Cullen slams parliamentary ‘lockout’ as undemocratic

SMITHERS – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his MPs should be heading back to work this week along with millions of other Canadians, not kicking back after shutting down Parliament for the second time in 12 months, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said today.

“Everyone I’ve spoken with is shocked and angered that Mr. Harper has again pulled the plug on democracy,” Cullen said.  He noted the one-week-old Facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament grew by over 40% this afternoon alone, when it topped 43,000 members.

Originally scheduled to begin January 25th following the winter break, Parliament will now not sit until March 3.  “That will be more than 12 weeks or 84 days since the House of Commons had a chance to work on the laws and budgets that this country needs and expects,” said Cullen.

Cullen said Canadians want their Members of Parliament to return to Ottawa and the important work they were elected to do, including dealing with bills on such key issues as economic recovery, consumer protection, white collar crime and the Afghanistan detainee hearings.

Cullen will use his extra six weeks of prorogation-provided riding time to undertake pre-budget consultations with constituents, and visit dozens of Chambers of Commerce, local governments and community service organizations throughout his 300,000-square kilometre riding.

These plans are in addition to previously scheduled riding commitments for January that include touring communities most affected by the proposed Enbridge pipelines, visiting schools to promote the Create Your Canada legislation-writing contest, and working towards a second meeting of the Renewal Northwest steering group.

It’s a full plate but there’s room for more, Cullen said.  “I encourage anyone with other ideas for important work during this stretch to please contact my offices because I’m here to serve you.”

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Contact: Shelley Browne, 250-877-4142; nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca