A day after an estimated 25,000 Canadians took to the streets to decry Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to shut down Parliament until after the Vancouver Olympics, his office is accusing Liberal MP Bob Rae of hypocrisy on the issue.
In an email message sent to Conservative MPs and supporters, the PMO notes that "senior Liberals" seem bent on partisan attacks on the "routine parliamentary procedure" while the government attends to Haitian eartquake relief and federal budget consultations.
For added measure, the Tories cite a Sun Media report explaining Mr. Rae's own, shall we say liberal, use of the very same parliamentary tool while he was NDP premier of Ontario in the 1990s.
The message was sent after a particularly testy exchange between Mr. Rae and Tory MP Rick Dykstra on CTV's Question Period. But perhaps the PMO is just upset that Mr. Rae recently stole a page from Mr. Harper's songbook and took to the piano to sing a Beatles tune?
From: Alerte-Info-Alert <Alerte-Info-Alert@pmo-cpm.gc.ca>
To: Alerte-Info-Alert <Alerte-Info-Alert@pmo-cpm.gc.ca>
Sent: Sun Jan 24 14:32:40 2010
Subject: Bob Rae's hypocrisy on prorogation
While the Prime Minister and members of the Conservative government continue to focus on Haiti relief efforts and meet with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast to plan the upcoming budget, senior Liberals like Bob Rae continue to make partisan attacks on the routine parliamentary procedure of prorogation. And when it comes to prorogation, Bob Rae certainly is an expert.
Veteran Queen's Park observer Christina Blizzard labels Rae "King of Prorogues" in today's Toronto Sun.
Blizzard writes, "Rae's NDP won power Sept. 6, 1990. On Dec. 19, 1991, Rae prorogued the House. They didn't come back until April 6, 1992. He then prorogued again, Dec. 10, 1992 - and didn't come back until April 13, 1993.
"By 1994, his government had run out of steam. They were running double-digit deficits and he'd doubled the debt. Some of his experimental policies proved laughable at best and disastrous at worst.
"Limping badly, he prorogued for the third time on Dec. 9, 1994. The House did not sit again until the legislature was dissolved April 28, 1995. Rae didn't even bring in a budget that year."
Our Government has been clear: the next budget will be tabled on March 4th, 2010. It will focus on implementing the second phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, on bringing the budget back into balance and reducing the deficit, and on ensuring a strong economic recovery.
Last year, when the global economy was in free fall, Bob Rae and the rest of the Ignatieff Liberals did not contribute one idea to Canada's Economic Action Plan. They were focussed on forming a coalition government Canadians did not want.
Sadly, Canadians can expect the same lack of interest in Canada's economic future from the Liberal Party this year.
While the Liberals are "at work" launching hypocritical attacks, the Conservative Government is meeting with Canadians and working to strengthen the Canadian economy.
(Photo: Mr. Rae joins anti-prorogation protesters in Toronto this weekend. Chris Young/The Canadian Press)