Harper says prorogation 'completely normal'
OTTAWA - Stephen Harper insists his decision to prorogue Parliament is "completely normal" procedure for a government that wants to refresh its legislative agenda at the mid-point of its mandate.
But NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the prime minister is "hiding" from opposition parties, afraid to face questions about the burgeoning Senate expenses scandal.
Speaking in Montreal, Mulcair says Harper has not only decided to relaunch Parliament with a throne speech, but also to delay its scheduled resumption for at least a month.
Combined with the summer break and absences last spring, Mulcair says the delay means the prime minister will have spent only five days in five and a half months answering opposition questions in the House of Commons.
But Harper, who is currently on a week-long tour of northern Canada, says the government has passed most of the legislation introduced since the 2011 election and now needs to "refresh" its agenda.
No date has yet been fixed for the resumption of Parliament, but sources suggest it will likely be after Thanksgiving, which falls on Oct. 14.