An Open Letter From Paul McKeever to Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada
December 2, 2008 by Paul McKeever
December 2, 2008
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General of Canada
1 Sussex Drive
It is public knowledge that, in anticipation that the Official Opposition’s December 8, 2008 motion of no confidence will be successful, Mr. Stéfane Dion, Mr. Jack Layton, and Mr. Gilles Duceppe – the leaders of the Liberal, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois (“BQ”) parties, respectively – did, on December 1, 2008 sign a pact with one another titled “A Policy Accord to Address the Present Economic Crisis” (the “Policy Accord”). It is widely acknowledged that the purpose of the Policy Accord is to impress upon you that a Liberal-NDP coalition would have the confidence of the House of Commons, such that it could form a viable government.
As a citizen, as a lawyer in Ontario, and as leader of the Freedom Party of Canada, I am writing to draw your attention to the grave impact that the Policy Accord has upon your exercise of the authority to call upon Mr. Dion to form a Liberal-NDP government. Specifically, were you to call upon Mr. Dion to form a Liberal-NDP coalition government, the terms of the Policy Accord would result in unconstitutional government. My reasons follow.
At present, the House of Commons has 77 Members of Parliament (MPs) who are members of the Liberal Party, 37 who are members of the NDP, 49 who are members of the BQ, and one Independent. Therefore, a Liberal-NDP coalition would lack the confidence of the House if it did not maintain the confidence of the 49 members of the BQ.
Under the terms of the Policy Accord, Mr. Gilles Duceppe, the Leader of the BQ, agrees to be bound by the following:
“The Bloc Quebecois will neither move nor will it support any motions of non-confidence in the Government during the term of its support for this agreement…” (Policy Accord, page 3, paragraph 5)
Our constitutional system of Responsible Government is designed to protect the governed from tyrannical or undemocratic governance by requiring that Canada’s government be replaced – with or without a general election – should its conduct lead it to lose the confidence of a majority of MPs. However, the above-quoted passage from the Policy Accord binds the hands of BQ MPs and muzzles them. The Policy Accord, by design, prevents Bloc MPs from expressing a lack of confidence in the government until the Policy Accord expires (not earlier than June 30, 2010). Thus, if you invite the formation of a coalition Liberal-NDP government, Responsible Government will be suspended until at least June 30, 2010.
The Policy Accord was signed to encourage you to believe that a Liberal-NDP government will have the confidence of the House. However, in reality, the Policy Accord guarantees not well-reasoned confidence in the government, but unquestioning deference to its every whim. It removes from every BQ MP the defensive weapon of a non-confidence vote, and replaces that weapon with a white flag of surrender. The signatories to the Policy Accord are, in reality, saying to you that a Liberal-NDP coalition would be stable because the constitutional method of defeating a government would be rendered null and void for at least 18 months.
Excellency, the Constitution of Canada is the source of all governmental authority in this country, including your own authority. It identifies our country as both free and democratic. Its intended function is to ensure that Canada remains free and democratic. However, were you to call upon Mr. Dion to form a Liberal-NDP coalition government, the Policy Accord would undermine the procedural machinery of our constitution, deprive all Canadians of the constitution’s protection, and imperil both freedom and democracy. No degree of reckless, oppressive, tyrannical, or anti-democratic behavior on the part of the government could be answered with a motion of no confidence until at least June 30, 2010.
Excellency, for the reasons stated above, I respectfully request that you exercise your authority to dissolve Parliament in the event that there is a call for same by the Prime Minister of Canada.
Leader, Freedom Party of Canada
c.c., Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Stéfane Dion, Mr. Jack Layton, Mr. Gilles Duceppe