OTTAWA -- NDP Leader Jack Layton is demanding that prime ministers lose the ability to prorogue parliament.
Layton said Sunday that when federal politicians get back to work in Ottawa this week, he’ll call for an emergency debate about the issue.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the opening of parliament until after the Olympic Games in Vancouver. The move was widely criticized as an effort to dodge public scrutiny over the Afghan detainee affair.
“It will be a big week. We have been locked out since December. Something shifted when Mr. Harper padlocked those doors. Millions of Canadians were suddenly talking about democracy and how it got so badly lost along the way,” Layton said in Toronto at an NDP council meeting.
“The New Democratic Party will bring the voices of those millions of Canadians with us when we return to Ottawa and deal with the democratic crisis in this country. Never again will a Prime Minister be able to flee responsibility on any issue.”
Layton says politicians should have been back to work five weeks ago to help those who are struggling in tough economic times.
“We need to keep the doors of parliament open so we can keep working for families. To do all this we have to have an open parliament,” Layton said.
“And we can’t deliver a budget that shuts people out. We need to do our best to keep the doors open to all people, not just those with influence.
Last fall, Layton received a few concessions from Harper and, in return, he didn’t force an election.
Layton said the upcoming federal budget funding should address infrastructure improvements, job creation and forgiving student debt — not tax cuts.