Print Story Why an election would be undemocratic
So, we have the Governor General flying back from Europe to decide what to do with this Parliament. Here is one of the few times the real duties of the Governor General come out, and as always there is no lack of opinion on what she should do. One of the primary opinions coming from a lot of people, both CPC supporters and others, is that the only democratic solution is to dissolve parliament and have another election. That only elected governments have legitimacy. Hell, some of the CPC guys are going so far as to call the coalition "illegal".

They're wrong.



So, first let me state the obvious: Canada is a representitive democracy. Electors vote for the person they wish to represent them in Parliament. Once a Parliament has been elected, one of those representatives is chosen to form a government. The criteria for this selection is that it must be someone who can form a government that will enjoy the confidence of Parliament and and work with Parliament to be able to govern effectively. In an intersection of tradition and sense, the leader of the party with a plurality of seats is asked by the Governer General to become Prime Minister.

This is the important bit: Canadians vote for a Parliament, not a government. We elect MPs not PMs.

We had an election 6 weeks ago, and this is the democratically elected Parliament that Canadians chose. It is up to that Parliament to respect the choice of those voters and attempt to make this work. Mr. Harper was given fair chance to govern, but quickly lost the confidence of Parliament. There is a viable alternative Government that has been formed within this Parliament. It is perfectly democratic and perfectly legitimate for the Governer General to ask this coalition to form a Government. It has precidence in both other Westminister-style parliaments like England's, as well as federal Parliaments and provincial legislatures.

It is undemocratic for Harper to attempt to dissolve this Parliament. Parliament does not serve at the pleasure of the PM, and is not to be dissolved because it is not working to the PMOs liking. The PMO & government are appointed by the Governer General to serve Parliament. Parliament has decided it no longer has confidence in the Harper government. It is not Harper's place to question the judgement of the democratically elected Parliament of Canada.

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Why an election would be undemocratic | 47 comments (47 topical, 13 hidden) | Trackback
damn by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 03:14:40 PM EST
if I had to wager on which North American Democracy would have a constitutional crisis Dec. 08, I wouldn't have picked Canada


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westminster systems average constitutional crisis by cam (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:04:06 AM EST
at least three times each century.


cam 
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]
that's about where the US is, then by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:06:12 AM EST
since I see the following constitutional crises in the US in the 20th century:
  • conflict between the supreme court and the administration over the new deal, the court packing scheme, and the court backing down;
  • watergate
  • the 2000 election

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
US doesnt do constitutional crisis like the by cam (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:54:07 PM EST
Westminster governments do. The GG/G in Au/NSW case sacked the government. Literally removed a democratically elected executive that had been governing. The G in Qld was asked by Joh to sack Joh's cabinet. The G refused. There have been others. The government in Qld suicide squaded the Legislative Council while the G was away.

The modern Au republican movement is a result of the 1975 constitutional crisis and a reaction to the GG sacking a government as well as the implied 'reserve powers' of the GG in the Auian constitution.


cam

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]
more people have died by aphrael (2.00 / 1) #39 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 06:33:41 PM EST
as a result of US constitutional crises than as a result of Australian ones.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Amazing by Clipper Ship (1.00 / 2) #2 Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 03:34:52 PM EST
Despite the fact that I voted Green, you are blatablty missing the point that Layton was pushing for this action at the earliest possible moment long before Harper 'lost the confidence of Parliament.' That's not a forged tape and you know it. So, this thing is not about any kind of fair dealing and your summary is incorrect.

What's the outcome: Rae for PM. That's what he wants and Layton thinks he can get somewhere pushing that. You haven't noticed this?

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Destroy All Planets

Errr... by MostlyHarmless (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:02:22 AM EST
Harper was agitating to do the exact same thing the instant the Martin Minority government came to power and he was quite happy to hop into bed with the Bloc back then.

Rae? Seriously, you going to trot out the NEP next?

