Saturday, September 06, 2008

Harper and the GG

I'm told that Harper's people were warned by the outgoing Martin administration that their biggest problems would come from Rideau Hall. They believed their own choice of Governor General, a second-string TV talking head, Michealle Jean, would someday use some of the latent powers of her office. Anyone who actually followed her journalistic career should have known she's a pretty doctrinaire leftist, one with a very highly developed sense of her own self-worth.
And Jean, should she did in her heals and not grant Harper his election, will have something of a case, provided she insist Harper recalls Parliament for a vote of confidence.
And Harper could do this to his advantage, immediately recalling the House of Commons and introducing a whack of legislation that the Opposition would either have to pass, to Harper's delight, or vote down, to Harper's delight.
We'd have a constitutional crisis, one in which the role of GG would be argued ad nauseum. We'd also certainly have an election with the role of entrenched, elite Liberal bureaucratic and institutional power being a major issue. It takes support for all ten provinces to actually change the GG's political role, but there's nothing to prevent the government from de-funding the institution, selling Rideau Hall and stripping the GG of her huge and incredibly well-compensated staff (some of whom live rent-free in mansions on the 80 acre private parkland of Rideau Hall).
I suspect Michele Jean would dearly love to carve a place in history as other than a gender/racial token and flex her constitutional muscles at the expense of a Prime Minister and governing party that she detests. At the same time, I expect her staff will be telling her to stick with tradition and remind her that more than 2 1/2 years is a long time for a Canadian minority government.
As for the fixed election law, it is, in the immortal words of Capt. Barbossa, more like a set of guidelines.

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