"changing how this country is governed"

White Rock B.C. - Thursday, June 15, 2006 - by: Brian Marlatt
Stephen Harper's progress toward "changing how this country is governed" during his first American-style 100 days, or daily outrage, calls into question his commitment to Canadian practices and constitutional "peace, order and good government."

The independence of the judiciary, the role of the senate as a revising chamber and institutional memory, the place of the provinces within Canada, and now even the constitutional principle of responsible government are being incrementally called into question by this anything but conservative Americanizing government. The proposal for fixed-date elections makes the point well.

In fixed-date regimes the requirement to maintain the confidence of the House becomes a quaint insignificance, the government is unaccountable during most of its mandate, the power of the prime minister and PMO is correspondingly increased dangerously, the last year of a fixed year mandate becomes a full year election (as we have seen in BC), and the royal prerogative, which is the chief constitutional defence of the principle of responsible government, is violated. And further, the right of the people to be consulted in a general election on their confidence in the government of the day to address matters of national importance unforeseen at the last election is lost while the prospect of divisive referenda is raised. The weaknesses of the American system are replicated.

In the Westminister model of parliamentary democracy prime ministers and the government must suffer the sometimes withering criticism of all sides of the House and may fall if the confidence of the House is lost. Not so in fixed date regimes which can dismiss questions of confidence by mid-term as mere political posturing.

What matters is not the perceived electoral advantage or disadvantage in calling or forcing an election, but the commitment of both the government and the opposition to "peace, order, and good government" and thence to serve the people rather than mere partisan interest.


Brian Marlatt



Return to Ensign

This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004