And they've sent a letter to the GG and cranked out a news release on CNW!
OTTAWA, Jan. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Academic constitutional experts are publicly advising the Governor General to call on the leader of the opposition to attempt to form a government if the Conservatives are defeated on anon-confidence vote.
The list can be found here, as well as a dummied down explanation of how the Canadian government models works aimed at our bovine public. My favorite bit:
While, in our parliamentary system, as it is the case in the Commonwealth in general, the Governor General (or the person fulfilling a similar role in other jurisdictions) may offer the opposition leader the opportunity to form the government in such circumstances, other parliamentary systems give the opposition the right to form a new government (i.e. Spain's and Belgium's constitutions) and, in the case of Germany, the constitution even makes it an obligation in certain circumstances.
Such rules are meant to avoid creating an incentive for minority government Prime Ministers to make successive calls for elections until one party gathers sufficient support to form a majority government. Successive elections can be quite disruptive, if only because without a functioning Parliament to vote on matters of supply, unelected officials are forced to adopt special measures to pay for the operations of government.
As for the list of "constitutional experts" cited, while they come from all over the nation, their numbers seem fairly heavily weighted towards Que. and Ontario law schools. I don't know if that is a worrying sign or not.
And as for me, even though one recent poll shows the country more receptive to the idea of a coalition government, I am hoping that the mere threat drives the Tories to produce a budget that Ignatieff and crew can support. For non-political reasons, because whatever the details of the stimulus package, the country needs one now and not after either another election or at the end of a no doubt long and painful series of negotiations among the various coalition partners. And for political reasons, because I fear that even with these most recent poll numbers, if the bid for a coalition fails and we are all tossed into another election campaign, the result will be another Tory victory, perhaps a Majority. The populace will opt for "stability" and the Coalition partners will be labelled "troublemakers".