From Left to Right, domestic and international, it's the same verdict - Stephen Harper is perverting Canadian democracy.
It's easy to blame Harper. He deserves all the scathing criticism he's getting - and more. But we've always known he was a bully, an opportunist and a cheap fixer - an unprincipled hustler who will do anything he can get away with.
The person we should be taking a closer look at is the one person without whose support Harper would not have been able to undermine Canadian democracy and Canada's Parliament - the Governor General, Michaelle Jean.
It's not Stephen Harper who is padlocking Parliament, it's Michaelle Jean. She holds the keys to the locks. It's her call. Harper can't get away with this without her prior consent. To the extent he is perverting Canadian democracy, it's with Michaelle Jean's collaboration.
The Governor-General's power to prorogue Parliament is discretionary. She has to decide that it's warranted. Even if she does agree to prorogue, the Governor-General is empowered to impose conditions. Little things such as no stacking the Senate while the heat is off.
When Harper decided to prorogue Parliament in 2008, his Rideau Hall henchman saved his sorry Tory ass from certain defeat. No matter how you cut it, that was Michaelle Jean playing Tory partisan politics.
If you doubt her Excellency's partisanship, look to her New Year's gift to Canadians this year. This time Stephen Harper didn't even have to drive the few blocks over to Rideau Hall to plead his case. He simply phoned it in and she signed off as directed.
A lot of people gave Michaelle Jean an awful lot of slack the first time. Call it the benefit of the doubt times, oh, infinity. I know - she's a woman, she's black, she's an immigrant, she's from Quebec. So what? There's no reason to give her the benefit of the doubt this time. She has abused and sullied her office and she has betrayed our nation, our people and our Parliament.
Even the right-wing British magazine, The Economist, understands and denounces Stephen Harper's undemocratic machinations. If there is any lingering reason to have a Governor General, surely it's to prevent people like Stephen Harper undermining Canadian democracy.
If Michaelle Jean had a shred of decency left, she would resign in her well-earned disgrace. She doesn't and she won't and Stephen Harper must be deleriously grateful to know that his Rideau Hall stooge will soldier on, ever complacent to his will.
The scuttle-butt in Ottawa is that Michaëlle really likes being GG and she would like to stay longer.
The counter scuttle-butt is that Harper has already picked out her successor and that he played Jean.
Does GG really have any real power? Is it not purely ceremonious position? She has to do what the government of the day asks her to. Is there any precedent where GG turned down a request from a PM? I think it falls fairly and squarely on Harper’s shoulders.
Yes, LD, the GG does have considerable power on these things. A former GG, Ed Schreyer, was quick to point out that he would not have prorogued even in 2008. A GG could also invite a coalition to form a government in place of an ineffective minority.
There's plenty of precedent. You should check it out.
Just in case you're wondering, I'm awaiting delivery of some gear I need for travelling.
MoS, let me first wish you a great trip. Yes I did think that perhaps you posted from a desert.
Let me make it clear that I am opposed to prorogation. No question about that. I believe Harper is dead wrong for proroguing the Parliament given the current situation. However, Jean Chretien did it few times. I believe Clarkson was the GG then. I will google and see if there was a time that such a request was denied.
It is easy for Ed Schreyer to say it now, as he is no longer GG. Usually GG goes along with whatever PM says. GG position is redundant, as it really does not play any crucial role. May be about time to abolish GG position.
Apparently the GG is close to the Harper's, especially Laureen. Next time Harper will just text her with his Blackberry saying "I prorogue" & that will be it. It's all a sham.
well, now we have to have sympathy for her because of her roots...
the seal eating was good...
but.... proroguing parliament over the phone????
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