Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A dangerous precedent?

Martha Hall Findlay looks at the prorogation angle differently than I had ever considered.

If the governor general does allow a prorogation, would it be the end of responsible government in Canada?

The premise of responsible government is that the executive remains in office only so long as it enjoys the support of the responsible house of the legislature. If the governor general allows a prorogation and sets a precedent that a prime minister can seek and receive a prorogation anytime, even when it less than two weeks after a throne speech, with no legislation passed. This would allow any future prime minister to simply prorogue whenever a confidence vote they fear losing is scheduled.

This is a very interesting and fair point. One I'm surprised I've never heard mentioned by one of the countless "experts" who've been on TV the past week.

6 comments:

Rob said...

It's why Harper needs to step down in order for a new Conservative Prime Minister to step up to the plate. Otherwise, the Coalition should be allowed to try to govern.

As an aside, I think it's real funny that the Tories were trying to flip Scott Simms over to their side of the aisle. He'd have to be pretty stupid to cross over after having been elected on a three word platform: "I'm not Conservative".

le politico said...

I'm ok with it. Harper HAD just won a confidence vote a couple days earlier after all.

And now Harper is kicking butt. CPC at 46%, who would have thought that 2 days ago?

nbpolitico said...

He should have asked for election, then both he and our unwritten conventions on responsible government would have won.

le politico said...

What makes you think he didn't ask for an election?

Barry said...

Mr.Harper has manifested this crisis on purpose, he had 7 weeks to provide a economic package and he did nothing. He threw gasoline on the fire when he was going stop funding to Politicial parties during elections. Mr.Harper just exposed his hidden agenda, to bankrupt the opposition parties by going to the polls as much as he can and if he gets a majority he will cut off all funding except donations. Donation refunds is a bigger Government expense than the 30 million proposed to withdraw. Even in America they have two strong parties.

Autism Reality NB said...

We just had an election.

Harper should not have been granted prorogation. Having been given that gift, if he is defeated on a confidence vote once Parliament is unshackled, the GG should give the coalition the opportunity to see if it commands the confidence of the elected members of the House of Commons. The coalition should in the event of a Harper defeat on a confidence vote be given the chance to govern.