Parliament was due to return from summer vacation today, but thanks to the miracle of prorogation, it won't be back for a month. People are upset. But is that outrage justified?
Whenever the government feels the need to outline a new agenda with a new Throne Speech, the Prime Minister can request that the Governor General prorogue Parliament. Unless there are some extremely extenuating circumstances, this request is always granted and has the effect of killing all bills currently before either House and shutting down all committees. Essentially, Parliament goes on super vacation.
Normally, this isn't a particularly interesting procedure and no one pays much attention to it. In fact, over the past fifty years it's happened over 20 times and in the vast majority of cases no one even noticed. The Tories have been swift to point out that Pierre Trudeau actually prorogued Parliament on a regular basis, racking up a total of eight by the time he retired.
Of course, those eight prorogations were for a total of thirteen days, less than half the length of even one of the Harper Government's. Additionally, at least two of the Tories' shutdowns were to avoid politically-damaging events, something they railed against when the Liberals did it in 2003. The hypocrisy of shutting down the government to avoid dissent after chastising your opposition for doing the same thing was not lost on the people during the anti-prorogation protest of 2010.
So it came as no surprise when a good chunk of the country was a bit perturbed when they found out the Tories were going to shut down the government yet again. But this time there doesn't seem to be anything nefarious behind it. Sure, it's a little maddening that the three months of vacation they just had wasn't enough time to realign the government's priorities, and, rather than working, the PM seems to be touring the country making stump speeches, but this prorogation is almost exactly the same timing and duration as the one that occurred in 2007 and no one even remembers that happened. No, people are angry for no particular reason this time and the Tories have no one to blame but themselves.