Don't Ask Governor General to Prorogue (or: Striking While the Iron's Hot)

December 4, 2008 by  

It has been reported that Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, will meet with the Governor General of Canada this morning (December 4, 2008) at 9:30 AM. Most reporters, though largely speculating, are saying that the PM will ask the GG to prorogue Parliament; i.e., to end this session of Parliament and thereby prevent a December 8, 2008 vote of no-confidence. I submit that it would be a mistake – both for Canada and for the Conservative Party – for the PM to ask the GG to prorogue.

My read on the public mood right now is that most people want their will – not the will of the GG – to determine which party governs, especially only 7 weeks after a general election. Given that, consider three scenarios.

Scenario 1: The PM does not ask the GG to prorogue.

Under this scenario, no matter what happens after the fact, it was Dion, Layton and Duceppe who caused it to happen.

If the governor general appoints the coalition to govern; if she allows the will of the people, expressed last October, to be defeated (if you want to play the “62% voted against Harper” game, look at the percentages that “voted against” Dion, Layton, and Duceppe); we will know who asked her for the power: Dion, Layton, and Duceppe. We will know the reasons why they did it, including that Jack and the secessionists long had a plan in place to seize power without an election. We will be able to see concession after concession being made to the secessionists, as a result. We will watch as a Dion government puts us $30B into debt yet the economy gets worse. There will be a debate about whether our governments should be elected, rather than appointed by an appointee. In short, in probably fewer than 3 months, we will all feel violated by all of them. Those overly forgiving Canadians who gave this coalition idea the benefit of the doubt will wonder why they ever thought it could work. Jack Layton, sensing the Canadian mood, will try to pin all of the fall-out on Dion, and will try to do it well before he is replaced by somebody more marketable (e.g., Ignatieff). The government will fall. An election will be held. The Conservatives will be put back into power. They may very well be handed a majority, so that Canada can dispense with the Liberal/NDP/BQ shenanigans for a few years.

If the governor general dissolves Parliament, we will all know who it was that has forced us to trudge through the ice and snow to cast our second ballot in 3 months: Dion, Layton, and Duceppe. We’ll, again, know political ambition and money (the political party allowance) – not the lack of an economic stimulus in the economic update – motivated them to do this to us. We will all be in a punishing mood. Conservatives will most likely gain money, members, supporters, votes, and seats. They may very well be handed a majority, so that Canada can dispense with the Liberal/NDP/BQ shenanigans for a few years.

Scenario 2: The PM asks the GG to prorogue and she does not do so.

An election or appointment will occur as in Scenario 1. If the coalition is appointed, it will implode, as in Scenario one. However the Conservatives will have made themselves look like a guilty party. When an alarm bell rings, the guy running from the scene is likely to have been the culprit. If the Prime Minister asks the GG to prorogue, that will give us all a feeling like he is desperate, not strong; that he is as politically ambitious as the Liberals/NDP/BQ; that he is trying to buy time so that he can try to gain the public’s forgiveness…all of which will imply that he did something wrong (which, in my opinion, he did not, as it relates to trying to his now-retracted proposal to eliminate the annual $1.95 price tag placed on every ballot in this country). Even many Conservatives will turn on Stephen Harper; if things get really bad, and a few ambitious Conservatives start chirping, their might be calls to replace him as party leader, which would leave the Conservatives ill-prepared for a snap election. Therefore, even if the coalition is appointed as government and an election is triggered in a few months, it is doubtful that the failure of the coalition would be met with a vibrant demand for a Conservative government.

Scenario 3: The PM asks the GG to prorogue and she does so.

Under this scenario, there will be no vote of non-confidence on Monday, December 8, 2008. However, almost immediately after Parliament opens the next session in January 2009, there will be a new budget. The House will vote on it. Because the budget is a money bill, if the bill does not pass, that will be treated as a vote of no-confidence. The cause: not a bad Liberal motion of no-confidence, but a bad Conservative budget. The GG will then appoint another government after or without another general election. Who will get the blame? Not the Liberals. Not the NDP. Not the BQ. The Conservatives will be blamed for any election or coalition that results. Why? Because they will have failed to put forward a budget that took opposition demands into account.


I must admit that a lot of the above is speculation. Nobody has control of all of the variables that might affect the public’s mood in the next several months. There could be a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a widespread illness, the rise of a super-candidate in the Liberal leadership race, etc.. However, on the basis of what is public knowledge at this point, the above scenarios at least seem plausible. And, of those scenarios, Scenario 1 is most favourable to Canadians having a relatively stable government that is not burying us in debt and putting us all at the mercy of the secessionists.

But, there is another consideration, and I think it is the clincher. It’s that public mood I referred to above. Canadians rarely get as motivated about politics as they have been over the last several days. The Liberal/NDP/BQ attempt to override the results of the election has the majority of Canadians hopping mad. Rarely is the iron so hot as this. Strike! Let the conspirators dare to bring their motion on Monday. Let them look into the camera and give the middle digit to Canadians. Then ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and, if she does it (as is more likely than not) just watch what happens to Dion and Layton at the polls.

All Canadians are going to be very busy over the coming weeks with the holiday season, and the New Year. If, because of the conspirators’ motion on Monday, the election writ is dropped next week, they will have no audience for their messages over the holiday season. We’ll all be listening to Jingle Bells and trying to ignore politics. But it will bother us nonetheless. For some of us, it will cast a cloud over the entire holiday season. And, in January, when we enter the ballot box, we’ll be looking for a little pay-back. What will we remember last happened? A sniveler, a schemer, and a guy who wants to break up the Canadian family took advantage of us because some of us gave them enough seats to do so. We’ll not be in a mood to give them a second chance.

Please Prime Minister: don’t ask the Governor General to prorogue. They’ve put their own heads in nooses. Let them pull the floor out from under themselves. At voting time, we’ll all remember who the hangman was, and who turned the rest of us all into coroners, undertakers, and gravediggers.


2 Responses to “Don't Ask Governor General to Prorogue (or: Striking While the Iron's Hot)”

  1. Nathan Terry on December 5th, 2008 4:32 pm

    It’ll be interresting to see what happens in North America over the next several months as the dust settles on our respective governments.

  2. Hypocrisy Watch: Liberals Cannot Senate Appointments : Paul McKeever on December 12th, 2008 1:33 pm

    […] my view was that Prime Minister Harper should not ask the Governor General to prorogue. So far, I stand by […]

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