Stephen Harper insists that proroguing Parliament is a "completely normal" procedure. But not even The Globe and Mail is buying that line. It editorializes today that:
Yes, this will be a more routine use by Mr. Harper of the royal prerogative to prorogue than in the past but it is not justified by the circumstances, and it has the odour of political convenience. We repeat what we said before: Parliament should not sit silent at the whim of the prime minister.
Tom Mulcair has a blunter assessment:
"He doesn't have the courage to face Parliament and that's the problem with Stephen Harper," Mulcair said. "He's a bully, he always centralizes power but when the time comes for him to answer for what he's been doing, he runs and hides. That's his repeat behaviour."
The Globe also notes that prorogation is standard operating procedure for Harper whenever he is under substantive attack:
Under normal circumstances, this would not be of much concern; it could even have been expected. But the prime minister’s reputation precedes him, and a potentially damaging issue is once more dogging his government: the Senate expenses scandal and the mysterious payment of $90,000 by the former chief of staff of the Prime Minister’s Office to disgraced senator Mike Duffy.
Mr. Harper could have let the current session continue to December and then prorogued, allowing him to return with a fresh start in January. But he has chosen not to wait. The result will be the delay of the return of Parliament after the summer recess by as many as six weeks – six weeks during which Parliament could have been addressing questions about the Senate scandals, as well dealing with ongoing issues of vital concern to Canada and Canadians: the Keystone XL pipeline; the possible entry of Verizon into the Canadian cellphone market; the economic recovery; free trade with Europe; and the crisis in Egypt.
Mr. Harper is full of bluster and down right nastiness. But he is also gutless. When the going gets tough, Stephen Harper goes away -- and hopes that the messes he creates will go away with him.