questions about the handling of Afghan detainees and climate change.

"If the Prime Minister's reason for proroguing Parliament was they feel they have to step back and re-evaluate their plan, it shows how shortsighted this government is that they can't think in more than 12-month blocks," Duncanson-Hales said. "There is no long-term plan and that's a real problem. I think it's a huge problem."

Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault will be one of the speakers at the Sudbury rally.

Thibeault said it's important for the prime minister to get the message that it's not OK to continue to "snub his nose at democracy."

Thibeault said he also wants his constituents to know he believes he should be back at work in Ottawa in January.

The prime minister campaigned on a platform of accountability.

"Closing the doors and putting a pad lock on Parliament" is not being accountable, Thibeault said.

Details such as the venue and time are yet to be determined. A planning meeting is being held on Tuesday to discuss details of the rally, Duncanson- Hales said.

Sure, the politics of these rallies have significant limitations, but I think it is important to support efforts, even moderate efforts, that help us ordinary people in this atomized, neoliberal era start to reengage with collective mechanisms for putting limits on a government that is, among lots of other awful things, interested in getting away with complicity in torture and assorted war crimes. Please attend if you are in Sudbury, or if your city is having an event on the 23rd!

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