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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Harper should resign and let Dion take power

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has lost the confidence of the House (through his own stupidity) and will be defeated next week.

He could prorogue Parliament, but this would clearly be an abuse of his prerogative. It would also require the assent of the Governor-General.

He could ask the Governor-General to dissolve the House and call an election. But this would put the Crown in a difficult spot as there is precedent (in both King-Byng and in Ontario in 1985) for it to allow the opposition parties to try and form a government.

Or he could offer the Governor-General his resignation and let Dion take power.

I recommend that Harper resign. It would save the country a messy constitutional conflict, with the Crown having to choose between a rock and a hard place. And it would make him look statesmanlike (for once).

It would also have one additional benefit: Dion's shaky coalition of separatists, socialists and opportunists is unlikely to be stable. If they lose a confidence vote, there will be an election in which the Tories can skewer the Liberals for getting into bed with the Bloc and the Dippers.

I realize Harper is unlikely to take the high road. But as he weighs his options he should remember that King, having lost power to Meighen, took his seat on the opposition benches, and then won the ensuing election when Meighen's coalition with the Progressives collapsed.

One more thing - those Tories warning of a coup need to take a valium. It's perfectly constitutional under our parliamentary system for the government to fall without an election.

Posted by Craig Yirush on December 2, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink

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Comments

The Three Stooges, Duceppe, Layton and Dion, grabbing power just when Canadians think they might have avoided the worst affects of the global financial crisis. These three idiots want to borrow billions and tie ourselves to other economic sinking ships. Foolish.

Posted by: Philanthropist | 2008-12-02 4:03:55 AM


Aw BS to the resigning.

1) Prorogue.
2) Recall and present a REAL Budget.
3) Budget fails, call an election.

Don't you know or understand the difference between a real Budget and a simple piece of paper called an 'economic update' which will probably change before the real Budget is actually presented in Parliament?

These coalition guys are morons and are playing fast and loose with democracy.
Understand that Quebec, which would have a veto on all govt actions, gets a full 25% of their provincial govt revenue from federal govt transfers. ie $16 billion out of $48 billion of their provincial revenue budget.
And you want to hand more federal govt power over to these freeloaders?

If the coalition guys want to play games, then PM Harper should lay it out.
'You want power that badly, you will only get it by going to the people in another election.'

It would be a shameful precedent if any PM (not just Harper) ever gave up power to a flimsy excuse like these guys are trying to use to get it.

And besides, another election would break the Liberal party financially once and for all for years to come. What a bonus that would be.

Bring it on. The election that it is.
$300 miliion for democracy would be a cheap price to pay.
We could call it 'The $1.95 election of 2009'.

Posted by: Rocky Thompson | 2008-12-02 6:24:08 AM


So being legal makes it right? And I thought this site was becoming too libertarian.

Posted by: Ray K. | 2008-12-02 6:35:03 AM


Being legal doesn't make it right to have a F*&$#@! separatist BQ holding Canada to ransom !

BTW. Even though the Governor General (who is currently flitting with elites in Europe since 24 Nov) is a CBC retread , whose husband has a checkered past regarding separatism , she is not totally stupid.

The GG will wish to preserve her own elite stature and if she caves to the 3-Stooges to form a coalition propped up by the BQ , she will instantly be tarnished with the pro-separatist label.

No ... self preservation will force the GG to call an election if the Tories fall.

Posted by: Brian | 2008-12-02 7:00:52 AM


Good idea. Let them take the wheel of a rudderless ship. Let the American media make the separatist connection. Let the autoworkers find out all those promises mean nothing when Canadian factories are closed to save US jobs.

The stimulus package is going to give my bank account a hit. I thought I was smart keeping my assets in cash, now inflation is going to wipe out some of the value.

One question about a deficit budget, will the government have trouble obtaining loans in this global situation? At what point do countries start experiencing the same credit problems as regular folks?

