Da Legal Stuff...

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Canada’s constitutional coup: A warning to the working class

The following contains excerpts from an article that appeared on the web site "International" today and is worth a read.

It outlines the facts about what happened at the hand of the Governor General on Thursday, the postition taken by the governing Conservative party and why the combination of the two are so destructive and undemocratic.

The article presents the facts in such a way that even devout partisans of all political stripes should be able to understand the true implications of the recent events in Ottawa.

In a flagrant attack on parliamentary norms and democratic rights, Canada's minority Conservative government, in conjunction with the unelected governor-general, has shut down the country's national parliament in order to prevent the opposition parties from ousting the government in a non-confidence vote scheduled for Monday.

Never before in Canada or, for that matter, any other country that follows the British parliamentary pattern, has a government prorogued parliament for the express purpose of avoiding a non-confidence vote.

Two further facts underline the arbitrary and undemocratic character of Governor-General Michaëlle Jean's decision to grant Prime Minster Stephen Harper his request that parliament be suspended until January 26:

* In an election less than eight weeks ago, Canadians once again denied the Conservatives a parliamentary majority, giving the three opposition parties 163 of the 308 House of Commons seats and well over half their votes. A result that should have ensured the majority of opposition members were able to place limitations and controls on the actions of a minority government.

* To demonstrate that the Conservatives had lost parliament's "confidence," and in accordance with long-established constitutional practice, the three opposition parties had officially informed the governor-general earlier this week that they were committed to defeating the government at the earliest opportunity and supporting an opposition coalition government for at least 18 months.

The suspension of parliament and of the MPs' right to defeat and replace the sitting government strikes at the most fundamental democratic right—the right of the people to choose their own government.

Turning reality on its head, the Conservatives, with the support of much of the media, have mounted a vitriolic and reactionary campaign, terming the opposition's attempt to bring to power an alternate government "illegal" and branding it an illegitimate attempt to overturn the results of the October 14 election.

They have labeled the proposed Liberal-NDP government a "separatist coalition," because the pro-Quebec independence Bloc Québécois, which has previously provided the Conservatives with their margin of victory in confidence votes, is backing it.

"That is as close to treason and sedition as I can imagine," declared Conservative MP Bob Dechert.

Even sections of the corporate media that favor the suspension of parliament concede that Harper and the Conservatives have openly incited anti-Quebec chauvinism.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Harper vowed to "use every legal means" at his disposal to remain in power.

Given that he has declared the opposition's attempt to form an alternate government a threat to Canada's "national unity" and "democracy," and has now shut down parliament, this vow raises the question as to how far he and his fellow Conservatives are prepared to go in subverting parliamentary and democratic procedures.


Anonymous said...

Just a few months ago we had an election forced upon us for no other reason than Stephen Harper wanted to try to win a majority government before the economic woes of Canada mounted too high.

He was permitted to pull this off with the agreement of the Governor General in spite of breaking his own fixed date election law which was passed in the House of Parliament the GG is sworn to protect.

Now, Stephen Harper has denied the House of Commons the right to vote him out of office on a non-confidence motion and is clinging on to power once again with the assistance of the Governor General.

This is an all out theft of democracy in Canada perpetrated by an egotistical and manipulative Prime Minister with the Governor General's approval.

It's time the office of the GG was closed permanently.

Anonymous said...

"on the web site "International" today and is worth a read."

could you please supply a URL to this please Myles.Thank-you.:)


Patriot said...

Sorry Calvin, I just found it through a searh of google looking for GG type stuff but I don't know the link and just tried to get to it again but can't find it (too many GG things out there today I guess).