Harper questions right of opposition parties

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oneh2obabe
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Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by oneh2obabe »

to form government.

Bruce Campion-Smith
Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA — Stephen Harper is challenging a key element of Canada’s parliamentary democracy, saying the ability of the opposition parties to defeat his minority government and be asked to govern themselves is open to “debate.”

In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, Harper refused to concede that the opposition parties have the constitutional right to form government after the May 2 vote if they can win backing of most MPs in the House of Commons.

At first, he dismissed the question as a “constitutional theoretical discussion.”

But asked whether the opposition parties would have the “right” to form government, Harper said “that’s a question, a debate of constitutional law.

“My view is that the people of Canada expect the party that wins the election to govern the country ... anything else, the public will not buy,” he Peter Mansbridge.

Harper also said that if his party comes in second in the election, he would not form government — even if asked by the governor general in the event the front-runner failed to win the confidence of the Commons.

“If the other guys win, they get a shot at government and I don’t think you challenge that unless you are prepared to go back to the people,” he said.

“We’ll be into another election before too long. That’s why I think need a majority mandate. I think this has gone on long enough.”

Parliamentary expert Ned Franks dismissed Harper’s comments as “constitutional nonsense.”

“There’s only one requirement for being the government and that is you must enjoy the confidence of the House of Commons,” said Franks, professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

“It’s not a constitutional debate. Constitutionally, there’s absolutely no question. There are ample precedents both in Canada and abroad to support it.”

Franks accused the Conservative leader of trying to rewrite the Constitution for his own end.

“He’s trying to change not just the Constitution in terms of what confidence means, he’s also trying to change it in terms of how governments are formed,” Franks said.

“What he’s trying to do is elevate expediency into a constitutional principle.”

In a convention suggested by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, the defeat of a minority government within six months of an election should not automatically trigger a return to the polls. Instead, the governor general could ask one of the other parties if they can hold the confidence of the Commons and form government.

Harper has campaigned hard on the notion that unless he wins a majority, the opposition parties will defeat his Conservatives and take power themselves, a theme he talked up Thursday.

“Either we’ll have a Conservative majority or there will be a minority Parliament where the other guys will have a majority and they will act on that majority,” he said in the CBC interview.

“I think it’s important the people of Canada understand these are the choices because I do think most Canadians would still be very surprised if they elected a Conservative minority and found out they had some completely different kind of government,” Harper said.
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daria
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by daria »

Thanks for posting this! It's important that people understand that coalitions are not illegal in a parliamentary democracy (despite what Harper would have people believe).
Don't take my silence to mean I've agreed with you; I easily could've just lost interest in explaining how wrong you are.
rmshort
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by rmshort »

Perhaps he could prorogue Parliament again till he gets his way?
Third times pays for all after all.
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daria
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by daria »

Don't give him any ideas! I think Harper would have no problem proroguing Parliament again.
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The Green Barbarian
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by The Green Barbarian »

why does the word "prorogue" make me hungry? :)

I think two things are important:

1. That it is not illegal or unconstitutional for parties to band together to form a majority coalition
2. How freaking scary a Bloc-head/Liebral/New Dumb coalition would truly be
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NAB
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by NAB »

The Green Barbarian wrote:why does the word "prorogue" make me hungry? :)

I think two things are important:

1. That it is not illegal or unconstitutional for parties to band together to form a majority coalition
2. How freaking scary a Bloc-head/Liebral/New Dumb coalition would truly be


Ya. It's not a matter of whether it is legal or constitutional or not, but what happens to us all (and our kids and grandkids) if they get away with such coalition *bleep*.

Nab
"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." - Lao-Tzu
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UnknownResident
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by UnknownResident »

NAB wrote:
The Green Barbarian wrote:why does the word "prorogue" make me hungry? :)

I think two things are important:

1. That it is not illegal or unconstitutional for parties to band together to form a majority coalition
2. How freaking scary a Bloc-head/Liebral/New Dumb coalition would truly be


Ya. It's not a matter of whether it is legal or constitutional or not, but what happens to us all (and our kids and grandkids) if they get away with such coalition *bleep*.