Posted by: dp | 2008-12-02 7:30:27 AM


One question about a deficit budget, will the government have trouble obtaining loans in this global situation? At what point do countries start experiencing the same credit problems as regular folks?
Posted by: dp | 2-Dec-08 7:30:27 AM

If governments borrow enough money it will push interest rates up and up as borrowers compete to get the loans. Government always has the option of simply printing more money, which runs the risk of inflation, but ultimately government will get the money either way.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-02 7:46:18 AM


Stig-The US is busy printing more money, so I suspect we might see the same here. I'm a lot more concerned about inflation than high interest rates. Either tactic is going to result in higher taxes.

How long before we see the loonie lose a lot more ground to the greenback? Oil prices are not going back up for at least a year. Petro dollars are in for a rough ride. If I were Harper, I'd toss Dion the keys like they were red hot.

Posted by: dp | 2008-12-02 8:03:44 AM


The constitutional...okayness, of this whole thing is a gray area. What makes it coup like is the plotting. Anyone with a set of eyes and ears know that the plan was not whipped up over the weekend, they were waiting for an oppurtunity to undermine the government. If the opposition put half the effort of this scheme into cooperation with the conservatives, we'd be out of the hoc by now! Is it a coup? no, but that still doesn't make it that far off. Only the loophole that allows the opposition to form a coalition makes this quasi-allowed... but that doesn't make it ehtical or right. I think I speak for many, when i say this loophole should be closed.

Posted by: Evan from the GTA | 2008-12-02 8:13:10 AM


dp: that's like a tired driver handing over the keys to a drunk driver. What Harper should do is prorogue until the new year then start fresh. By then, the coalition's true nature would be revealed. Then we can all rest easy having dodged that bullet.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-02 8:24:03 AM


Anyone with a set of eyes and ears know that the plan was not whipped up over the weekend,
Posted by: Evan from the GTA | 2-Dec-08 8:13:10 AM

No it sure wasn't. Does anyone else see Cretin's paw print on this?

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-02 8:30:47 AM


Stig-The US is busy printing more money, so I suspect we might see the same here. I'm a lot more concerned about inflation than high interest rates. Either tactic is going to result in higher taxes.
Posted by: dp | 2-Dec-08 8:03:44 AM

I'm not sure if they are doing that yet. You would need to check the money supply figures. The way the US government typically borrows is from the Treasury Dept., which issues bonds. Currently most of the money that the US government borrows originates overseas, usually from China and Japan. Without doubt interest rates will soon rise.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-02 8:32:54 AM


No it sure wasn't. Does anyone else see Cretin's paw print on this?
Posted by: JC | 2-Dec-08 8:30:47 AM

Please enlighten us all with Chretien's role in this.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-02 8:36:13 AM


Re: (through his own stupidity)

It's entirely possible Harper knew a coalition deal was in the works regardless of what he did, and the 'economic update' was designed to underline the point that these parties are forming a coalition in their own self interest rather than in the interest of Canadians.

Posted by: K Stricker | 2008-12-02 10:13:22 AM


"$300 miliion for democracy would be a cheap price to pay.
We could call it 'The $1.95 election of 2009'."

I find it striking that those complaining about the $27 million subsidies are pushing for an election that would cost ten-times as much, never mind the costs to the economy that would come from putting the government out for another two months.

Posted by: A Crocker | 2008-12-02 10:56:25 AM


Still interesting analysis from Mr. Yirush, that Harper could theoretically benefit more from being in opposition to a de-facto Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition than trying to hold onto power in a futile manner. The big problem I see with that analysis though is that the government falling would likely inflict heavy damage on Harper's political credibility within the CPC who blame him for bungling his second-term so early on.

Posted by: A Crocker | 2008-12-02 11:02:32 AM


A Crocker

Mike Duffy interviewed Lawrence Cannon this AM.
Cannon said the rumor is that the Bloc Quebecois will get 6 Senate seats.
Also said that PQ leader Marois has bragged that Duceppe squeezed another $1 bil per yr out of the Coalition for his support. That's in addition to the $16 billion Quebec already gets.
Duffy also said Eliz May will be put in the Senate.

Still think its about a measely $27 million?

