"Mr. Clark was defeated on a budget seven months after the election that brought his Tories to power. He asked Edward Schreyer, then the Governor-General, for a dissolution of Parliament. Mr. Schreyer, quite properly and according to constitutional convention, asked the Liberals, under Pierre Trudeau, whether they could govern with a working majority in the House of Commons."
I don't agree with many of the points in the Globe editorial (did they forget they endorsed Stephane Dion for Liberal leader originally?), but I assume they have their facts straight on what happened in 1979. At that time, Joe Clark had a minority with a slightly greater percentage of seats in the House than Stephen Harper currently does. 7 months, not 7 weeks had passed since the election. And there was no formal deal between opposition parties. Yet even considering all that Shreyer denied Clark's request for dissolution and asked the leader of the official opposition if he could form a government. Trudeau refused and that was his right, but the precedent in the upcoming case is obviously clear, Stephane Dion must be given the opportunity to demonstrate he can govern with majority support in the House of Commons.
Governor General Jean's decision should never rest on a PR war, polls, rallies, petitions or any other kind of public display. Her decision should rest solely on her constitutional responsibilities and ample precedents, not just from 1979 in our system but dozens of precedents from other countries that also carry our system. If Conservatives can't accept the Westminister Parliamentary model we have and the role of the Governor General perhaps they should advocate constitutional change, but you can't do an end run around our constitution just because you don't like the result. The formation of coalitions is common enough with this system (just take a look at other countries that have it and whose government have been managed well) and the ONLY reason the Conservatives oppose it this time is because they will lose power.
They were fine with the Governor General handing over power to Stephen Harper without an election in 2004, why the problem now?
They were fine with the "separatists" being the ONLY party to prop them up on confidence votes for almost the first full TWO YEARS of their last government, why the problem now?
I expect no response from a single Blogging Tory.
This is no undemocratic power grab. Harper has lost the right to govern, it's nobody's fault but his own (even many Conservatives admit this) and there is a coalition waiting in place to govern better and more in the interests of all Canadians. I hope Harper just accepts his fate, doesn't run, and the Governor General respects precedent and allows a new government to assume power. Not only is it the right thing to do constitutionally, it's what's best for Canada and Parliament during these troubled times as well.
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