Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Calm heads on Canadian constitution

Matthew Shugart, an American academic who runs Fruits and Votes, a blog on electoral systems and fruit growing (!), has taken brief note of the Canadian events, and several of his readers have responded in detail. The discussion seems the calmest and most rational I've seen almost anywhere, with significant observations from knowledgeable Brits and Australasians.

The point that comes up several times is one that is hardly ever raised in Canada, one that we badly need to be reminded of. In a parliamentary democracy, it is not the duty of the Governor General to make decisions about how the country should run. It is her job to guide parliament into making such decisions for her. If we kept that point more clearly in front of us and indulged in less micro-analysis about under what precedents she should make such-and-such decisions, we would be better off.
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