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"Prorogue" Eh! A Coup in Ottawa?

01/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Oh Canada!....Oh Canada! OK, so you really don't care a loonie (a Mounty Dollar) what is taking place in our frigid northern neighbor except to ensure that the next Molson shipment is not hijacked at the border. But yesterday, Canada's PM Stephen Harper placed a padlock on the House of Commons entrance in order to preserve his job.

Ya see, he could have been overthrown if parliament had been given a chance to vote on a motion of no confidence in his conservative government, which he surely would have lost.

So why should anyone outside of Canada care? In the scheme of great challenges faces the incoming Obama administration, an internal threat to Canada's democracy just ain't on anyone's priority list. But sometimes (oh, maybe once in a hundred years or so) our pristine northern preacher of civilized politics and good intentions goes off the rails, and parliamentary democracy can take on an odor as bad as anything we have seen down in the backrooms of the state house in Baton Rouge.

Harper pulled a real switcheroo. He managed to convince Canada's Governor General (the Queen's official representative in Canada and yes, oh my, she is still in charge up there!), to shut down the House of Commons until January 26 over a budget crisis.

What Harper did, in the Queen's English, was to "PROROGUE" the House of Commons -- technically a maneuver by which the Governor General can approve a prime minister's request to suspend parliament. Never done before under such circumstances.

So, Stanley Cup fans, take a gander up north.

Will Canada survive the crisis? Ya betcha.

But, in the order of things, we Yanks do need our good friends to the north to get back to civility soon and cease their PROROGATION of the House of Commons. Barack Obama has more than enough on his foreign policy plate, and America's largest trading partner and greatest of friends is a crucial ally in helping our incoming president unravel the crises that Canada helps us quietly manage around the world -- say particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq and in NATO.

Alas, we customarily take Canada too often for granted, I dare say, because so few Americans know how much Canada does help us around the world. Canada is a crucial ally of the U.S. on so many accounts (salmon fishing and some sticky border trade disputes aside).

So, to my good friends in Vancouver, Calgary, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax and all points in between, prolonging proroguing is really loonie for the common good in the Commonwealth, eh!. We need ya.

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