Nab



Well it's not so great this time for Mr Harper, but he sure liked the idea when Martin was in power. Hypocrisy at it's finest.
NAB
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by NAB »

UnknownResident wrote:
NAB wrote:
The Green Barbarian wrote:why does the word "prorogue" make me hungry? :)

I think two things are important:

1. That it is not illegal or unconstitutional for parties to band together to form a majority coalition
2. How freaking scary a Bloc-head/Liebral/New Dumb coalition would truly be


Ya. It's not a matter of whether it is legal or constitutional or not, but what happens to us all (and our kids and grandkids) if they get away with such coalition *bleep*.

Nab



Well it's not so great this time for Mr Harper, but he sure liked the idea when Martin was in power. Hypocrisy at it's finest.


Hmmmm. Surely you are not trying to keep the idea alive that Harper in any way entered, or planned to enter, a formal coalition with anyone are ya Unknown? Dion and Layton are the only ones in recent history who tried that. And look where Dion is now. Layton may be wise to consider that next time, since he is the most vulnerable to anything that irritates the voters. After his recent showing and gains, hopefully he won't respond by doing something silly that shoots himself and the NDP in the foot once more.

Nab
"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." - Lao-Tzu
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UnknownResident
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by UnknownResident »

NAB wrote:
Hmmmm. Surely you are not trying to keep the idea alive that Harper in any way entered, or planned to enter, a formal coalition with anyone are ya Unknown?

Nab


You can try and rewrite history, or maybe you're blind to the truth. Mr.Harper had a deal where he wrote a letter to the GG saying he is willing to take over parliament, with the support of the Bloc (and probably the NDP). Harper and Duceppe both signed the deal, and now he's saying he didn't. It's funny at the time there was no question that's what he was doing, and now that he doesn't want it to happen to him it's such a bad thing, unconstitutional no less! Sorry Harper, it's constitutional and the majority of Canadians don't want to see you in power, so go ahead and try this silly scare tactic that you need a majority, anyone with a head on their shoulders can see through it.
NAB
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by NAB »

UnknownResident wrote:
NAB wrote:
Hmmmm. Surely you are not trying to keep the idea alive that Harper in any way entered, or planned to enter, a formal coalition with anyone are ya Unknown?

Nab


You can try and rewrite history, or maybe you're blind to the truth. Mr.Harper had a deal where he wrote a letter to the GG saying he is willing to take over parliament, with the support of the Bloc (and probably the NDP). Harper and Duceppe both signed the deal, and now he's saying he didn't. It's funny at the time there was no question that's what he was doing, and now that he doesn't want it to happen to him it's such a bad thing, unconstitutional no less! Sorry Harper, it's constitutional and the majority of Canadians don't want to see you in power, so go ahead and try this silly scare tactic that you need a majority, anyone with a head on their shoulders can see through it.


LOL, no re-writing of history here, at least not by me. This item has already been discussed in these threads somewhere, perhaps more than once before. The text of that letter to the GG is even around here somewhere, and of course Harper was suggesting the GG consider him as an alternate to form a government instead of having an election if the Martin government fell. No secrets or startling revelations there.

The point however is is that Harper never signed a "deal" between his party and another party to enter into a governing coalition (as you seem to be suggesting he did) if called on by the GG like Layton and Dion did. Big difference IMO. And I rather doubt Ignatieff would now either based on his strong campaign assertions otherwise. But would I trust him not to break his word? No freakin way LOL :-) He's a politician, and so is Layton. But so far Layton seems to be squeeky clean related to such a coalition suggestion - but ya never know what any of them would do when the time came, or what kind of Agenda they would agree on. I do believe however that Duceppe would never enter into a formal agreement on a coalition with anyone. He didn't with Layton and Dion (just agreed to work with them to bring the Harper government down and replace him, as they didn't have enough seats to do it themselves), so that sorta set a precedent as to where he is coming from. Right now he is more concerned about becoming irrelevant in this election anyway, and as recently as this morning his position is not about defeating Harper any more, but rather trying to hold him to another minority so he can be defeated in parliament once more.

Crazy bunch of clowns seemingly could care less about what is best for Canada, just what is best for themselves.

Nab
"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." - Lao-Tzu
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Bagotricks
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Re: Harper questions right of opposition parties

Post by Bagotricks »

NAB wrote:
Crazy bunch of clowns seemingly could care less about what is best for Canada, just what is best for themselves.



Right, and the Harper majority is "what's best for Canada"?

If Harper cant play nice with the other kids - he can go home and the kids can continue on with the game. He can pout at home and write a book about it.

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