Thursday, December 04, 2008

Now Here's A How-De-Do

I'm not a very political person - oh I whine and whinge at the dinner table about politics and politicians in Canada but it never goes much beyond that. I certainly don't write about them often but the past week in Canadian politics has been something else. I've watched as the Three Stooges attempt to unseat Valdemort*. And I've watched as my fellow Canadians and the press show a great deal of ignorance over how our parliamentary system works.
A Warm Welcome - Graham MacKay
Now I'm no Stanley Knowles - only another Canadian and then probably of a certain generation will understand that reference but a click on the name should explain it - but I do remember somethings from basic social studies in high school.

First: We do not elect a Prime Minister. We elect a member of parliament who represents a party. If that party gets the most votes and has the confidence of the House of Commons then the leader of that party becomes Prime Minister. No where on your ballot, if you bothered to vote, did it give you a choice for Prime Minister.

Second: It is not undemocratic for opposition parties to band together, unseat a sitting minority and form a coalition government. Canadian Parliamentary Law demands the the governing party have the confidence of the House of Commons. If they do not have that confidence they can be replaced by a coalition that does - the fact that coalitions are rarely successful is immaterial, its still allowed.

Third: We do not have to vote on it - we already did several weeks ago. That's why we elected and pay, quite handsomely I might add, Members of Parliament, to make those decisions on our behalf. If we voted on it that would be a referendum and we know what images that word conjures up.

Fourth: To the Canadian Press (CP) - the Governor-General is not the Acting-Head of State - the Governor-General is the Head of State! We are a constitutional monarchy and the Head of Government (Prime Minster) is not the same thing as the Head of State. Them being one and the same is one of the concepts of the American system.

Fourth: That's another thing, stop confusing our system with the American system - they are not the same thing. Ours follows the British model so the same rules don't apply. And no you can't vote for Obama that election is over and you're not American.

Finally: A quick Google of "Canada Parliamentary Systems" gave all sorts of results including a fairly detailed one at Wikipedia and another at Maple Leaf Web. It makes interesting reading and I highly recommend it to all the commenters out there who are interested in voicing their opinion - preferably before they put finger to keyboard.

And fianl finally: Do I have an opinion? Let's just say I don't trust Larry, Curly, Moe or Valdemort.

Social Studies lecture over, nothing further to see here. Move along please.

*That would be Stephan Dion, Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe against Stephen Harper.

Thanks to Graeme Mackay for the use of his editoral cartoon from the Hamilton Spectator - more can be found at

04 dicembere - San Giovanni Damasceno


sageweb said...

very confusing to us from the US...

Anonymous said...

This just in! At noon Prime Minister Harper held a press conference to say that the Governor General ( following a two hour conference) has given permission for him to Prorogue Parliament.

Willym said...

DF: Thanks - just delaying the inevitable.

Sling said...

So,who's the 'Monarch' of your constitutional monarchy?..
Pardon my ignorance please.

Willym said...

Sling: Not a problem, that would be Betty Windsor, Mrs E2R or as she's better known in the tabloids Queen Elizabeth. As well as her other titles she's crowned the Queen of Canada. And though I joke I'm a monarchist born and bred so I'm quite happy she's our Queen.

Bev aka Aisha said...

Do you like all Queens? And by the way, Larry, Moe and Curly are here in CSI Kabul. I met them this week. I didn't know they had clones in Canada!

SubtleKnife said...

Looks very familiar to our system, except without the GG. Our head of state of course is Queen Bea.