A Star Goes Supernova: Julie Payette Resigns as Governor General

This week, we have seen the departure of a disgraced, self-serving petulant bully who left executive office with one last closing salvo of bitter recrimination and disavowal of personal responsibility for having created a toxic, dysfunctional workplace that showed absurdly high levels of turnover and waves of mass resignations.

And we also witnessed President Trump leaving the White House one last time.

Julie Payette marked her tenure as Governor General of Canada by oscillating between long bouts of lassitude punctuated by periods of immense controversy and heightened media scrutiny. Payette melted down Rideau Hall into a toxic workplace, systematically drove out the most experienced staff, and reduced those who remained to quotidian bouts of tears of frustration.

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Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Governor's Discretion | 4 Comments

Insurrectionists Have Betrayed the Revolution of 1800

Peaceful transitions of power between governments form the bedrock upon which the edifice of liberal-democratic self-government rests. Since the elections in 2000 and Al Gore’s concession speech, I have witnessed many American politicians deliver cloying speeches about peaceful transitions of power, which seemed both shamelessly self-congratulatory – as if no other democratic country in the world had ever performed such a feat – as well as manifestly redundant. These speeches seemed so nauseating and sentimental precisely because we all took for granted these peaceful transitions of power guided by the rule of law, conducted under the provisions of the US Constitution, and buttressed by unassailable democratic norms. Until recently, any other possibility remained the preserve of dictatorships abroad and utterly unthinkable in the United States of America. But it seems that Americans need to make a ritual of congratulating themselves upon such things when they happen properly, because Trump’s presidency, like a corrosive brine, has rusted out these once ironclad traditions and ground them into dust.

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Posted in Comparative, Monarchism v Republicanism | 6 Comments

“Canada’s Legal-Constitutional Continuity, 1791-1867” Published in the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law


Some of you might be interested; some of you might not. The JPPL published an updated version of the paper that I first presented back in May 2017 at the Université de Montréal’s “Constitution at 150” conference.

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Posted in Articles, History of British North America | 2 Comments

Thomas D’Arcy McGee and the Vice-Royalty of Canada

The Dorchester Review has just published my piece detailing how Thomas D’Arcy McGee advocated between 1858 and 1864 establishing a new branch of the Royal House of Saxe-Cobourg and Gotha in the Kingdom of Canada, with a separate line of succession, as a vice-royalty.

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Posted in Articles, Crown (Powers and Office), History of British North America, Succession (Sovereign) | 1 Comment

PROC Examines the Retroactive Prorogation Rationale After All

PROC decided to study the Retroactive Prorogation Rationale (Sessional Paper 8560-432-1261-01_e) in 2020 after all. Committees tend not to update the official transcripts (Evidence) until two weeks later, so I misinterpreted and missed some of these developments last month by going off the Minutes alone.

On Thursday, 10 December, PROC invited four university professors – Kathy Brock, Philippe Lagassé, Barbara Messamore, and Daniel Turp – to appear remotely as witnesses and speak to the first Retroactive Prorogation Rationale released under the new Standing Order 32(7). PROC has not made the official Evidence public yet, so I’m taking this dialogue from Parl Vu and translating remarks from French into English where necessary.

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Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Prorogation | 2 Comments