-mh
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[Mostly Harmless]

[ Parent ]
NEP by marvin (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:28:51 AM EST
It is still not forgotten, and it might be another generation yet before it is.

Know why you cannot tell me the names of the Liberals who got elected in Alberta in 2008? Because none were. 27 Conservatives, 1 NDP, 0 Liberal.

[ Parent ]
Yes... by MostlyHarmless (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:24:49 AM EST
Course it also has to do with a 30+ year conservative dynasty, 15 years of Reform, and the fact that it's repeated like a mantra long after the Horse is dead, skeletal, and well on its way to fossilized.

-mh
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[Mostly Harmless]

[ Parent ]
Surely by marvin (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:39:00 AM EST
If you screw someone over hard enough, as Trudeau did Alberta for the benefit of Ontario and the east, you would expect people to remember that for a long time. The Liberals are still not showing any signs of recovery in the west, and forming a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP won't help them any.

Much like Harper will find out when this coalition strengthens the longer he delays. He will be persona non grata for years with the opposition parties, no matter what at this point. I'll be shocked if he is still PM by January 30.

[ Parent ]
Layton has always been pushing for this by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:09:14 PM EST
As has <i>every</i> NDP leader since Tommy. That's entirely beside the point.


[ Parent ]
More Canadian Navel Gazing, -1 by marvin (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Dec 02, 2008 at 04:03:24 PM EST
Not really. Being Canadian, I could talk about things like this all day, much to the dismay of everyone else on this site.

Hey, do you guys have any ideas about another angle to this situation that I could spin into another story on this site? I think that the three existing stories  are not enough, and a fourth will make the world a better place.

BTW, I tend to agree with you, MostlyHarmless. Technically, nobody in Canada votes for a PM, we vote for MPs to go to Ottawa. It irritates me to no end how many people cast their votes on the basis of the party leader, and confuse the role of the PM with that of a President.

Not here by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:19:05 AM EST
K5.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Someone beat me to it by marvin (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:30:24 AM EST
The Queen of England, apparently. Not my dupe account, but it is funny.

[ Parent ]
I like the idea by garlic (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:12:24 AM EST
of being able to have an election whenever it's deemed necessary, vs on a set time table. In my state, it'd be nice to be able to call for an election to get rid of our corrupt governor.

I think it would be interesting if one of the USA states had a parliament, instead of each state copying it's governemnt setup off of the federal setup.

I'd also like to see some state start using preferential voting.


as do I by MostlyHarmless (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:26:54 AM EST
I dislike the current trend of 'fixed election dates'. Laughable ideas in a Parliamentary democracy, but seems to go over well in election platforms.

And yes, preferetial voting would be good. First Past the Post should have long since been dead and buried.

-mh
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[Mostly Harmless]

[ Parent ]
the flip side of non-fixed elections by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:45:34 PM EST
is that 90% of the time the date is picked by the government of the day, solely based on what is good for the incumbent.

If they're doing badly and unlikely to win, they drag it out to the max (5 years). If they're doing well or spot a temporary advantage, they call an election and try to snarf another majority before the other guys can get their shit together.

[ Parent ]
true by MostlyHarmless (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:53:59 PM EST
but, the flip side to that is that it's been known to bite the incumbent in the ass pretty hard as well when they mis-time things.

-mh
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[Mostly Harmless]

[ Parent ]
I think by garlic (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:14:05 AM EST
the people running for re-election, or election are the wrong ones to choose the timing.


[ Parent ]
probably by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #31 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:25:31 AM EST
But you can't win. The British parliamentary system has it's weaknesses, the US system gives you multi-year election campaigns...

It's almost enough to make you cynical.

[ Parent ]
random election scheduling! by herbert (4.00 / 1) #41 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:49:36 PM EST
The bit that Harper doesn't understand is... by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:08:11 PM EST
Parliament is the boss of the PM, not the other way around.


Why an election would be undemocratic | 47 comments (47 topical, 13 hidden) | Trackback