Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lawrence Martin Plays Dumb

If Stephen Harper does "get away with" calling a snap election without incurring some political cost, it will be because journalists like Lawrence Martin drove the getaway car.

On the question of contradicting his own election legislation, [Mr. Harper] said: 'We are clear. You can only have certainty about a fixed election date in the context of a majority government.' That's true enough, though he probably wished he'd made it clearer when the law was passed.

Imagine a counter-factual in which everything is the same, including Bill C-16, but Harper has a majority government. What would there be to stop him from doing exactly what he is hellbent on doing now--dissolving parliament and calling a snap election? If you answered nothing, you guessed right. The only thing, the ONLY thing C-16 changes is that a government can no longer drag their term out into a 5th year. And this fact was obvious way back when the bill was first passed, even if they didn't clue in at the G&M until this morning.

Update: Even Radwanski's drank the koolaid over there.


Ti-Guy said...

even if they didn't clue in at the G&M until this morning.

Oh, they all know it. But to come right to the heart of the matter would remove any need for them to dole out a tiny morsel of common sense tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that. Besides, it's much easier to write long columns in which they explain to the rest of us the perfectly legal (though not moral) things Stephen Harper can do.

Because they're smart and we're stupid.

Two more weeks until my G&M subscription expires. It will not be missed.

crf said...

Bill C-16 is a law that explictly notes that every new unique idea within it on election dates cannot be inforced, because doing so would run afoul of the parliamentary, and likely constitutional, right of the PM to ask the GG to dissolve parliament whenever he likes. It is a joke of a law, and everyone knew that when it passed.


Clause 1 of Bill C-16 inserts a new section in the Canada Elections Act just before the heading “Writs of Election” before section 57. The proposed section 56.1 – headed “Date of General Election” – starts with a subsection that asserts that nothing in the section affects the powers of the Governor General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General’s discretion.