04 December 2008

GG's decision demonstrates irrelevance of position

If the Governor General is going to take the counsel of Canada's Prime Minister, regardless of whether or not s/he has the confidence of the House, then what's the position of Governor General for?

I mean the question seriously.

Always did wonder about the point of having a GG, but thought that the goings-on recently might serve to convince me the GG was worth keeping around. Well, today convinced me otherwise.

Am not entirely disheartened by a few weeks' break. Had the coalition government been accepted, then things are unlikely to have been any less raucous. The Cons, no doubt, would have done everything in their power - including walking out - to make business unworkable for the coalition.

However, I am deeply disturbed by what looks like an unconditional prorogation. Don't imagine we'll ever know, unless Jean writes her memoirs, if there were conditions - supposing she'd reveal them, if there were. Certainly Harper's not going to talk. He'll want to give the impression he got everything he asked for.

Assuming the prorogation had no conditions placed on it, then Michaƫlle Jean has just demonstrated, to me at least, the irrelevance of the position. She has demonstrated that Canada's Governor General is no more than an extremely costly, in more ways than one, rubber stamp.

Allan Tupper, political scientist at UBC, wasn’t surprised by Jean’s decision, but he also wonders whether it is healthy for Canadian democracy and the future of her office.

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