A sample of articles about the history of prorogation in Canada

Page 1 (Drummondville Spokesman – May 27, 1930) has a bit of a parallel to today’s prorogation. The PM wanted to set a new direction with a new budget and new multinational economic unit. The Economic Action Plan of the 1930s?

Page 2 (Glasgow Herald – March 16, 1939) is a two inch column describing a potential prorogation of Parliament by the King himself.

Page 3 (Ottawa Citizen – June 30, 1938) describes a 200,000 strong group (and this before Facebook) to protest the government’s move to jail violators of a media blackout law on reporting election results! The article describes that ministers would not meet with delegates of the group due to a “rush to prorogue Parliament”.

Page 4 (Montreal Gazette – March 15, 1939) – Describes the King coming to Parliament to prorogue the session or give royal assent to bills if session business is not complete

Page 5 (Montreal Gazette – June 11, 1928) – Mackenzie King – “We have concluded all the business of the session, so far as the Government is concerned”. I have not been able to find reference to the Toronto papers called King a tyrant or a despot.

Page 6 (St. John Sun – July 13, 1906) – Description of prorogation and reintroduction of House business when parliament resumes.

Page 7 (Toronto World – May 17, 1916) – Controversy as GG not present for prorogation proceedings. Prorogation to be completed by Chief Justice instead (who was deputy GG)

Page 8 (St. John Sun – April 5, 1902) – Description of prorogation despite 28 bills on order paper in a provincial parliament.

Page 9 (Ottawa Citizen – May 19, 1916) – Prorogation unusually quiet and with lack of ceremony. Did the PM request prorogation via telegraph?

Page 10 (Ottawa Citizen – Mar 13, 1911) – A member of parliament suggests that Parliament prorogue due to Typhoid epidemic sweeping through Ottawa.

Page 11 (Poverty Bay Herald (New Zealand) – June 13, 1914) – Prorogation and Senate politics. A delay in prorogation causes a deadlock in the Senate with Senators refusing to pass a bill increasing the number of Senators in the Upper Chamber.

Page 12 (Montreal Gazette – May 18, 1909) – A rush to prorogation

Page 13 (Montreal Gazette – September 9, 1911) – The government insisted it prorogued because it could not get money bills through while the opposition accused it of blocking an inquiry into a slush fund.

Page 14 (New Zealand Evening Post – January 8, 1903) – Obituary of Canadian journalist who numerous parliaments that had “assembled and prorogued”

Page 15 (Ottawa Citizen – October 28, 1985) – Broadbent dismisses PM Mulroney’s valid option of resetting Parliament due to “disasterous” session to come back with new Throne Speech

Page 16 (Ottawa Citizen – November 26, 1983) – description of business prior to potential prorogation by PM Mulroney.

Page 17 (CBC – November 13, 2003) – Report of prorogation of Parliament by Chretien to allow Martin to assemble new cabinet.

There are numerous other stories regarding prorogation. According to a deep news search going back before the turn of the 20th century, today’s particular instance of Prime Minister-recommended prorogation has produced the most news stories in Canadian history.

For perspective, Google News shows that 1,561 articles have been written by the Canadian media in the last month regarding prorogation (as of the time of this blog post).

Comparatively, 1,351 articles have been written about H1N1 over the same time period by the Canadian media.

If we search for Google News stories concerning “prorogation” OR “prorogue” AND “Facebook” we learn that the Canadian media has written 424 stories, while the Facebook group protesting prorogation has 208,744 members. This amounts to 492 new members to the Facebook group for every MSM article referencing the group over the past few weeks. This number does not include television, magazine and radio coverage of the Facebook group. And to think, it all started with a “fury” of 20,000 when the group was in the budding stages of becoming an MSM darling.

An historical perspective shows that prorogation is quite a common parliamentary procedure in the country and most prorogations have passed without too much ink spilled on the pages of Canada’s historic newspapers.

