Friday, March 25, 2011

Canadian Government Falls


This is how a parliamentary system of government works.

The following motion just passed in the Canadian House of Commons by a vote of 156-145.
Mr. Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore) — That the House agree with the finding of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that the government is in contempt of Parliament, which is unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary history, and consequently, the House has lost confidence in the government.
This was immediately followed by a motion from the Prime Minister to adjourn the House. That motion carried.

Michael Ignatieff, who moved lack of confidence, is the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (Leader of the Opposition) and the leader of the Liberal Party.

The defeat of the government on this confidence motion means that the Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) must resign. He will probably go to the Governor General (the de facto Head of State1) and seek permission to dissolve the House of Commons and call for a general election. In the absence of any party or coalition that could command the confidence of Parliament, that request will be granted.


1. Officially, the Governor General is the Canadian representative of the Queen of Canada who lives in the United Kingdom. The Governor General will not be phoning the Queen to ask her advice. The current Governor General is His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.

11 comments :

  1. I hope the Opposition knows what they are doing -- polls haven't been all that favorable to Iggy lately. Most likely outcome seems like another Harper minority, but if they screw up the campaign, we could be looking at a theo-con majority.

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  2. This is just something that I will never understand. Why don't you just have regular elections, instead of "randomly" dissolving the government and calling for new ones.

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  3. PMS (Prime Minister Stephen) has shown an uncanny knack for hanging onto power by the hair of his chinny chin chin. Problem is .. the other parties don't offer anything outstanding, so we will get stuck with a prick of sorts no matter what happens now.

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  4. Reed says,

    Why don't you just have regular elections, instead of "randomly" dissolving the government and calling for new ones.

    Because this way we can leave the actual campaigning to a short period of time. And the election can be called at a time that's convenient for the country.

    In systems with regularly scheduled elections there's no opportunity to deal with problems that come up close to election time and the campaigning tends to start a year before the actual vote.

    I've never understood why American congress people are only capable of governing for a year or two before they have to finance another election.

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  5. In the recent past, the Liberals always painted the Conservatives as "scary" and they scared the populace away from the Conservatives, simply out of unfounded fear.
    Now people see that that was always a lie.
    Perhaps the populace will have gotten over that irrational fear (instilled by the Liberals) and allow themselves to vote in a Conservative majority.
    Let's hope so.

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  6. Rather interesting that the opposition isn't given the opportunity of forming a government but, instead, one goes immediately to an election.

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  7. SLC says,

    Rather interesting that the opposition isn't given the opportunity of forming a government but, instead, one goes immediately to an election.

    The opposition would be given the opportunity if there was any chance they wanted it and could gain the confidence of the House.

    In this case, everyone knows that there's no chance of that, unlike the situation a few years ago when Harper had to shut down parliament in order to avoid a vote of non-confidence.

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  8. Re Larry Moran

    It would appear that forming a coalition with the Quebec separatists is a no no in Canada, otherwise, the Liberals, NDP, and Quebecois would be sufficient for a majority.

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  9. What/where is the source of the photo of Harper?

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  10. Reed A. Cartwright said:

    Why don't you just have regular elections

    We do have regular elections, albeit with a fuzzy logic as to the EXACT date. No parliament or legislature in this country may continue beyond five years since the return of the last Writ of Elections. But unlike presidential systems, our government also depends on the confidence of the House of Commons, and if that's lost, either the government resigns in favour of the opposition, or, more typically, a general election is called to determine where the confidence of the people lies.

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