It was bad enough to prorogue Parliament to avoid an election, but doing the same to try to silence questions about Canada’s role in torturing detainees is far more dubious. As an article in the Ottawa Citizen explains:
When Harper prorogued last fall it was to avoid a vote of non-confidence. This time, it will be to avoid something possibly far more serious — Parliamentary censure of the government, the banishment or imprisonment of Harper and some of his ministers, or the RCMP being asked to execute a Speaker’s warrant.
While the torture allegations are being treated as a partisan issue, I don’t think that is the appropriate frame of view. This is an issue of international law, human rights, and how Canada is going to conduct itself in international military operations. The precise manner in which Canada should deal with detainees and other governments is one that should be scrutinized by Parliament (and, if necessary, the courts) and that scrutiny should occur where Canadians have the opportunity to observe it.
Our procedures for military oversight also need to be examined, to evaluate the question of whether key information is being properly routed up through military and civilian command structures.
[Update: 25 January 2010] This whole situation generated a considerable amount of protest: 200,000 or so coast to coast.