Thursday, December 04, 2008

What If History

Martin hangs on as PM, shuts Parliament

November 24th, 2005

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Paul Martin has won a stay of political execution - at least until February.

Martin convinced Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to suspend Parliament on Thursday, delaying a non-confidence vote scheduled for Monday that would have brought down his beleaguered minority Liberal government.

The House of Commons has gone dark until February 1st, when Martin will return and present a throne speech. He is expected to request an election the next day, fulfilling his promise to call an election after Judge Gomery reports.

"Let me be perfectly clear - this government is fundamentally committed to fulfilling it's promise to hold an election after Judge Gomery does his work. That is our number one priority, along with with health care and the economy" the prime minister said outside the front door of Rideau Hall.

The decision also sets up the prospect of a fierce battle with the opposition coalition for public support over the coming weeks.

Jean agreed to Martin's unprecedented request after a face-to-face meeting at the vice-regal residence that lasted more than two hours.

The decision pulls the teetering minority Liberal government back from the brink, at least for the moment.

"We must realize the enormity of what has happened here today," said Conservative leader Stephen Harper, standing in the foyer of the Commons. "For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada."

Harper had asked Jean to refuse to prorogue, arguing that Martin no longer enjoys the confidence of the House of Commons.

A petition signed by all opposition MPs went to the Governor General on Thursday morning stating that "a majority of Members of Parliament . . . believe that this government has lost the confidence of the house."

The reaction has been fierce. Conservatives have planned rallies across this country to protest Jean's decision to prorogue. In Alberta, talk shows were swamped with irate callers angry over the Prime Minister's decision to "run
away and hide".

Liberals, meanwhile, will be holding counter-rallies to support the prorogation decision. "I believe in clarity - and the precedence is clear" said Environment Minister Stephane Dion. "The governor general must always accept the prime minister's advice to prorogue and that is what she did today."


  • But didn't you know, it's OK if you are a Conservative. You can make agreements with "socialists" and "separatists" but that's not a bad thing, it's to save the country from a tyrannical minority.

    I wonder if the people of Israel and Germany realize they don't live in democracies according to Conservatives and their supporters. Both countries are governed by coalitions negotiated not before, but AFTER their respective elections. Huh, go figure. Don't believe me, go check out:,_2006

    By Blogger Goldenhawk, at 9:27 p.m.  

  • New polls are in CG

    Breaking: New polls show huge Tory gains:
    Ipsos: CPC 46, LPC 23, NDP 13, BQ 9, GPC 8
    Ekos: CPC 44, LPC 24, NDP 15, BQ 9, GPC 8
    Compas: 72% biz leaders see worse economy under Dion coalition

    By Blogger wilson, at 9:28 p.m.  

  • Somehow while Chretien and Co. were stealing us blind thru adscam and HRDC and the golf course two step the Liberals lost their minds. They lost the ability to separate themselves from the country and vice versa.

    They now have no freakin clue what the country is thinking and are so focused on themselves they've lost the electorate.

    The Dion mistake, the Green Shift disaster, the coalition cock up...Way to misread the public's opinion once again folks.

    Majority government with Harper as PM before summer.

    thanks libs, but good riddance to a seriously messed up group.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:47 p.m.  

  • Hi Cg
    Thank you for this wonderful piece of satire. I needed that.

    The tragedy here is that Wilson's poll data is a refection of constitutional illiteracy as bemoaned by Travers in the Star today. At the risk of a rant here...much of the problem lies at the feet / mouth of the media who instead of educating the masses broaaaaaaacast randomly selected blogs or haphazzard person-on-the-street interviews.
    Oh and by the way Canadians do not want Dion as PM. Thank you Gerard

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 p.m.  

  • broaaaaaaacast=broadcast

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 p.m.  


    Precedent: an example to be followed. As in "setting a bad precedent."

    Precendence: A sequence. As in "The Head of State is first in the order of precedence."

    And now, I'm off to BCer in Toronto to explain the difference between a "tenant" and a "tenet".

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 9:55 p.m.  

  • The entire West would have exploded if that had happened, we would have needed to whisk the GG to an undisclosed location for her safety.

    But Conservative hypocrisy is nothing new, I've been suffering through it for years, to the point now where it doesn't even surprise me any more.

    By Blogger Hishighness, at 10:06 p.m.  

  • It's precedents, not precedence. They don't mean the same thing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 p.m.  

  • Anon speaks of constitutional illiteracy, which frankly I see in the Lib/NDP critics of Jean's decision. Jean did precisely what she should have done, as per constitutional convention. Harper had the confidence of the House, as per the last vote of confidence (IIRC, 8 days ago on the Throne Speech). It would have overthrown 150 years of precedent for Jean to have disregarded the advice of the Prime Minister, in the belief that he *might* lose a future vote of confidence. Not only did Jean make the right decision, but it was the only decision that was in accordance with constitutional convention. What we have had and have is a political crisis, but only a refusal by Jean to grant Harper's request would have elevated the situation to a constitutional crisis.

