Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ceci n'est pas une crise

I've appreciated all the emails and online petitions asking me to tell the governor general and/or my MP that they must (or must not) do so-and-so in the present crisis.

But this is not a crisis.

This is parliamentary democracy working itself out.

If the government of the day cannot muster majority support in the Commons and the Commons decides to give majority support to some other group, well, the government of the day changes. Parliament actually will decide, and this is a good thing.

I don't think the governor general's role here is particularly vexed or complicated. The governor general does not take independent measures. She does not rule. She takes the advice of her legitimate advisors given to her by the elected representatives of the people. The only question she needs to put to her advisor the prime minister is that he be prepared to demonstrate that he is indeed entitled to be her advisor, that is, that he retains the confidence of the majority of the Commons and that it has not decided to choose other advisors for her.

The situation may be exciting. It may be stressful. It is certainly moving fast. But there is no crisis in our institutions. Parliamentary democracy actually works rather well when we let it.
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