So why the media fixation on prorogation? Canada’s news organizations are facing hard times and this news is evident to those who regularly buy newspapers — which, it seems, is not a lot of us. Budgets of Ottawa bureaus have been slashed with some offices closing completely. Prorogation may be a threat to those that report the news because of a sparser parliamentary calendar and a move by parent companies to prioritize resources elsewhere. An annual prorogation, as bandied about by the PM earlier, would not serve the Ottawa news business well.

Furthermore, the current vacuum of news content slices two ways; the frustration by many without content to fill columns and airtime and the news vacuum that now exists without anything else going on in Ottawa.

Comments

comments

  • kenn2

    When you're hard-right, everything – even moderate conservatives – look left-leaning.

    But I do understand; this dogma about the “lefty” media gives y'all a free pass to attack the messenger and deflect the message.

  • m123T

    Wont a lot of those artists be the same ones who protested against the PM for supposed cuts to their welfare, and didn't cbc/ctv do the same thing. Now they have the nerve to go out there and pretend they care about something the PM and his government are doing. Sorry no donation from me tonight, I will choose a registered charity that does good. Suzuki not included. I think the weather channel will have news re the coming storm across Canada, and Fox is always worth watching.
    Whatever happend to those millions CIDA collected.

  • m123T

    Then why are Mr iffy and Jack Layton going to address the crowds. This is nothing but an attempt by certain leaders to achieve their coup. Wont work. How could they take over the govt and still argue democracy is broken.
    And my money is on Mr Iffy backing down big time in March. He is afraid he might have to face the voters in an election. Or, it could be they only way the backroom boys can get rid of him as leader, by having him lose not only the election but position of Opposition leader.

  • albertagirl

    Hey Kenn..go google “prorogation”.

    See how many “positive” hits you get.

  • kenn2

    Only you could manage to sh!t on a fundraising effort for Haiti. Good work.

  • albertagirl

    In fact, Kenn – while you are googling.

    Google Stephen Harper, CPC, Tories, Reform, Alliance, any CPC minister – see how many “positive” stories you get!!!!!

  • kenn2

    I suppose I could rise to the bait by observing that the majority of news stories about government are negative, no matter who's in power, or by challenging you for real numbers showing that the Conservatives get more bad coverage than the Liberals.

    … but that would be pointless, because the issue NOW is THIS prorogue, and no amount of bleating about Lib'rul bias or who prorogued what in 1903 will change that fact.

  • albertagirl

    Well Kenn…see THAT is the issue…why THIS prorogation has prompted the amount of outrage over every other prorogation done by every other PM throughout history. It is over the top, it is full of misconceptions and misinformation promoted by the media.

    As far as the MSM being biased against the Conservatives, it is a fact Kenn and for every positive story for PM Harper, I could find you 100 that are against.

    You might want to check out this site that outlines how to detect bias in our media…I would say that the majority of our media fall into every category.

    http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources

    Trust me, you aren't raising the bait because it is a well known fact so no bait to be hooked.

  • kenn2

    You know as well as anyone here why THIS prorogue caught the attention it did. Stevie gambled, and he lost. It happens to all PMs.

    This will go away alot faster if you guys could just move on.

  • albertagirl

    http://www.bluelikeyou.com/2010/01/22/we-at-bly

    Gayle…scroll down to Gabby's comments where she provides links to where Greens are organizing, NDP are organizing…..

  • albertagirl

    Well sweetie,…he is still the PM so I guess he hasn't “lost” yet?

    As Gayle is wont to say….Saying it doesn't make it so.

  • Gayle

    I am sure Mr. Harper or some of his MP's could address the crowds too.

  • Gayle

    Oh look. People from different parties are organizing events. How very partisan of them.

    Give your head a shake. If it were partisan wouldn't it be all about one party?

  • Gayle

    But he did lose. He was 15 points ahead of the LPC before he prorogued.

  • Gayle

    For you, a link to the facebook group wherein they complain about how some political parties are hijacking their non-partisan event and claiming it as their own.

