Thursday, September 04, 2008

And We're Off

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean early Sunday morning and ask her to dissolve the 39th Parliament, Canwest News Service has learned.

Canadians will vote Oct. 14, after the shortest campaign permitted by law.

Harper will begin campaigning immediately after leaving the Governor General's residence at Rideau Hall, touching down in at least two cities and possibly three before day's end Sunday.

So we're set to vote on October 14th. Then again, knowing how Harper is with election dates, I'm sure he's reserved the right to change E-Day mid-campaign if he so desires...


  • Does he also reserve the right to cancel the election should things not go well?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

  • Isn't that on a Jewish holiday?

    Also I read that Jack Layton plans to base his campaign on Obama. I can't see that working in Canada - and anyhow, to run a "hope" campaign you need the kind of media attention the NDP doesn't get (Obama got it because of the buzz from his keynote address, and the sense people had that he could win).

    The lack of a Queen means that Americans have to elect a head of government AND a head of state - and so they vote for symbols. In Canada we don't generally do that. Some might compare Trudeau and Obama, but at the end of the day they are very different. Trudeau was a great rough and tumbler with the media (Obama is only good at speeches), he was overtly and intentionally divisive and he had clear overarching issues (unity, individual rights, screwing the west).

    Actually I think Bill Vander Zalm is the closest we have had to Obama... and that ended badly.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 3:46 PM  

  • Hi, nice post.
    Since the elections about to start, thought you might enjoy this..

    By Blogger admin, at 4:06 PM  

  • Wow, I sort of half expected Harper to surprise everyone and not have an election.

    I'm always wrong!

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:01 PM  

  • Catherine Callbeck tried that once; it, er, didn't work out so well for her.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 6:39 PM  

  • Sorry for the super long comment, but here's something forwarded to me that I think the GG and many other Canadians should consider about Harper surrendering government. She should protect us from a Prime Minister running wild and not even following his own laws:

    Her Excellency
    the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
    Governor General of Canada
    Rideau Hall
    1 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1 Transmitted via fax : (613) 998-8760

    September 4, 2008

    Your Excellency

    In the matter of the recent news reports of the Prime Minister of
    Canada suggesting he will request you dissolve government, due to
    his lack of confidence. I am attaching an Op-ed I wrote recently,
    which I feel reflects the feelings of myself and many Canadians.

    Canadians have felt powerless for far too long. We are tired of
    being at the mercy of the whims of our elected officials. We have
    hired them to do a job, to represent the people of this nation and
    hold our best interests in the highest esteem. I am requesting
    that you ask the member of the Official Opposition whether he
    feels he has the confidence of the majority of members of the
    House and if so, allow him to take over as our Prime Minister. (As
    is part of our Canadian Convention ) If the recent news reports
    are correct, it is clear then that the current Prime Minister does
    not want his job and does not feel he can serve. Therefore it is
    incumbent on you to represent the people's best interest. I quote
    our Queen from this government website;

    Parliamentary democracy has fostered tolerance and flexibility - a
    good balance between individual rights and collective
    responsibilities. And this is because the constitutional monarchy
    has always placed the emphasis on people in community - as it
    were, a national family with the Sovereign as its head.

    Queen Elizabeth II

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    October 1987

    I submit that it is neither in the best interest of Canadians
    individual rights nor our collective responsibilities, to be
    paying for another election at this time. I submit that the House was sitting in the spring and did not lose confidence at that
    time, they have not resumed the next session and there has not
    been a motion which was defeated. The Prime Minister's meetings
    with the leaders of the other political parties, requesting a
    statement of confidence outside the House is not productive to
    good government. This is not a game. A minority government should not request a blank cheque from the opposition leaders. This is
    not responsible government.

    I quote from an article on the government website, in bold is the critical point:

    "First, in the United States the head of state and the head of the
    government are one and the same. The President is both at once.
    Here, the Queen, ordinarily represented by the Governor General, is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of the Government. Does that make any real difference? Yes: in Canada, the head of state can, in exceptional circumstances, protect Parliament and the people against a Prime Minister and Ministers
    who may forget that "minister" means "servant," and may try to
    make themselves masters. For example, the head of state could
    refuse to let a Cabinet dissolve a newly elected House of Commons
    before it could even meet, or could refuse to let Ministers
    bludgeon the people into submission by a continuous series of general elections. The American head of state cannot restrain the
    American head of government because they are the same person."

    Further I quote the importance of minority government (again from
    a government website) , surely ensures that only legislation that
    is in the best interest of Canadians can or will be passed. If legislation cannot be agreed to by the majority of members of
    Parliament then I submit to you that it is not the will of the people of Canada.

    "A reality of "minority governments" is that their life is often quite short. If the government is defeated in the House of Commons
    or legislature on a vote of non-confidence, the Crown's representative must either dissolve Parliament by calling an
    election or call on yet another member to attempt to form a government that would enjoy majority support. Far from existing only in political theory, this prerogative power has indeed been exercised in Canada - for example, in Ontario in 1985."

    In keeping with Canadian tradition, Convention and attitude
    desiring good, responsible government I am requesting that you act
    on behalf of the people of Canada, and assert your authority in
    this matter, sparing the people both the expense and effort of an
    unnecessary election.

    Yours very respectfully

    Catherine Whelan Costen

    cc: Media

    Catherine Whelan Costen

    By Anonymous Saskboy, at 7:56 PM  

  • That's funny. Ask the GG to support democracy by asking someone who wasn't the leader of any Party in the last election several years ago, who has announced a program completely divergent to the one that Party ran on in the last election, who believes that the "fixed date" election laws bind others but not him, to run the Government.

    Always good to see folks have a sense of humour about Democracy.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 9:03 PM  

  • That's the dumbest goddamn letter to an official I've ever seen in Canada. Grow up!

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:52 PM  

  • saskboy,

    The precedent you are looking for in federal politics is 1926. You will recall that Meighen lost the subsequent election (despite a Liberal scandal), and was perceived as having contravened the will of the people.

    If I were Stephane Dion I would rather take my chances in an election, than stage a coup for the weakest minority government ever (which would have to be a Bloc-Liberal-NDP coalition) - doomed to lose on a no confidence vote imminently, with the added burden of looking opportunistic and power-hungry.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:50 AM  

  • I'm shocked that the byelections aren't going to happen. It's a good thing that we've already wasted so much money and time on them, only to find out that since it was pretty obvious that he was going to lose at least some of them, that they're not going to happen. It's too bad too- the Green Party actually had a shot at getting one seat. I guess that lets Elizabeth May out of a Leader's Debate now as well.

    That's Steve- always looking out for the taxpayers' dollars and the democratic process!

    By Blogger Jen, at 5:56 AM  

  • I'm pretty sure that if the general election had been called after the by-elections, it would have cost more taxpayer money, not less.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:55 AM  

  • What Harper has done isn't democratic either, because it's against the law.

    By Anonymous Saskboy, at 2:41 PM  

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