As the Federal Election Heats Up, Queen’s Park Moves to Prorogue Itself

Apparently it just occurred to the Government of Ontario that there’s a Federal Election, and apparently that means they can’t do anything until more than two weeks after it’s over. The Ontario government announced today that they will not be coming back until October, and that means invoking that funny-sounding parliamentary procedure that sounds like a delicious dumpling dish from Eastern Europe. 

“With a Federal election underway, during which each party has put forward dramatically different policies and funding commitments that will have a direct impact on our government’s legislative agenda, we have made the decision to prorogue the legislature until we have more certainty and can finalize our fall legislation accordingly,” said Government House Leader Paul Calandra in a statement Friday afternoon.

Opposition critics were incensed by the move to suspend the Legislature, which was supposed to come back on September 13 and will now resume sitting on October 4 with a Speech from the Throne. The announcement comes two days after the Premier Doug Ford announced the Province’s new vaccine certification program, which will come into effect on September 22 while the Legislature is still prorogued.

“This will in no way impact the ongoing and significant work underway to protect our province from COVID-19,” Calandra added.

Ford was repeatedly criticized for being missing in action throughout much of August with pandemic updates and policy directions more or less being left in the hands of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore. A lack of engagement with the premier was one of the many points raised by opposition leaders after the proroguing was announced.

“Everyone knows that Doug Ford has been hiding for the past two months. He needs to go back to work now in order to deliver a real vaccine certificate, a better plan to reopen our schools and to help families get through this lingering public health crisis,” said Liberal leader Steven Del Duca. “Political cowardice will not get us through the fourth wave, and I’m deeply disappointed in Doug Ford’s decision to abdicate his responsibility.”

“In the face of alarming Science Table data that shows the fourth wave of COVID-19 rising, Doug Ford’s decision to prorogue the legislature for three weeks is an unprecedented abdication of responsibility during a crisis,” agreed NDP leader Andrea Horwath. “It’s bad enough that Doug Ford has gone into hiding for over a month, now he is choosing to hide his entire government.”

Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner called it a “concerning trend” of the Premier to duck accountability and responsibility as the province faces “multiple crises” from the fourth wave to affordable housing to the climate emergency.

“Returning to the Legislature is crucial to put forward solutions to tackle issues important to Ontarians. To push it back by several weeks is inexcusable and a slap in the face to the people of this province,” Schreiner said. “When the times are tough and Ontarians need support, Doug Ford and his government run for the shadows. Ontarians want action, they want solutions and Ford’s delay tactics that are seemingly rooted in partisan political considerations are not helpful.”

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