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=260348091

    Facts AG. Those pesky facts. They get you every time.

  • east of eden

    'EVAR'?????

  • kenn2

    (misplaced comment deleted)

  • kenn2

    It's a Simpsons/Internet thing.

  • kenn2

    I'm not saying he's done, or that it's election time, just that this prorogue (timing, manner) was a bad call. That's it. Really.

  • bocanut

    So should you instead of scanning it.

  • bocanut

    “Guest
    Gayle 1 day ago
    I am not sure if you read the whole decision, and I confess I have scanned it but not read all the details”

    Hypocrite

  • bocanut

    “Guest
    Gayle 1 day ago
    I am not sure if you read the whole decision, and I confess I have scanned it but not read all the details”
    Hypocrite

  • bocanut

    “Guest
    Gayle 1 day ago
    I am not sure if you read the whole decision, and I confess I have scanned it but not read all the details”

  • IPNightly

    I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures that Stephan Taylor will post on his blog of all the Prorogation Protesters. He took great pleasure in posting the pictures of the handful of miss-spelling Ignatieff protesters. And being the fair and balanced and tolerant person he is, I'm sure we will see lots of these pictures on Monday along with and story about how irrelevant they all are.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Speaking about spelling… you should learn how to spell my name. You obviously dialed it into your internet machine correctly so it shouldn't be too hard to learn.

  • Tart

    I think it should be Stephane Taylor, just like our greatest Prime Minister Stephane Dion!

  • IPNightly

    I can assure you that the miss-spelling of your name was intentional…… So back to the story you plan on writing. I hope you have lots of pictures, and again tell everybody how 210,000 + Canadians signed up to the facebook page are irrelevant.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    The only thing relevant that comes from online organization is offline action via rallies, for example.

    Ultimately, the only thing that is relevant on this is votes. Does the left have enough to form a government? If so, will they be upfront with Canadians on their plan to form a coalition government and ask for that mandate?

  • Gayle

    How on earth do you go from facebook, to rallies, to a coalition?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    That's the question: where does this go from Facebook?

    It's all moot if people don't act offline.

  • m123T

    From a lot of the comments from tv and reports of turnout, I would say the ndp/lib/coalition day of protest was a flop. Who printed and paid for all those professional signs, were those that carried them paid to do so. 50 show up in Lethbridge, about 150 at PMSH's office in Calgary. 300 turn out in Quebec. That must mean there are 1000's in Quebec who support the PM. And for the turnout in Toronto, how many conservative MPs are there from that city. And how many of those were just regular shoppers who got caught in the middle. Of all the hundreds of cars going by, only about 50 honked in support.
    And why did not one media person ask just one protester how Prorogation had affected them personally.
    And if the government was shut down, how did aid to Haiti get the go ahead.
    Now we just have to await the new Senators for the media mob to pounce again. Only the senators will be real, and it is back to the drawing board for the coalition.

  • jon

    IPNightly, Stephen Taylor is a conservative blogger. You must have missed that. He has a point of view. Your remarks are completely misguided. They should be redirected at our MSM, who are mandated to be objective but who are not by providing no context to the reports they file on these protests and of the people who attended them — 99.9% of which are people who (and this is VERY important) never voted for PMSH in the past and never will, either. As it relates to the protesters feelings about the Harper gov‘t, prorogation is a red herring and MSM knows this. That’s why you don’t see reporters asking the two most obvious questions: “Have you voted for PMSH in the past?” and “Would you have considered it had he not prorogued parliament?” A “no” would tell the tale of these protests and a “yes” would’ve been a flat out lie. The media is trying to make it seem as if this is addition by subtraction: votes once for the Tories now in the opposition fold, as a result of prorogation. Complete and utter nonsense.

    Take this one from CTV….

    “More than 5,000 in T.O. protest proroguing Parliament”

    Is this the same Toronto that never punished a single Liberal for Adscam? CTV doesn’t say.

