Here is a photo my hand-delivered letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office. I’ve included the text here for the record.
Jan 7, 2010
Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
I am deeply saddened as a Canadian, as a Calgarian, and as someone living in your riding for years to see you’ve chosen to suspend democracy and Parliament (prorogue Parliament).
As a trained economist and as Prime Minister of Canada, I trust you are a reader of the internationally respected and independent “The Economist“. Let me quote from its Jan 7th article “Canada without Parliament – Halted in mid-debate” (emphasis added),
“THE timing said everything. Stephen Harper, the prime minister, chose December 30th, the day five Canadians were killed in Afghanistan and when the public and the media were further distracted by the announcement of the country’s all-important Olympic ice-hockey team, to let his spokesman reveal that Parliament would remain closed until March 3rd, instead of returning as usual, after its Christmas break, in the last week of January.”
I have highlighted various parts of The Economist article and attached to this letter with added notes for your reading pleasure.
As a Calgarian and Canadian, I see it as my duty and responsibility to rally on 23rd January, 2010 alongside my fellow Canadians from sea to sea to protest your action to prorogue the Parliament.
Allow me to quote “The Economist” once more,
“The danger in allowing the prime minister to end discussion any time he chooses is that it makes Parliament accountable to him rather than the other way around. […]
Whether Mr Harper gets away with his innovative use of prime ministerial powers depends largely on whether the protest spreads and can be sustained until Parliament reconvenes in March. Mr Harper is doubtless counting on the Winter Olympics to reinforce Canadians’ familiar political complacency. But he has given the opposition, which is divided and fumbling, an opportunity. It is now up to it to show that Canada cannot afford a part-time Parliament that sits only at the prime minister’s pleasure.“
For the sake of democracy and our shared love of Canada, I hope Canadians will rise up to protest and to rally until you realize you were wrong.
Mr. Prime Minister, you’ve exercised your power, at all cost, to shutdown the Parliament. It leaves me no choice but to protest and rally along my fellow Canadians on 23rd January, 2010 and take necessary and sustaining peaceful actions until our democracy is restored.
P.S. I hope you will forgive me in not able to spend more time in writing a more forceful and better-crafted letter as I do have others things to attend to.
[rewrite — P.S. I hope you will forgive me in not able to spend more time in writing a more forceful and better-crafted letter as I do have to work, unlike you and your privileged colleagues can prorogue your work.]
P.P.S. I’ve also enclosed a highlighted copy of The Economist’s “Harper goes prorogue – Parliamentary scrutiny may be tedious, but democracies cannot afford to dispense with it” for your reading pleasure.
Jan 24th Update (not part of my letter):
“CANADIAN ministers, it seems, are a bunch of Gerald Fords. Like the American president, who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, they cannot, apparently, cope with Parliament’s deliberations while dealing with the country’s economic troubles and the challenge of hosting the Winter Olympic games. This was the argument put forward by the spokesman for Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, after his boss on December 30th abruptly suspended, or “prorogued”, Canada’s Parliament until March 3rd.”
Jan 9th Update (not part of my letter):
Concerned Canadians: Please join the anti-prorogation Facebook group.
Calgary rally: Please also join Calgarians Against Proroguing Parliament where Calgarians are organizing a rally on Jan 23rd, 2010 together with Canadians from across the country.
Links to rallies in other Canadian cities: See this Facebook event