Posted by: Rocky Thompson | 2008-12-02 12:10:27 PM


A Crocker

Did you get a different ballot than I did?

My ballot did not have the party name, or word 'Coalition' on it anywhere.

In a civilized democracy and honorable society, that would mean that the so-called Coalition has no mandate whatsoever to govern anybody, anywhere.

And if they had any males parts, they would be more than willing to fight an election based upon their platform.

Another election. Bring it on.

Posted by: Rocky Thompson | 2008-12-02 12:20:58 PM


It's a westminster parliament, baby, so this can really happen. There was no vote for PM, just a member of parliament. He/her keeps her job, just maybe the chairs change.
Harper brought this upon himself. The party can turf him, because he's not someone who thinks beyond his own needs, apparently, and benefit from a proroguing, or it can accept its fate. Remember, Harper was ready to dance with the Bloc on more than one occasion. He's toast and Canada's better for it.

Posted by: heatmiser | 2008-12-02 1:15:09 PM


Re: Re: (through his own stupidity)

Re: It's entirely possible Harper knew a coalition deal was in the works regardless of what he did, and the 'economic update' was designed to underline the point that these parties are forming a coalition in their own self interest rather than in the interest of Canadians.

Exactly. Its in vogue and easier than actually thinking to just go ahead and "blame" harper for this. Of course that makes no sense but i've come to expect that from some posters on this blog.

*Sigh* We all know its "legal" under parliamentary rules - that by no means makes it right or even legitimate. A gov't elected mere weeks ago with MORE seats that they previously had is being replaced by parties who lost seats in said election. Say that to yourself a few times and maybe your perspective will come back. If its not back yet, throw in the GG part.

Saying its a coup d'etat isn't saying its illegal - they are quite correct in using that term. "Coup d'etat - alteration of an existing government by a small group". How's that definition fit what is going on here?

Posted by: daryl | 2008-12-02 4:38:31 PM


Harper should resign. In fact he should have resigned yesterday: the futile effort to keep him on as Prime Minister can only damage the party. In his death throws Harper risks doing untold damage not just to his party, but to national unity, our parliamentary democracy, and the esteem of the crown. One man's ego is not worth a constitutional crisis of unequalled gravity in any mature Westminster democracy ever.

Posted by: stewacide | 2008-12-03 1:21:22 AM


Resignation would only add legitimacy to the coup that the three clowns are attempting. I thought conservatives had more spine than that. You gotta fight if you believe in something or else take your little crying towel home.

Posted by: Tony | 2008-12-03 10:44:48 AM


Tony - it's not a coup! Conservatives who use that language do not understand our parliamentary traditions (and that's not very conservative).
And Daryl - a coup usually means an illegal seizure of power.

Posted by: Craig | 2008-12-03 4:27:52 PM


For too many years, so-called conservative leaders like Clark, Davis, Mulroney, and Stansfield have given into the left(Liberals and NDP). I don't agree with Harper on everything( I'm pro-death penalty, opposed to abortion, and oppose gay marriage). However, his economic plan was the best. Lower corporate taxes, no auto bailout, maintain a balanced buget(Versus leftist $30 billion budget), limits on federal employee salary increases, and doing away with the public's subsidizing of political parties(which include subsidizing the seperatists). Also, unlike previous conservative leaders, Harper is willing to stand up and actually fight the left. The coalition will blow at least a $30 billion hole in the budget and more handouts to Quebec. Why do you think the seperatists win most federal seats but keep losing referendums? The answer is because the seperatist threat is used to subsidize a Quebec economy that is overregulated, owned by the unions, and refuses to cut wasteful government spending. Why fix yourself when you can get quick cash through fraud! Harper is right. The coalition would be a disaster! If Quebec doesn't like it than they should try leaving and see how well a pseudo-socialist economy does in the real world. Let's see how fast they would come scampering back.

Posted by: James | 2008-12-03 8:30:21 PM


Oust Harper and sens the GG packing as well. Shame, shame....we are heading down the road of dictatorship with Prime Minister Hitler...hehem...Harper!

Posted by: Micru | 2008-12-04 4:59:54 PM



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