    That does not, BTW, absolve Harper of his responsibility for this situation. As a Conservative supporter, the last week has been disheartening. I completely agree with the idea of making the Conservative party into the 'National Governing Party' at the expense of the Liberals, but I think Harper would be well-advised if he is still the best person to accomplish this goal, considering the extent of the damage to his reputation over the past week.

    By Blogger Wesley Ferris, at 10:12 p.m.  

  • Argh, should read 'well-advised to reflect whether he is still the best person . . .'

    By Blogger Wesley Ferris, at 10:13 p.m.  

  • You seem to forget May, 2005.

    When Martin's government formally lost the confidence of the House. (* According to the formal authority on such matters.)

    And Martin ignored the non-confidence, and deferred Opposition Days to prevent the Opposition from introducing any Motions of Non-Confidence.

    Many still feel that he bribed a sitting MP to cross the floor into a cabinet posting in order to re-gain the confidence of the House, although I am not aware of any public proof of any such allegation. (I just find it impossible to believe that Martin only came up with the idea of putting that individual into cabinet, displacing one of his own Liberal MPs, after the announcement had been made public about that individual crossing the floor.)

    Was that the memory you intended to evoke? Oddly, at the very time while Martin was playing those games, I saw Bob Rae sitting on a patio in downtown Ottawa eating his dinner, a block from Parliament Hill (not treating the wait staff particularly well, from all reports, but that's not relevant here). Was he learning from the Master?

    By Blogger Paul, at 10:18 p.m.  

  • "Let me be perfectly clear - this government is fundamentally committed to fulfilling blah blah blah..."

    Absolutely priceless. This is precisely what he would have said. Thanks for reminding me of the monopoly that man had taken out on the word "clear" and all of its derivative phrases; it makes me realize how happy I am that I don't have to listen to him anymore if for no other reason than his utter and complete thrashing of this once-innocent word.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 p.m.  

  • Harper would have gotten a majority?

    Add in the RCMP letter on top of a hypothethical prorogation, and Harper might not have been keep to a minority.

    Prorogation has damaged Harper, but he is still strong only because Dion is exceptionally weak, and the Liberals are exceptionally weak also, since they can't convince Dion to leave.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 10:19 p.m.  

  • Big difference:

    Martin had already lost a confidence vote and ignored it for a week. On the other hand, Harper had a very fresh and recent confidence vote. It seemed likely that he might lose one on the 8th, but the best evidence the GG had today was the fresh positive confidence vote last week--after the FU had been released, BTW.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:21 p.m.  

  • Proroguing would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than the Harcourt Budget.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:33 p.m.  

  • Nice press release. If the positions were reversed, Harper's head would have exploded!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 p.m.  

  • ' constitutional illiteracy '
    vs. sense of fair play.
    Canadians picked fair play.

    Cons won fair and square,
    and then a trio of losers gang up and steal the trophy.

    Just because you had the constitutional right (from some ancient precedent or the 12 'experts' the media dragged out),
    didn't make it right.

    You Liberals have lost touch with us commoners.

    By Blogger wilson, at 10:53 p.m.  

  • Uh, that's pretty good CG, and I ain't generally a fan of you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 p.m.  

  • Don't you know that to a Conservative, a 'separatist' is BAD! (unless they happen to be a Western Separatist ... that's different!)

    By Blogger leftdog, at 10:54 p.m.  

  • Left-dog doesnt understand territory, and the fact Quebec is a welfare case of Canada's.

    We lose Quebec and we become a whole country without the distractions. Its time. Its inevitable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 p.m.  

  • What If History
    In an explosive development leading up to Thursday's dramatic Liberal MP Belinda Stronach has crossed the floor to join the Conservative Party as the new Human Resources Development Minister. The stunning move could be a blow to the Libs' hopes of defeating the government Thursday and triggering a federal election...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 a.m.  

  • This is quite funny and an interesting perspective on what's just happened, except this is missing the one argument Harper would have used if Martin had prorogued... Harper would have accused Jean of being a Liberal because she was chosen by Martin and because, well, she didn't give Harper what he wanted... (just like the Senate, and the Civil Service, and the Judiciary, and...).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 a.m.  

  • Paul and Van Centre are right.

    This "What If" History is not much different than real history.

    Martin DID continue to govern without the confidence of the House.
    Martin DID resort to unethical means (bribing Stronach) to continue to govern without the confidence of the House.

    While the end result was the same, some might argue that your "What If" version of history would actually have been morally superior than what Martin actually did.

    (Not me, mind you. I consider Martin and Harper equally immoral in his matter).

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:26 a.m.  

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