A rare moment of clarity from Conservative House Leader and smearer-in-chief Peter (only Conservatives are real Canadians) Van Loan, who admitted that the Conservatives’ much ballyhooed fixed-election date legislation is a farce, and not worth the paper it was printed on:
But Mr. Van Loan has said the law does not prevent the prime minister from asking the Governor General to pull the plug.
"There is nothing in the law that takes away the Crown's traditional and usual prerogatives on this matter," he told reporters last week.
One wonders what the point of the whole exercise was then. This law will prevent a government from choosing the time of its own demise…unless it wants to choose the time of its own demise, in which case there’s nothing in the law preventing that, so just go to town. Maybe it’s only meant to bind Liberal governments?
Anyway, the Van Loan comment came in the context of a larger story, about Conservative confidence landmine #296, the unconstitutional force the Senate to pass the crime bill motion. Apperantly, reports CanWest, Harper will go to the Governor-General, even if the HoC passes his little motion, if the Senate still doesn’t pass his crime bill by his own arbitrary deadline.
If the Commons passes the motion and the Senate does not comply, the prime minister could ask Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean to dissolve Parliament, said a Harper spokeswoman.
"It's a confidence motion, so that's still an option," said Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, the prime minister's press secretary.
This is an issue because Harper’s original motion, as previously discussed, would have no binding impact on the Senate. Even if passed, the Senate could just say bite me Steve, and there’d be nothing he could do about it.
So now, The Automaton is saying even if his confidence motion passes, if the Senate doesn’t play ball he’ll go to the GG anyway. Yeah, sorry Steve, that won’t work. And you don’t need much more than high school social studies to figure out why.
When you go to the GG and ask her to dissolve Parliament, it’s because you’ve lost the confidence of the House of Commons. But in his scenario, he wouldn’t have lost the confidence of the HoC. The confidence motion, calling on the Senate to pass the crime bill, would have been passed by the HoC.
So I don’t see how, under that scenario, the GG could possibly grant an election. Any constitutional experts out there have any idea? It seems likely she’d say no, you haven’t proven you’ve lost the confidence of the HOUSE, go and prove it before you come and bother me again during tea time.
Not only does Van Loan’s threat make a mockery of his government’s own fixed election date legislation, it also flies in the face of his own leader’s call in 2004 for clear confidence motions with limited scope.
The Automaton is starting to look more and more like The Cry Baby, stomping his feet and huffing and puffing when he doesn’t get what he wants.
Thinking about it, this is probably all about posturing and positioning. It seems likely now the Liberals will bring the government down on the budget. The budget will be tabled in the HoC Feb. 26th, we learned today. Will the first budget confidence vote, on the BQ amendment, be that week, before March 1st? I don't recall how the schedule usually works.
But it could be Harper would rather fall on the a crime question then on the budget, and that could be why Van Loan is talking all this unconstitutional smack today, they might want to bring themselves down on the crime question before the budget can come to a vote. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers