09/13/2013 11:02 EDT | Updated 11/13/2013 05:12 EST

Prorogation official as GG grants PM Harper's request

Parliament is officially prorogued, House of Commons clerk Audrey O'Brien said in a memo distributed to MPs Friday morning.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request for prorogation and allowed an Oct. 16 date for the throne speech. The speech will happen at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Harper said last month that he wanted to have Parliament prorogued before its original Sept. 16 return date. Prorogation allows governments to bring in fresh bills and usually happens mid-way through a prime minister's mandate.

Harper's announcement stoked controversy, however, because of the amount of time he wanted to prorogue Parliament. He could have brought the House and Senate back within days or even hours rather than taking an extra month, critics said.

MPs will lose 17 sitting days off the parliamentary calendar and have to spend a few days reconvening committees once they return.

Opposition MPs have criticized the amount of time Harper is taking to bring back the House, with New Democrats alleging the prime minister finds it more convenient not to face them in question period.

"They've pushed Parliament off … somewhat indefinitely. Democracy's getting inconvenient for Mr. Harper and has been for a long time," NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen told CBC News last week.