    Is this the same Toronto who voted solidly Liberal in the last election, an election led by a leader who produced the worst election result for his party since Confederation but who painted Toronto solidly Liberal red…. yet again?!?! CTV doesn’t say.

    And is this the same Toronto that will easily re-elect a Liberal in a provincial by-election in a few days from now to a gov’t embroiled in scandals, including one where a BILLION DOLLARS has completely disappeared? Perhaps their time could’ve been better spent marching up University Ave. to Queen’s Park, demanding to know what the Liberals have done with a billion of our hard-earned tax dollars.

    Flush a billion down the toilet, but don’t prorogue parliament. This protest was about anything but accountability.

  • Gayle

    No. You were trying to allege a plan to form a coalition government. It suggests to me conservatives are afraid of the response they got to the prorogation so they are trying to revive the coaltion bogey man to scare voters.

    Can I suggest you just tell Harper to stop acting like an autocrat? That would help him more.

  • Liz J

    Bob Rae has stated the three times he prorogued the Legislature during his infamous tenure as premier of Ontario was “different”. Yeah, guess you could say that all right, but it was prorogation all the same.
    Perhaps we can forgive his hypocrisy, he is now a Liberal after all, Liberals proroguing is acceptable.

    As for the news media, there's plenty to report but that might take work, much easier to spin off a few lines on the present government and dig for old crap, like resurrecting the firewall around Alberta tale.

    It's another case of much ado about nothing, the Opps have no intention of bringing down the government on this or anything else. Why? The time isn't right for THEM.

  • Omanator

    Non Partisan? I can sell you some swamp land in Floriday.

  • Omanator

    Your accusation is very wrong. Proroging Parliament is legal and at the disgression of the PM.
    Most of the people in Canada do not give a hoot. They know that it is the media and the opposition who make a hoopla out of it. I wish someone would file a law suit again the two Liberal Members who openly accused our People in Afghanistan of participating in Torture. Of course these two are the usual loudmouth. If the Liberals are so serious about this, bring down the house and let's see how the people feel about it. But they don't have the guts.

  • kenn2

    Careful, you'll spill your milk.

  • JCherniak

    DE-FENCE!! DE-FENCE!! DE-FENCE!!

    You know you're losing when…

  • Gayle

    Believe me, if I actually thought either the NDP or the LPC could get 25 thousand people to attend a protest against Harper, I would be shouting that from the rooftops.

  • Acer

    Have you not read this post….thats because the media is out to get him…the Conrad Black created National Post, Sunmedia, CTV, Global they all are libruls with an axe to grind…I mean they all published similar attendance figures! And we know that Canadians love them some dictator so it MUST be the librul media!!

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    When Jason Cherniak predicts a win?

  • JCherniak

    lol. I only predict in Football, where I don't really care.

  • east of eden

    You mispelled “miss-spelling”.

  • east of eden

    Intentionally mispelling somebody's name – now, that's a very mature, rational, and adult thing to do.

  • east of eden

    Hmmm. IPNightly – when I was around 10, we had that sort of humour. There was IP Nightly, Who Bichaballsov, Who Bittertitsov, Hoo Flung Poo and other assorted pubescent humour. Your choice of handle kind of gives us an idea as to your level of intellect.

  • Liz J

    Nice to know you still have time to read Conservative blogs. Keeping informed of facts is always important.

  • Liz J

    He's baaaack.

  • roughandtumble

    With Harper getting strangled for votes in the current polls I would suggest the center and center left has a pretty good opportunity to bring Harper down to around 100 seats.

  • roughandtumble

    Liz J…….it might help you to ascertain facts if you read something other than the tory/reform blogs. You might also try and understand the fact that the press in Canada is not all Liberal. Reading a lot of different opinions broadens the mind.

  • east of eden

    Hi Liz – no, that is really me, East of Eden. I figure if IP is going to criticize Stephen, he should at least spell correctly – especially the word mispelling. I just love these trolls. Stephen can attest to it being really me – he sees my e-mail address. A troll would not see it.