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4 Responses to Contact

  1. A Reader from Israel says:

    What with your defense of the traditional uncodified Westminster system, i’m surprised you did nothing about the other end of the spectrum: Namely, Israel’s hyper-codified-and-streamlined-not-Westminster-anymore system. To demonstrate:

    1) The dissolution of parliament is legally initiated by the Prime Minister and approved by the otherwsie fully ceremonial President (which can, despite his ceremonailty, express his political opinions openly).
    2) Executive power is vested in the (legally appointed by and also de facto dominated by the Prime Minister) Cabinet. Directly.
    3) The Parliament is the Knesset, rather than consisting of the President and the Knesset.
    4) The President’s assent to laws cannot affect their entry into force.
    5) MKs can address people other than the Speaker and refer to each other by name (and they always do the latter).

    Here’s some links for research.

    https://www.knesset.gov.il/description/eng/eng_mimshal_yesod.htm – Basic Laws
    https://www.knesset.gov.il/rules/eng/contents.htm – Parliament’s Standing Orders

  2. Torrance Wylie says:

    Greatly enjoyed reading your comments on fixed date legislation. If a Prime Minister of Canada wished to extend the term of a Parliament beyond the date the legislation specifies for an election, what actions, if any, would be legally required? An amendment to the Elections Act setting aside the prescribed date? Would welcome your comments.

  3. Gary Levy says:

    The article by James Bowden and Nicholas Macdonald “Onley provides a needed education” (Citizen February 28) is a well intentioned but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to buoy up our beleaguered system of responsible government, the most recent example of which was Premier McGuinty’s request for prorogation in face of a contempt vote against one of his ministers.
    The authors claim that, as with the Harper case, the Lieutenant Governor had no discretion to refuse the request. The nub of their argument is that in responsible government “ministers of the Crown take responsibility for all acts of the Crown.” This is simply another way of saying the majority can do whatever it likes. I am sure if they reflect upon it they will admit that is a perversion of parliamentary government. Essential to our system are officials, one of whom is the Lieutenant Governor, whose responsibility is to see that we are not simply governed by the tyranny of the majority.
    Mr. McGuinty’s request to prorogue parliament to save a minister (and his administration) from a finding of contempt was a clear abuse of power. The sanction for abuse of power is dismissal. Had Mr. McGuinty not resigned at the same time he requested prorogation the Lieutenant Governor would have been entitled to refuse. That would have led to a defeat of the government.
    Mr. McGuinty, to his credit, realized that his request was a gross abuse of power and spared the Lieutenant Governor any unpleasantness by resigning. Having paid the price for abusing power there was no longer any need to refuse prorogation and, correctly, Mr. Onley did not.
    But imagine the new Premier follows the same tactic and asks for prorogation to avoid another motion of censure. Under the Bowden-MacDonald theory of responsible government this would be granted and presumably could be repeated for up to five years until an election would have to be called.

    In fact, long before that would happen, the Lieutenant Governor would refuse a request for prorogation and the House would decide the fate of the government. To argue that a Lieutenant Governor has the power to dismiss a Premier or to refuse a dissolution but not to refuse prorogation in certain circumstances is to miss the forest for the trees. It is not helping us move toward a more healthy understanding of the fundamentals of our form of parliamentary government.

I invite reasonable questions and comments; all others will be prorogued or dissolved.

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