Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More Confidence Tricks

The Liberal government has confirmed the death of the centuries-old parliamentary convention that a government must resign if it loses the confidence of the House of Commons, or is defeated on a money bill. From the Globe and Mail:

OTTAWA -- The federal Liberals would consider ignoring a House of Commons defeat should they lose any of the several coming votes that are matters of confidence between now and the end of the spring session, Chief Government Whip Karen Redman says.

Although no final strategy has been decided, Ms. Redman said the government could respond to a defeat by bringing in a motion on whether the government has the confidence of Parliament to make sure MPs actually want an election.


In an interview, Ms. Redman said the government would consider several possible responses to a government defeat.

"There are options. Clearly if there was a loss, the government may decide to put forward another confidence motion when everybody was there to see if it held the day. Those options are available," she said.

Unlike the Conservative motion that passed earlier this month calling on the government to resign, Ms. Redman said the Liberals do not dispute that the money votes between now and the end of the session are clear matters of confidence and are taking each one seriously.

Our constitutional conventions are too important to the rule of law and our free and democratic society to be left in the hands of the PMO to obey or ignore at its sole discretion.

It is high time that they were actually codified in the Constitution of Canada. But given the impossibility of amending the Constitution, we are likely to see these conventions--and even the written parts of the Constitution--gutted in the name of defending people from an election they've been told they don't want.

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