Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Over to You, Your Majesty

T'WAS THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and all through the House, not a creature was stirring, except Dion the mouse. It is amazing how such an enfeebled Liberal leader, who got so thoroughly trounced in the federal election held barely six weeks ago because Canadians did not want him as prime minister, stands to become Prime Minister of Canada nonetheless if Governor General Michaëlle Jean refuses Prime Minister Harper's formal request this morning to prematurely prorogue Parliament; a request made for no other reason than for the current government to avoid facing a non-confidence vote they would very likely lose. This is a technical abuse of the British Parliamentary system.

And now the Queen's representative has been put in a very tricky political situation, because to deny the wish of a sitting prime minister is as unpalatable as granting it, of overseeing a transition to power to a man who just lost the election, who so clearly lacks the democratic legitimacy to lead the country. Yet Stephane Dion apparently has the confidence of the House through behind-the-scenes coalition dealing with the three leftist/left-leaning opposition parties, who combined have about a dozen more seats than the ruling Conservatives. How did Harper so badly miscalculate their weaknesses, how did he not see that the Liberal leader far from being weak, had nothing to lose after losing an election so badly, one that forces him to vacate the Liberal throne once a new leader is chosen. How did he not see that the social democrats and their leader would sign on to anything and with anybody who would promise to waste billions in an utterly futile "economic stimulus" package. And how did he not see that the Quebec nationalists/sovereigntists/separatists/socialists (take your pick) would support any spending measure that would see the dole role into Quebec by the truckload. Harper is an evil genius alright, we know he was able to singlehandedly unite the Right, and now he has shown an equally remarkable aptitude for uniting the Left.

To sum up, every federal party leader in this political crisis has egg on their face for dragging the Queen into this unbelievable mess. The pundits go on about some perceived "constitutional crisis", but let's be clear: there is no crisis here that the Crown cannot referee or solve. A decision simply needs to be made by Her Majesty's representative, and that is that. She wields an incredibly awesome power right now, contrary to the constant assertions of republicans, the Crown is not some useless instrument that should be discarded, but an abolutely necessary and critical part of our government. We are witnessing just how critical it still is today.

6 comments:

Bolingbroke said...

I'm intrigued by what's going on in Canada right now. Looks like Harper was granted his wish. Looks like he's going to survive, thanks to your GG.

Diefenbaker said...

I imagine the choice came down to the fact that there was some evidence that this coalition had roots going back before the election. And Harper could argue he never had the chance to prove he had the confidence of the house (despite his throne speech being passed)

No answer was perfect, but my suspicions are the logic was that allowing the current government to introduce a budget (and therefore only delaying a confidence vote) was less interventionist than instilling a new coalition government, which *may* lack legitimacy in the eyes of some Canadians. Remember, the coalition still has the opportunity to vote down the Government, just at a later date. Unlike a dissolution, this does not completely rob them of that chance with a changed makeup of the House of Commons.

Furthermore, the GG should always take the stance that allows the blame fall on the shoulders of the Prime Minister. Had she refused this morning, the fall of Harper's government would have been pinned on her. Should Harper fall in January, the blame can only be placed on him.

Add to the fact that Her Excellency was appointed by a Liberal and her husband has allegations of separatist sympathies could lead to a potentially damning, albeit politically charged smear campaign.

Just my 2 cents. Had this happened 80 years ago in 1926, perhaps it may have been different.

Matt said...

Interesting. Does the Governor-General have to run the decision by the Queen before making it public?

Anonymous said...

The Governor General does not have to seek the Queen's permission in such matters. What would be the point in having a Governor General if that was the case?

Beaverbrook said...

I agree with all of Diefenbaker's points.

I think there is information exchanged with Buckingham Palace, but I don't believe the Queen gets involved in the decisions, unless the Prime minister requests the Queen to fire the GG.

Anonymous said...

In no way could this be described as an "abuse of the parliamentary system", technical or otherwise.
Regardless of one's political preferences, the Westminster system demands that whoever commands the majority of the house, should be invited to attempt to form the government!
The argument that the electorate "didn't want him as PM" would actually hold some water if the election was in the direct US presidential style, but of course it isn't.
I am not at all certain that the G-G did the right thing in this case. If a coallition of the opposition is able to defeat the government on a vote of confience and supply, then it is only right that that government fails - it is the system!

As an aside, HM will not interfere in domestic politics outside the UK, which is the domain of the respective G-G. I base my assertion on offical comments from Buckingham Palace with regards to various entreatries and petitons made direct to HM from overseas realms such as NZ.

Mac