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Jane Taber

Green soliloquy scolds prorogation Add to ...

Elizabeth May chose Shakespeare's soliloquy from Hamlet to mock Stephen Harper's decision to shut down Parliament.

"With apologies to Shakespeare," the Green Party Leader said before proceeding as if she were Richard Burton on the London stage: "To prorogue or not to prorogue, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the minds to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Liberals or simply to avoid that sea of troubles and by proroguing end them."

She read with passion.

"To prorogue, to evade, to win, perchance to lose. … Who would MPs' bear to grunt and sweat under a weary light but that the dread of something after Ottawa, the unrequited provinces from whose land no politician returns puzzles the minds.

This is how Ms. May launched her news conference, making her the third party to meet with reporters on Parliament Hill to criticize the Harper shutdown. (Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and his caucus are not in town; the Liberals and NDP are on the Hill working today.)

The soliloquy was written by a friend and "wit," she said.

Noting it was an unusual way to begin a Parliament Hill appearance, she said it was an unusual day as the House was originally scheduled to be working.

The Green Party Leader charged that prorogation is "bringing us into international disrepute."

"This Prime Minister doesn't understand that a prime minister serves at the pleasure of the House. Parliament does not serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister," she said.

In addition to her attacks on the Conservative government's prorogation decision, she also laid out her party's economic plan.

Using calculations from Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, she says the Green Party will reduce the federal deficit by $5.2-billion more than what the Conservatives are hoping to accomplish by 2013.

This will be achieved, as well as cuts to employment insurance premiums, mostly through a carbon tax, she said.

Meanwhile, there is word Ms. May's leadership is under fire. Canwest News Service reported today there are Greens questioning her management of the party and that she is trying to avoid a mandatory leadership review set to be held this year.

She dismissed the reports, saying her party is at an all-time high in the polls, including predictions it could win the seat in British Columbia's Gulf Islands. She said the Greens hit their record for fundraising in the last quarter of 2009.

The sniping, she says, is from about 10 per cent of the party: "Somewhere around 90 per cent of our membership (my guess!) is totally supportive all of the time," she told The Globe in an email.

(File photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

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