Reply from Jack Layton:
Thank you for your comments regarding Stephen Harper's unilateral
decision to prorogue Parliament. By locking out Members of Parliament,
Mr. Harper is shutting down democracy and preventing us from doing the
important work Canadians elected us to do.
I believe that Canadians value our democratic system. They are telling
the Prime Minister that he can't simply shut down our democratic
institutions just because he doesn't like what they're asking or doing.
Here are some facts:
- This is the second time in 12 months that he has prorogued Parliament
- This is the fourth time in 3 years he has abruptly ended a session of
- He consistently fails to comply with the Access to Information Act
- He is ignoring an order by Parliament to provide access to all
documents relating to the Afghan torture issue.
Canadians also expect their MPs to work together and find solutions for
the challenges facing our country. There is a pension's crisis in
Canada. Many individuals are struggling to find work and need help to
recover from the economic recession. Yet, Stephen Harper chose to lock
the doors of Parliament rather than letting MPs work on these concerns.
Prime Minister Harper has adopted a blatant "run from accountability"
approach to governing. While he promised increased accountability, he
has done everything in his power to avoid the tough questions. At the
same time he is blocking elected MPs from Parliament, he is making plans
to stack the Senate with unelected Conservative Senators-something he
promised he would never do.
For more information on our position on this matter, please visit:
For our part, the New Democratic Caucus will be going ahead with our
scheduled January 18 strategy meeting and will discuss our plans for the
next few months. We will continue to advance our policies on issues such
as pension reform, jobs, the environment and health care while working
hard in our individual ridings.
Again, I appreciate having the benefit of your comments. Feel free to
pass along my message to anyone who may be interested. All the best.
Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada's New Democrats
Dear Mr Layton,
What a disappointing response. I already know what Harper has done and I have a good sense of what we are in for if he is not stopped. What you call a “unilateral decision to prorogue Parliament”, I call an assault on democracy. Going ahead with an already planned caucus meeting is hardly an adequate response to Harper’s calculated assault. People will rally on the 23rd, and out of that, hopefully, will come a commitment to continue to work for the overhaul of the electoral system in this country – a country now without a functioning democracy.
The past NDP strategy of attacking liberals in an attempt to claim their political turf is an abject failure and has only emboldened Mr Harper (see Tom Flanagan’s article in the Tuesday G&M). Your party must change direction and come out swinging at the Harper regime, and many are ready to help. I would think that the NDP would want to be a voice for democratic renewal instead of standing by with hat in hand waiting for Mr Harper to come back on stage. Thousands of Canadians are mobilizing and thousands more would too with effective leadership from you and the talented MPs in your caucus. Please, forget the retreat and get out to the planning meetings for the 23rd – speak out on the travesty Mr Harper is laying out for us. I cannot stand by and watch Harper make fools of us as citizens, and neither should you.