Canada’s constitutional crisis?

Posted on November 30, 2008
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             Watching Canada’s so-called constitutional crisis from the United States is fun. To qualify my position, I am a passionate believer in Canada’s first-past-the-post Parliamentary system. That includes the Senate, which, I believe, does a fine job of providing sober second thought.

            Will a possible Liberal, NDP, coalition be a constitutional crisis? Why would it be? Wouldn’t a crisis be if the constitution were violated? How is that going to happen?

            People may be outraged if a coalition of minority parties seizes government from another minority. If called upon, Governor General, Michaelle Jean, will make the decision she is required to make by the terms of her job. I believe her job is to find someone who can form a government. If there is a coalition, that should be a relatively easy decision.

            Will it please everyone? Of course not. Does not pleasing everyone constitute a constitutional crisis? Of course not.

            Will there be political consequences to a coalition power grab? Of course.

            Frankly, although I am not a Conservative, I don’t much care for the idea of a coalition power grab. On the other hand, a significant majority of Canadians did not choose the Conservatives so they have no majority mandate. Stephen Harpher has arrogantly been acting as if he did and does. He provoked the last election and now may be hoist by his own petard.          Two, and more, can play that game.

            For years, the Liberals held majorities in Parliament because the Conservatives had split into two parties. It made the Liberals arrogant, sloppy, greedy and some even crooked.

            Now the left-of-centre Liberals and NDP may be uniting as the Progressive Conservatives and Alliance/Reform parties did.

            There is a difference, of course. The Conservatives got married and then made a baby. The Liberals and NDP are planning to have a baby without a ring.

            I love how our system works. Our governments can govern with more authority than in the more fragmented and individualized US system. Our governments can also be brought to heel at almost any time a majority of Members of Parliament wish it. In extreme cases, that could even include government party members.

            If a majority of Members of Parliament are suddenly crazed and decide David Cadogan should be President for Life, the Senate is still there to say “Wait a minute! Shouldn’t he have to retire at 75 like us?”

            No, we are not facing a constitutional crisis. We may be facing a political and regional crisis but not a constitutional crisis.

            We are seeing what a rough and tumble business democracy is as it was designed to be in a time when the alternatives were considerably rougher and often bloody.



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