Governor-General

In this thread, I asked why the Canadian Governor-General, Michaëlle Jean, decided to grant Stephen Harper’s egregious request for the prorogation of parliament. I mean, she could have said no.

Spaz responded to my question, saying:

As for why, maybe she felt that given the economic situation that a newly elected government who faught [sic] an election in which the voters knew the economic climate, should at least be allowed to table a budget. And if it falls then, then it falls. Maybe we’ll find out in her memoirs one day.

But…the other day I was explaining the whole Governor-General thing to a co-worker and told her about how the GG has the power to veto legislation but never uses it. I’m now wondering whether the prorogation deal is a similar sort of phenomenon, that is to say, the GG could deny a Prime Minister’s request, but dare not deny it, lest she seem to be overriding the will of the people as expressed in the actions of the PM.

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4 Responses to Governor-General

  1. Chris says:

    Was the decision really so egregious? The coalition would have put an incredibly unpopular figure – Dion – in charge of the country not long after his own party decided to dump him. And they had recently decided to dump him because he was a big part of the fact that the liberals got beaten badly in the election. Indeed, Dion just recently agreed to leave even more quickly than he had previously intended. So, a week or two after the coalition proposed to Canadians that Dion should be Prime Minister, his own party proposed to Dion that he wasn’t even worthy as an interim leader for the Liberal party. Meanwhile, Harper’s approval ratings aren’t that bad, and the election took place only very recently.

    In her shoes, then, I might well have done the same thing. Not that Harper doesn’t suck, of course.

  2. upyernoz says:

    just to add to what chris said above, it seems to me that no matter what the GG did it could be spun as doing the “will of the people.” a majority of canadians did not vote for harper’s party, they just got a plurality. and in a parliamentary system, there’s nothing wrong with the various parties cobbling together whatever coalition they can manage. on the other hand, liberals lost seats in the last election, so you can just as easily argue the will of the people would be to keep him out.

    i personally think the prorogation thing was pretty nasty (i certainly would not have done the same thing as her if i were GG), but i’m a united statesian, so what do i know?

  3. alif sikkiin says:

    I said that Harper’s request was egregious. I found the GG’s assent merely confusing.

    But whoa, holy ignorance on my part. I didn’t know this:

    The coalition would have put an incredibly unpopular figure – Dion – in charge of the country not long after his own party decided to dump him.

    No more commenting on Canadian politics for me.

  4. Chris says:

    I said that Harper’s request was egregious. I found the GG’s assent merely confusing.

    I need to learn to read more carefully.

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