Had the GG denied King Steve his prorogation, she would likely have angered many wingnuts, some of whom already see her position as a relic of the monarchy and wish to do away with it. And although her decision to continue with tradition and rubber-stamp the PM's request will assuage their fears, it actually lends some creedence to their views in a roundabout sort of way. Our system of government has operated with the implicit assumption that no Prime Minister would put the GG in the difficult position of having to rigorously interpret the constitution and actually utilize her royal prerogative in a meaningful way. Of course, Harper is a dick, and had no problem testing the will of the GG in order to save his own job. By acquiescing, Michaelle Jean has kept with tradition, but has unwittingly become complicit in Harper's political gamesmanship. And if the GG does not intervene at a time when the Prime Minister is attempting to misuse the constitution for his own political gain, then truly what function does she serve? In my opinion, her decision has set a dangerous precedent. Only time will tell.
It's not particularly high minded, but I must confess I do get a sort of smug satisfaction in watching the worthless hacks at the National Post foaming at the mouth over the prospect of a coalition government.
In a particularly fetid editorial which may as well have been penned by Pierre Poilievre himself, the question is posed:
[A]h, "elections" -- who else remembers that quaint method we once used to pick prime ministers?
This CPC talking point and outright LIE has been exposed and quashed many times over, but needless to say in our parliamentary democracy, we have never used general elections to "pick prime ministers". We pick MPs, as this insightful article explains.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Kay makes an impassioned case for Canada to become a Republic, complaining about the country's future being left in the hands of an unelected Governor General.
The wonderful thing about the American system — the aspect that never gets talked about for some reason — is that the President can appoint any genius he likes to Cabinet spots ... The President, as ultimate decider, just picks the best people, they accept and … that's it.
Kay fails to explain why unelected Presidential appointees are more "democratic" than a GG, or what in particular makes them "the best people". One need only look as far back as Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Brown to realize that Presidential appointees needn't be qualified or competent to earn their jobs.
Finally Lorne Gunter writes a tongue-in-cheek piece bemoaning the economic calamity which awaits the country under a "socialist" coalition. I would point out only that Lorne writes for the National Post, an ardently conservative newspaper which has lost money every year since its inception (by some estimates, $15 million per year) and continues to do so.
The prospect of a coalition government comes with a number of question marks, and though I support it, I do have some degree of trepidation. Still, watching the conservapundits sweat and squirm puts a small but sweet smile on my face.
Well, maybe not quite. Still, Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe today announced their intent to bring down the Conservative government by entering into a formal coalition. Good for them. Harper's own pathological need to destroy his political opponents has cost him dearly, and he may yet end up paying the ultimate political price.
He still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and he won't hesitate to use them. Most likely he'll ask the GG to prorogue parliament, a shameless move designed only to avoid a non-confidence vote. Alternately, he could face the vote, lose it, then petition the GG to call a general election. Of course the GG is under no obligation to grant him either of his wishes, but King Steve will surely make her job as hard as possible.
Will the coalition last? No. But I wonder if a brief chance for co-governance would soften both the Liberals and the NDP to the idea of a more formal arrangement in the future. Hell, it worked for the Conservatives. How does 'The Liberal Democratic Party of Canada' sound? Weird, I know. But then, these are weird times.
P.S. My blog is undergoing a bit of a facelift. I'm going for a somewhat 'cleaner' look. My apologies for any glitches while I tinker.
Sigh. Once again, the inveterate howler monkeys otherwise known as the Blogging Tories have managed to get their panties in a knot over the latest threat to democracy as we know it. A "coup d'état", they're calling it. A veritable overthrow of the Harper government by an opposition that has suddenly discovered its testicles.
Over at Crotch of the Matter, Sandy resurrects the moldy corpse of the sponsorship scandal, blames the mainstream media, and looks up the wikipedia definition of "coup d'état":
A coup d’état (pronounced /kuːdeɪˈtɑː/AHD: [ko͞o"dā tä]), often simply called a coup, is the sudden unconstitutional overthrow of a government by a part — usually small — of the state establishment — usually the military — to replace the branch of the stricken government, either with another civil government or with a military government.
Pity that poor Sandy fails to read the definition that she herself posts, in particular the bit about a coup being "unconstitutional". Ah but there's that pesky Canadian constitution, which permits the opposition parties to do precisely what they are doing. Nevermind...the constitution is clearly Liberal-biased.
And then there's our old dependable hapless Dr. Roy. He who blogs without benefit of reason, original thought, or even a basic spell-checker. He who rants about ethics and crime, while proudly displaying his support for convicted criminal and fraudster Conrad Black.
It's hard to know what exactly Roy would have the Opposition parties do. On the one hand, he mocks the Liberals for their inaction during the last parliament. On the other, he cries "coup d'état" as soon as they oppose King Harper, and refers to them as "enemies" of the Conservatives. A real head-scratcher, that one.
The BT's concerned about an impending 'crisis' would do well to remember that this was entirely Harper's doing. As Howard Elliot wrote in the Spectator:
This country is facing recession. While we're in better shape than many jurisdictions, we can't escape the global slowdown. It's here, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Harper acknowledged this general sentiment as recently as last weekend and said a deficit might be essential in the name of economic stimulation. But when he had a choice between responsible governance and partisan warfare, he chose the latter. That's a betrayal of public trust, plain and simple.