Shannon Powell: Governor General should refuse Stephen Harper's request to shut down Parliament
(This was submitted as a letter to the editor of the Georgia Straight.)
August 19, 2013
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston
Governor General of Canada
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0A1
RE: Harper to seek prorogation of Parliament again
I am writing to you today as a Canadian citizen frustrated by my prime minister's lack of responsibilty to the Canadian taxpayer. Stephen Harper wants to once again suspend Parliament so an unfavourable situation to him and his party can have a chance to die down. Scandals regarding senators' expenses and the prime minister's former chief of staff Nigel Wright have continued to stay in the news all through the summer break, and he knows that questions he doesn't want to answer will continue to be asked on the first day back in the House.
I believe Canadians deserve the answers to these questions. I personally disbelieve Mr. Harper about his lack of knowledge regarding the $90,000 cheque Mr. Wright wrote to Sen. Mike Duffy. I also have to question how the prime minister could have stood before Canadians back in February this year and stated "In terms of Sen. [Pamela] Wallin, I have looked at the numbers....Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time..."
Further, we are now seeing stories in the news that in a "boot camp" for new Tory senators, direction was given that they could bill for certain partisan—that is, political—travel. I fear that Mr. Harper is purposefully trying to stain the image of the Senate irrevocably in the eyes of Canadian citizens to push an agenda to abolish the house of sober second thought.
Sadly, too many Canadians are lacking in knowledge of how our government works and the important role of the Senate. With all this negative media about the expense claims for Ms. Wallin, Mr. Duffy, and Patrick Brazeau, it makes senators look bad and taints all the honest, hard-working ones with a corrupt brush.
I plead with you, your Excellency, please deny Mr. Harper's prorogation request. It is merely based on selfish reasons that have nothing to do with the good of the country.