Liberals badly misjudged the public mood against push-button prorogation. Appearing every bit as wedded to the old politics as Harper, Ignatieff declared last week that there should be no limits on the Prime Minister's prerogative to shut down the House of Commons whenever the mood strikes.
New Democrats on the other hand, directly addressed the public’s desire for change with a proposal to limit the prorogation power. The absent Liberal response did not go down well.
So yesterday, Ignatieff backtracked, jumping on the NDP’s bandwagon while exposing their nagging insecurity over the whole matter by suggesting to the media that their 7-point proposal had “trumped” the New Democrats’.
Enter, Ned Franks, Canada’s leading expert on constitutional and parliamentary procedure to take the air out of Ignatieff’s “Keep it Complicated, Professor” approach …
“Franks was not keen on the Liberal proposals, which he found unnecessarily complicated. He said history has shown that there's often good reason to prorogue after only a year or for longer than a month. He preferred the NDP's more straightforward proposal.”
But for his part, Layton has kept to his high-road approach, by welcoming Ignatieff's support and pledging to work with Liberals and the Bloc to put the breaks on future prorogations.
UPDATE: And then there's Coyne ... with a 369 year old word for the cynics.