Friday, February 05, 2010

Canadian Government Reeling with Proroguing

Want a cushy job? Just become a federal Member of Parliament in Canada.

Oh you get hounded by the media, and when you tell people at dinner parties what you do for a living you’re bound to get grilled with jokes about “honest politicians” that aren’t honest at all, but you get lots of time off.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament, essentially shutting down the wheels of government because he and his Conservative party couldn’t deal with the opposition parties in any other adult way. So the Prime Minister gets a fresh start – all proposed motions, bills and anything else that was unresolved prior to the proroguing becomes null and void, they must go through the entire legislative process all over again.

But within a mere matter of days after returning from weeks of time off – thanks to this prorogued Parliament – the government gets to take a vacation.

The week-long March Break begins on March 15, just a handful of days after Parliament’s return from the proroguing. After that week’s vacation, they’d only have to work another nine days, and then – get this – they’d have two-weeks off in April, including the Easter weekend.

For many of us, just taking a day off involves begging and pleading with our employers. Upon our return we usually have a stack of work overflowing from that one day of rest and relaxation. Not so if you work for the federal government.

Though the federal ruling Conservative Party is trying to minimize the flack from all this time off, by taking it away. Wednesday, Conservative whip Gordon O’Connor sent a memo to his party’s MPs and Senators advising them to cancel their March and April breaks.

This is a public relations maneuver as the ruling minority Conservative Party already is taking the heat from the media and concerned citizens over their decision to prorogue Parliament. Whether it works remains to be seen – in order to cancel the traditional March and April breaks all parties must unanimously approve the decision.

And getting anything done unanimously is what caused this whole fiasco in the first place. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasn’t getting the support from the other political parties he wanted, so instead of working things out, he used a rare law to stop the whole process of governing, without calling an election, so that he, his party and the other political parties could start all over again.

Since Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament on December 30 of last year, the government has been in a state of limbo, allowing federal politicians more time off, while the Prime Minister and his closest advisors figure out how to proceed.

One of the signs of a great leader is someone capable of making important and critical decisions on the fly. Someone not afraid to take the risks necessary to manage, lead and where necessary – take action to resolve conflicts so that the business of governing continues.

Whatever one thinks of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s management and leadership skills, he has taken action to resolve the conflicts inevitable within the Canadian House of Commons. Only his actions are questionable at best, because instead of resolving the issues, he just delayed them.

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