Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reaction to Raitt's Consultation Meetings

The reviews are in, and it ain't pretty.

The Milton Champion seemed to be the most positive. Maybe I set the tone with the softball question I asked:

Residents jam room for meeting
Suspension of Parliament hot topic at meeting hosted by Halton MP Lisa Raitt

... Asked how she’d be serving area residents during the federal government’s prorogation, Raitt said she will spend two days a week in Halton doing “one-on-one consultations” with her constituents and the rest of the time in Ottawa working on projects in preparation for the budget.

“It (time) will go by very fast for me,” said the local MP and Minister of Natural Resources, addressing nearly 100 residents who jammed into a small meeting room at the Milton Sports Centre (MSC) for the first of three meetings for the day.

Meetings were also scheduled in Oakville and Burlington Saturday.

“And no, I won’t be going to Vancouver for the Olympics. Have you seen how expensive the tickets are? I’ll be watching them at home with my family like everyone else.”

The recent decision to prorogue Parliament until early March was a hot-button issue during the 90-minute meeting.

One man said he felt the move displayed a sense of panic on the Conservatives’ part and questioned why there was no economic contingency plan in place when top economists have been saying for over a year now that Canada’s economy is in dire straights.

“I don’t believe it’s a panic move at all,” replied Raitt, who said the prorogation allows the government time to forge a follow-up strategy to its two-year Economic Action Plan, which she stressed is working.

The Oakville Beaver reported on a somewhat more spirited discussion:

Raitt told to get back to work in Ottawa
Prorogation blasted at town hall forum

The presents were ready for attendees: Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts and Canadian maple leaf lapel pins “compliments of” Halton MP Lisa Raitt.

But some of those who turned out to Raitt’s town hall forum Saturday afternoon in Oakville wanted to send the federal representative back to Ottawa with a gift as well — a message for her government to get back to work.

“I think Mr. (Stephen) Harper has been shocked by the reaction of the public,” said Mississauga resident Bob Stuart, referring to growing public criticism of the Prime Minister’s decision late last month to prorogue Parliament until March 3 instead of resuming the legislative session in late January, as originally scheduled.

...“The man (Harper) has become more of a dictator than Pierre Trudeau had ever done (sic),” said Paul Redvers, a Conservative voter in the last election. The Oakville resident said the government has broken campaign promises to cooperate more with other parties in Parliament and be more accountable to Canadians.

“Is your integrity so low you would rather stay on as a cabinet minister than confront Mr. Harper about proroguing government to avoid bad press?” Redvers asked Raitt.

Raitt denied the implication and said she has no fear of expressing local feedback to her caucus.

This was along with over a dozen letters and two editorials condemning prorogation.

And finally, the Burlington Post:

‘I’m as mad as hell about prorogation’: MP told at town hall

“I am mad as hell about prorogation,” said James Penton who was among approximately 50 people who attended the meeting at Tansley Wood Community Centre. Mass applause followed Penton’s outburst.

“It’s a shock and a national disgrace and you and your boss should give your head a shake,” Kevin O’Neill added to the chorus of discontent.

In defence of Harper’s decision to shut down the government until March 3 — the second time he has called a recess prematurely in the past year — Carol Joseph pointed out that the Liberals prorogued government four times when Jean Chretien was in power between 1993 and 2003.

“It’s hypocritical to scream at (Prime Minister Stephen)’s not illegal or undemocratic to prorogue,” said Joseph.

Her lob rankled vocal objections from the crowd, prompting Raitt to demand civility. “Let her talk, this is a discussion,” said the MP.

In Matthew Powell’s mind, rationalizing the prorogation at a time when the country is at war in Afghanistan and unemployment is past the eight per cent mark, is frivolous.

“It’s not OK to say the other guy did it; it’s playground politics,” he said.

And that's the way it went in Halton.

1 comment:

  1. “I am mad as hell about prorogation.I'm  wonder now if she is still having that sexy feeling over the prorogation issue and people letting her know how mad they are about her party that she and her control freak who helped her steal the seat she has. Raitt must be feeling a little embarrassed right about now. Maybe she will be the next Con MP to retire for personal reasons.