Prime Minister Stephen Harper's proroguement of Parliament has been nothing if not controversial.
In the most recent poll, the Conservatives are now tied with the Liberal Party at 30% support.
But this proroguement suddenly has a whole new face. Canadians will get the opportunity to judge it very soon.
The timing of Harper's recent proroguement of Parliament certainly cast the matter in a poor light. For one thing, it gave Canada's opposition parties the opportunity to claim that the Conservatives are simply trying to flee tough questions about the torture of detainees in Afghanistan.
Tom Flanagan believed it. John McCallum even went so far as to accuse the government of being guilty of war crimes.
But the revelation -- actually merely a reminder -- that the Liberal Party knew full well about the potential for torture in Afghan prisons while Canadian Forces were operating in Afghanistan, including during the negotiation of the infamous Prisoner Transfer Agreement in 2005 should change matters.
This doesn't excuse the Conservative Party's poor handling of the matter. But it should remind Canadians of an important fact about this proroguement:
If the proroguement of Parliament really was merely an effort to escape questioning over Afghan detainees, it's now evidently justified.
There is no reason in the world why the Harper government should willingly surrender itself to the tender mercies of a duplicitous official opposition that seems intent on holding it to account for a scandal that is actually of their making.
Certainly, one expects these revelations to hold little sway for individuals like Frances Russel, who wishes to compare Harper's proroguement to the 1873 proroguement sought by then-Prime Minister sir John A MacDonald.
The problem for Russel is that, in 1873, MacDonald's government very much had accepted bribes. The scandal was legitimate, and was of their own making.
137 years later, it turns out that there is indeed a scandal, but it's actually of the official opposition's making.
Russel's analysis will not find favourable treatment on the ash heap of history.
Likewise, Antonia Zerbisias will have to defend some of her recent analysis.
Zerbisias writes that the Facebook group protesting the proroguement of Parliament demonstrates that the spirit of populism is very much alive in Canadians. But what Zerbisias will now have to face up to is the reality that the traditional argument against populism -- that the average citizen often doesn't have the knowledge to make proper decisions or judgements -- now very much applies to the anti-proroguement movement and their Facebook group.
As it turns out, a great many of the Canadians who have opposed the proroguement -- perhaps even many of those who have been indifferent to it -- have been denied the information necessary to properly judge this proroguement. They've been misled by a Liberal Party that has chosen to lie by omission, and a media that -- until now -- has declined to report these facts.
In other words, these revelations have put a whole new face on what seemed to many Canadians -- including this not-so-humble scribe -- to be a largely routine proroguement, planned well in advance to give Harper the opportunity to prepare stage two of his party's economic program, reorganize the Senate, and take advantage of the diplomatic opportunity presented by the upcoming Olympic games.
The new face of this proroguement is that of an act of justified self-defense; a government defending itself against opposition parties that are bound and determined to disrupt the government during a key transition period in Canada's economic action plan by unjustly tarring the government with a scandal of the official opposition's making.
How well Canadians respond to the new face of this proroguement has yet to be seen.