Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crisis no crisis in BC

Lorne Sossin makes sensible observations on the political crisis in British Columbia -- mainly by noting that it is not really a crisis at all. Yeah, there will be some uncertainty for a while, but the procedures of parliamentary democracy are perfectly capable of dealing with a situation where there may be no clear majority government and therefore no autocratic leader to make things simple and clear for commentators.

I particularly admired Sossin's point on parliamentary conventions:
Some have claimed there is a rule barring modern day Speakers from using their tie-breaking vote to pass a new law. But no such rule exists. ...
Parliamentary conventions form out of practice — and reflect a principled pragmatism. They are not written in stone and should not be treated as if they were. Conventions guide the daily work of lawmaking, but only those which continue to adapt to changing circumstances remain relevant. They are not tailored for every situation, nor should they become roadblocks to the will of the legislature.
Some of the political scientists who equate parliamentary conventions with constitutional requirements -- that they alone get to define -- should read and ponder. A convention is a practice that helps a legislature function smoothly -- and is accepted by the members of the legislature.
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