Comment 27769

By Connie (registered) | Posted December 04, 2008 at 02:15:08

A very unusual situation in Canadian politics. More and more, it seems Canadian politics is just about politicians instead of about Canadians.

That said ... on this historical day, the Governor-General resumes the intended position in Canada, as a Head of State who guides the wheels of Canadian democracy run amok. Stephen Harper, in typical hissy-fit style, will demand that the GG prorogue parliament, and expect her to concede. However, she cannot.

Let me explain ...

Harper is asking the GG to prorogue parliament so that his government can avoid a non-confidence vote that his government will surely lose.

There is no precedent for that, and such a decision would be an extremely dangerous precedent to set. There is a reason why there are democratic checks and balances built into our parliamentary democracy/constitutional monarchy. All democracies have such protections to avoid an ill-intentioned group or individual from seizing absolute power - to prevent dictatorship. Perhaps dictatorship seems a distant concept to most Canadians, but consider this:

Harper was about to lose a vote of confidence in the house. Harper wants to suspend parliament. Harper, thus, manages to hold onto absolute power without the confidence of Canadians. What he does with that power, no one will know, because there will be no public forum for governance. A government that has lost the confidence of the majority of Canadians will continue to 'govern' ... from behind closed doors.

The Governor-General cannot agree to prorogue parliament because to do so would set a precedent such that every future government that faces a vote of confidence will simply suspend parliament. This would totally undermine our democracy.

Lazy as we are about protecting it, I don't think Canadians can afford to lose that much and still call ourselves a democracy.

Hopefully, Harper is receiving advice on these issues of constitutional law and precedent before his meeting with the GG, because she has to say no or Canadians will lose confidence in our entire system of governance including her.

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