Happy Prorogation Day
(I'll be updating this thread if anything interesting happens today...)
I know every newscast these days has a constitutional expert citing precedence (that, and streeters with angry Albertans). But the fact of the matter is, this is unprecedented. Michaelle Jean is today setting the precedence future scholars will cite.
And, because of that, she needs to be very careful. Allowing a Prime Minister to escape a confidence vote in the House through prorogation allows a Prime Minister to govern without the confidence of the House. In my opinion, this breaks a fundamental rule of our parliamentary system.
What's worse, it sets a terrible precedence. Can you imagine Paul Martin proroguing in May or December 2005 to escape confidence votes? Who knows how this power could be abused in the future.
Because of this, I firmly believe that the Governor General has a duty to turn down Harper's request, and force him to face the House on Monday. That said, I won't blame her if she agrees to it, since Harper has placed her in a Kobayashi Maru by asking her to do something he should not have asked her to do.
But, from a principled perspective, the proper and responsible decision would be to deny prorogation until Harper demonstrates that he has earned the confidence of the House - something he clearly does not enjoy at this moment.
10:50 am: They've been in there for over 75 minutes now and still no word on what the hell is going on. I suppose it's a good sign that they're actually talking this over in detail, but I'm anxious to see how this horrifying experiment in democracy turns out.
11:45 am: CTV is reporting that Jean has approved Harper's request to prorogue.
12:25 pm: And thus concludes another productive session of parliament! See ya'll on January 26th.
I think I've been more than charitable to Harper throughout this entire ordeal. But any good will I had towards him has gone out the window with this move. You simply cannot govern in our system without the support of the House and that's what he'll be doing.