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Stephen Harper's decision to shut down Parliament until after the Vancouver Olympics has sped up Ottawa's winter thaw and sent thousands of Canadians into the streets - including a handful of expatriates marching on Trafalgar Square.

The forced pause in debate has allowed the Prime Minister to tweak his cabinet team and lay the groundwork for an era of belt-tightening that begins when the budget is tabled in March.

With the House of Commons quiet, opposition parties were expected to return to Ottawa this week as scheduled with guns blazing. Disaster in Haiti has put the government's day of reckoning on hold, but the gamesmanship continues with the Conservatives making every effort to appear busy slaying the deficit while the Liberals make lofty vows of job creation..

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So, with both Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton attempting to put legislative restraints on any future use of prorogation, we're pleased to welcome Jane Taber and Norman Spector for a live discussion on what it all means for Mr. Harper, his opponents and Canadian democracy in general.

Ms. Taber, The Globe's senior political writer, and Mr. Spector, a Globe blogger and career public servant with expertise on the historical and constitutional issues involved in prorogation, were online Thursday to take your questions. Review a transcript of the the discussion in the window below.



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