Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The ghost of Canada's constitutional expert speaks

If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Speak of it: stay, and speak! Stop it, Marcellus.

William Shakespeare

Of course you knew this blog, the name of which was inspired by a saying of Mackenzie-King, would be all over this.

Frances Russell has a piece, "Debunking Constitutional Fairy Tales" in the Free Press that is well worth reading.

What would the late Sen. Eugene Forsey have said about last December's parliamentary prorogation? It was a subversion of the Constitution and a flagrant contempt of Parliament.

Helen Forsey, the daughter of Canada's most respected constitutional and parliamentary authority, has answered the question parliamentary scholars have been asking one another ever since that controversial decision. She has done more. She has collected and annotated her father's published research on what she calls the "10 constitutional fairy tales" surrounding the so-called constitutional crisis and the much-reviled coalition between the Liberals and the New Democrats supported by the Bloc Quebecois

.The Governor-General doesn't come out looking too good:

The late senator would have denounced Gov. Gen. Michäelle Jean's decision to grant Prime Minister Stephen Harper a two-month parliamentary prorogation to avoid his defeat on a non-confidence motion.

A governor general "cannot allow" a prime minister to stop the House of Commons from "performing its most essential function," he wrote. To permit a prime minister to do that would be "to subvert the Constitution."

Forsey went further. For a governor-general to grant a prime minister prorogation or an election to avoid defeat makes the Crown "an accomplice in a flagrant act of contempt for Parliament." In fact, he continued, a governor general faced with such a request should "if necessary, dismiss such government."

I won't quote anymore since the entire piece should be read.  The entire essay is here.

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1 comment:

janfromthebruce said...

thank you. So we have this loser budget with a loser PM, and an official opposition who says all the right platitudes but would rather Canadians get suckered than to have done the right thing. A pox on all their houses.