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Only rogues prorogue! (7 photos)

For the next few weeks, Sault MP Tony Martin isn't going to be where he wants to be. That's because, at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request, the second session of the 40th Parliament of Canada was prorogued on Wednesday, December 30.
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For the next few weeks, Sault MP Tony Martin isn't going to be where he wants to be.

That's because, at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request, the second session of the 40th Parliament of Canada was prorogued on Wednesday, December 30.

Today, about 60 people gathered outside Martin's constituency office in Sault Ste. Marie to protest the proroguing of Parliament.

Democracy is on hold in Canada yet again, said Martin.

"Canada is a country at war," the MP said after today's rally. "Here we are as a country out around the world - not just Afghanistan - trying to protect people's democracies and not living up to the values that we hold so dear where our own Parliament is concerned."

Until the beginning of March no parliamentary committees will meet.

There will be no business done in the House of Commons.

All government bills that have not received Royal assent prior to prorogation cease to exist.

If Parliament were in session now as it normally would be, then committees would be meeting to discuss the upcoming budget, Canada's position on the environment and plans to revive the country's still-sluggish economy.

Instead, says Martin, the Conservative minority government is going ahead with its own plans while excluding elected representatives from other parties from any opportunity to have input on these and many other important issues.

Joining the protesters today was Christian Provenzano, Sault Ste. Marie's Liberal candidate in the next federal election.

Provenzano made a brief speech to the crowd gathered, saying the current minority mandate to Prime Minister Harper was a message from Canadians saying he has to maintain their confidence.

"Stephen Harper never saw it that way," Provenzano said. "Instead what he did was to close the doors to Parliament."

Neither Christian Provenzano nor Tony Martin will be taking it easy until the beginning of March, though.

Both the federal NDP and Liberal party are busy making plans of their own to force Stephen Harper to ask that Parliament be recalled.

"It's almost busier now than it would be if we were in session," Martin said.

Canada's elected representatives are busy deciding what bills will be reintroduced as new bills and which bills they will petition the House to reinstate.

This gives Sean Meades hope for Canada's future.

Meades (shown above) helped organize today's rally.

"It was great to hear both Tony and Christian speak," he said. "They were both close to the heart of the issues and it was kind of inspiring."

Meades said he appreciated knowing there are politicians in politics for the right reasons, not selfish reasons.

"They are reviving the public discourse about why politics and Parliament are important," he said. "This crosses party lines and there are people who are in politics because they are concerned about their fellow citizens."

Unless it's recalled, Parliament will resume on March 3.

March 4 is the day the next budget is to be released.

Many of the protesters at today's rally say they believe the prime minister is shutting down Parliament to avoid accountability for a number of outstanding issues including the budget, detainees in Afghanistan and what they consider our government's poor performance on the environment.