Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 25/13
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canada’s government is taking a time-out as Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares to lead his Conservative party into the next election.
Harper said his decision to prorogue, or suspend, the current session of Parliament until mid-October is to prepare a new economy-focused agenda.
The action effectively ended the parliamentary session and killed legislative bills not yet enacted to await a new direction for governing.
By pressing the reset button, Harper is buying time to deal with stalled political support after a recent shuffling of Cabinet positions and to prepare for his fifth election campaign as leader.
In the election, expected in 2015, Harper will face a reinvigorated opposition with new leaders – Justin Trudeau for the Liberals and Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party.
The break also comes when the government deals with the Senate expense-claim scandal.
Former Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin, now an Independent and Harper appointee, has been told to pay back $138,970 for ineligible travel expense claims.
The Mounties are investigating Wallin’s claims and those of senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Mac Harb.
(For more news of the week from Canada, click "Read more")