The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Canada: Revised Constitutional Conventions

Her Excellency, The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada,
The Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Jr.,
The House of Commons

By their actions, and inactions in May 2005,
Hereby tentatively establish the following revised conventions to the Constitution of Canada

1) "Confidence" votes are limited to either votes on budget bills, or must explicitly mention the word "confidence", and in any event, are only confidence votes if so designated by the government.
2) Defeat on all other motions, even if they clearly demonstrate that the government lacks control of the House, are henceforth merely "Procedural".
3) A defeat on such a Procedural motion may be followed by a Confidence motion, but a nine day gap is sufficiently soon.
4) It is in order for the government to resort to any means to secure support in the interim.
5) The reserve powers of the Crown are abolished.
6) The government need not secure the confidence of the House of Commons, so long as it maintains the confidence of the popular media and the voting public.
7) The confidence of the voting public is to be established by a poll on the following question: "Do you want an election now?"
8) (Presumptive) The above revisions only apply if the Perpetual Natural Governing Party is in power. All the old conventions will still apply should any other party manage to temporarily gain power.

[It is ironic that the notion of a confidence motion has narrowed so suddenly and drastically now that the Liberals have a minority. Previously, the concept was so broad that every vote was considered to be a confidence vote, lest unruly backbenchers get out of line and vote against the government. Remember the vote on the Hepatitis C compensation?]

[This, I hope, will be the last posting on this topic for a while, assuming I can rid my nostrils of the stench.]

[UPDATE: Related thoughts at The Monarchist]


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