Thursday, December 04, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Prorogue

When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern. - Stephen Harper, April 18, 2005.

I stumbled upon the above quote from Danielle Takacs' blog; it's a quote that needs to be repeated.

As a supporter of the Coalition, I was disappointed by the decision of Governor General Michaƫlle Jean to follow the advice of the Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament. While I was disappointed, I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

It's kind of a precedent versus precedent. Let me explain.

The Prime Minister, clearly not holding the confidence of the House of Commons, asks the Governor General to prorogue Parliament to avoid being defeated. The people of Canada elect Members of Parliament; the Members of Parliament choose government. The House of Commons decided to form a new government, which is both democratic and legal based on the rules of a parliamentary democracy, and the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to help him avoid the inevitable.

On the other hand, while I wanted the Governor General to deny the Prime Minister the prorogation, what precedent would have been set if she had actually not listened to the advice of a sitting Prime Minister?

I maintain this incident was different than both Clark / Trudeau / Schreyer as Clark was defeated first, and slightly different than King / Meighen / Byng, as Meighen held a larger minority than King.

In short, I don't blame the Governor General. I think in the back of my mind, I kind of knew she would not deny Stephen Harper's request.


Anonymous said...

"The Prime Minister, clearly not holding the confidence of the House of Commons"

What about the confidence of the Canadian people? We didn't vote for a coalition government . . . just look at the latest polls and you'll see how many Canadians don't want a coalition government. Especially one run by someone who even the Liberals don't want around. But Liberals have this attitude that they should be the government no matter what and they'll do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. And if you don't think that's true, here's what Dion said to Duceppe in the elevator after the tape screw up yesterday.

"I'm told that (Bloc Quebecois Leader) Gilles Duceppe ran into Mr. Dion in the elevator and asked 'What the hell happened?' and Mr. Dion said, 'We're not used to being in opposition," Fife said.

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

And Conservatives don't have this attitude about remaining in power? Talk to Captain Prorogue.

Let's clear up these Consevative falsehoods right off the bat; nobody voted for a Conservative government either -- they are as illegitimate as the Coalition is, according to Con claims.

People voted for their Members of Parliaments, Parliament chooses government. Tradition holds the group (coalition or otherwise) with the most seats takes the first shot - but that's not necessarily the rule (see King/Byng when King held fewer seats than Meighen).

That's just the way it works.