Harper, the crude and opportunistic manipulator that he is, thinks that by meeting with the GG at the very last possible moment, namely the day before the by-elections are being voted on, that he can force her hand.
For that reason alone she should tell him to get stuffed.
Simple solution: Deny the general election. Postpone the by-election vote for a week, and before Parliament resumes. Democracy will be respected. Haiti won’t be replicated
Governor-General should say no to PM, experts say
Election Call; Jean would be seen as backing violation of law
Mike Blanchfield, Canwest News Service Published: Saturday, September 06, 2008
Tomorrow Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to ask Governor-General Michaelle Jean to dissolve Parliament.Pat McGrath, Canwest File PhotoTomorrow Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to ask Governor-General Michaelle Jean to dissolve Parliament.
OTTAWA - Governor-General Michaelle Jean should consider rejecting Stephen Harper's request to dissolve Parliament and call a federal election because he is violating his own fixed-election date law, a constitutional expert and a public policy watchdog say.
"If she goes along with him, she, in a sense, is supporting his violation of the law," said Michael Behiels, a constitutional political historian at the University of Ottawa. "You're putting the Governor-General into a situation that you should never put the Governor-General in."
Duff Conacher, head of the citizen advocacy group Democracy
Watch, said Mr. Harper "has absolutely no evidence" to present to Ms. Jean that the Commons lacks confidence in the current government and should be dissolved.
"She should say, 'Demonstrate that the House of Commons doesn't have confidence in the Conservative government.' The Governor-General should just turn the Prime Minister back and say, 'No, I'm sorry, open the House and show.'"
Because the Conservatives have not lost a confidence vote, Mr. Behiels and Mr. Conacher argue Mr. Harper is violating his new fixed-election law, passed in May, 2006. The law was designed to prevent what they say Mr. Harper is now doing: using his position as Prime Minister to arbitrarily call an election at the most strategically advantageous time.
Others disagree, saying the new law gives Mr. Harper enough legal leeway to visit Rideau Hall tomorrow to seek the end of Canada's 39th Parliament, one of the longest running minority governments at two years and seven months.
Bill C-16, which amended the Elections Act, set October, 2009, as the next federal election date. But it does contain a clause that gives the Governor-General the right to dissolve Parliament if the government does not retain its confidence.
Jack Granatstein, York University's professor emeritus of history, said Mr. Harper may be violating the spirit of his fixed-date law, but not the letter of it.
"The principle of a fixed election date is that the government does not use its position ... to tip the scales in its favour. It's clear Harper is trying to do that," he explains.
"On the other hand, a minority Parliament usually doesn't last anywhere near as long as ours."
With the passage of C-16, Mr. Behiels and Mr. Conacher say Mr. Harper is now on the wrong side of the law. They say the recent meetings he held with opposition leaders, which led him to conclude Parliament was dysfunctional, simply do not meet the constitutional test for calling an election.
"He tried to embarrass them, humiliate them. How would she [Ms. Jean] know they're not willing to co-operate? Why should she take his word for it?" Mr. Behiels asked.
"He's showing he's manipulative, that he thinks he's above the law."
Mr. Conacher says Mr. Harper's gamble violates the spirit of the law, along with his broader promises to make government more accountable and transparent.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 9:06 AM