Monday, February 09, 2009

Canada Explained

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7 Comments:

  • Thats Awesome...too funny. I think it should be included in all Grade 10 Social Studies classes in Canada.

    By Anonymous Calgary Rants, at 6:42 PM  

  • Rick is his usual entertaining self, but his thesis would appear misinformed, according to a legal scholar who has extensively studied the precedent set during Paul Martin's government.

    In particular, I read this paper as suggesting that the Government remains in power until they resign, regardless of votes of confidence in the House. Indeed, losing a vote of confidence may guide a Prime Minister to advise the GG to call an election - and the Government remains in power during the election, and would not be expected to resign if they "win" the election.

    The argument can be extended that the GG must in all matters follow the advice of the Prime Minister, barring extraordinary circumstances (e.g. incapacitation). She doesn't get to pick and choose when to follow the Government's advice.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 7:49 PM  

  • The legal scholar is right, but it doesn't make a lot of difference to Rick's points.

    As for extending the argument that the GG must in all matters follow the advice of the Prime Minister, that's simply not true. Historically, or legally. They haven't, always, and they are obliged not to when what the Prime Minister proposes is contrary to the constitution.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 10:37 PM  

  • Gods! Did you see the debate in Parliament today? All the grits stood up and applauded when Iggy scored a point.

    There is a difference!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:35 PM  

  • "it doesn't make a lot of difference to Rick's points"

    I differ: Rick's core premise was that the PM could be voted out of office by a simple majority of Parliamentarians. (Returned to his "strip mall" digs, as Mercer suggested.) And that's simply not how it works.

    As for suggesting that a PM could propose something contrary to the Constitution, I don't think one could properly characterize any such proposal as formal advice. They could discuss the constitutionality of any proposal, but that gets into a more esoteric discussion.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 7:21 PM  

  • Paul.obeda,

    What do you suggest, that we temporarily not have a Prime Minister or cabinet ministers during election periods?? The world goes on during election campaigns; wars and natural disasters do not take vacations during campaigns. This is why the government never fully resigns until a new one is ready to take over. What Mercer was saying is true; a government loses a vote, and its over, even if they are given time to pack during the campaign. After the election, if the PM is reelected, his government is STILL replaced by a new one (that he happens to head) at a swearing in ceremony.

    Martin DID set a bad trend of running away from confidence votes (I think the opposition could ask the Supreme Court to intervene when a government is seen to be doing this). But confidence votes have never been on just anything (a Committee Sub-Amendment?!?!). Martin exploited this and Harper took it one step further with perrogation. Regardless, once the vote IS held, Canada's convention has always been, and remains, that the government must resign as soon as possible. Rick was correct, even if he did not get into great detail about governing during the writ period & when swearing in ceremonies occur.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 PM  

  • Thank you Rick Mercer for the Liberal perspective of what happened.

    However, the truth about how the crisis actually started would have been funnier (ie: Harper threatening to stop giving the parties taxpayer money), proving that as funny as Mercer is, it's more important to be Liberal than funny.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:53 PM  

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