Various sources are reporting that Harper will seek to prorogue Parliament for two months (more than a month beyond its scheduled return date of 25 January).
Besides giving such well-known sporting chaps as the PM and Jason Kenney the chance to appear at the Vancouver Olympics, the delay will, we're told, have a couple of other incidental effects:
Dimitri Soudas, press secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, would not confirm or deny the story saying only that "no decision had yet been made" with respect to proroguing parliament.
Preventing the return of Parliament until after the Olympics would effectively shut down all government committees, which would stop MPs from pursuing the Afghan detainee controversy until Parliament returned.
A Conservative source also told Sun Media proroguing Parliament was considered the best way to give the Harper government the upper hand in the Senate.
In early January there will be five vacancies in the Senate, all of which Harper could fill with Tory loyalists. Even though the new senators would give the Tories majority over the Liberals in the Senate, the Liberals retain their majority on Senate committees until the next general election or until Parliament is prorogued.
Suspending parliament would allow the Tories to reconstitute Senate committees making it much easier for them to pass legislation unchanged.
Shame about those incidental effects, eh?
Anyway, my simple-minded question concerns the CPCCA. If all the other committee hearings are suspended, will the proceedings of that curious hybrid be suspended as well? They claim to be independent of the government, independent of just about everybody (except the people who give them money, whose identities have yet to be vouchsafed to us), and yet they hold those meetings in some of the most expensive real estate in the country, and the word you'll hear most often in the audio of that first session they held in November is "parliamentarian." I mean, they definitely think that they're working as parliamentarians. And I have a powerful hunch that the keepers of the Parliament buildings are not going to let me reserve a room in the Centre Block for the next meeting of my local cat-rescue association.
As you'll see from their schedule, they were expecting to hold three extra hearings in January and February, partly so that they could
call on the carpet chat with a number of university administrators and partly to hear even more from law-enforcement persons.
To the credit of the law-enforcement persons, when I listened to the first batch, I thought that, by contrast with committee members like Carolyn Bennett and Hedy Fry, Julian Fantino came off sounding like a constitutional scholar and champion of civil liberties.
So anyway, that's my simple-minded question. Who do you think we should write to? Scott Reid? Mr Silva? All the members? The Godfathers (Kenney and Cotler)?