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Historically, if no date for meeting is selected, it was customary to prorogue it pro forma for 40 days.
Macdonald wanted to prorogue Parliament so as to stop the work of the committee looking into the Canadian Pacific Scandal.
When the Conservatives replaced the Liberals as government in 1957, it was raised at Cabinet whether prorogation should have a formal mechanism by which the Cabinet could consider and convey a recommendation to prorogue Parliament, but Prime Minister Diefenbaker insisted that it remain an informal mechanism in the hands of the PM.
Editor's Note: On March 17, 2010 the House of Commons adopted by a vote of 139--135 the following motion: That, in the opinion of the House, the Prime Minister shall not advise the Governor General to prorogue any session of any Parliament for longer than seven calendar days without a specific resolution of this House of Commons to support such a prorogation.