I have thus far refrained from commenting on the political scandal and resulting political situation in Canada, because I think it unwise to comment to freely on other states political affaires. I am against the national coverage of celebrity criminal trials in the U.S. for the same reason.
However, the situation in Canada has now risen to the level of an on going constitutional crisis and I feel compelled to speak. Prime Minister Martin and his Liberal Party are holding onto power seven days after they have lost the confidence of parliament. Now I am no expert on the Westminster system, but even I can tell that the question of the motion that the government lost Tuesday being a procedural one is a red herring.
The idea of the Westminster system is that since the crown, a) cannot legally raise taxes without the consent of parliament, b) therefore cannot in fact govern without a majority in parliament to raise money and spend it, c) therefore a government (the crown’s ministers) only has legitimacy in so long as it can command a majority in parliament to do the government’s business.
If after the vote against his government, Mr. Martin had been able to introduce and pass a major peace of legislation, then it might be arguable that the vote on Tuesday was procedural and of no significance. Given the fact that actually his government has lost control of the house, the vote is of more than procedural significance.
Since Mr. Martin’s government can in fact no longer control parliament, it has according to Westminster principals lost the confidence of the nation. It is therefore incumbent upon him to resign and call for new elections, so that a government with the confidence of the nation may be formed to lead the people of Canada.
For Mr. Martin’s government to spend money without “the common council of the nation” is contrary to Magna Carta, the foundation of all of the governments of the English speaking nation.
Since tradition and precedent are part of all of our systems of government it concerns the whole of the English speaking nation when the government of one part of it, ignores the traditions that have been an integral part of our free system of government.
The crises also shows why it is contrary to the proper functioning of the Westminster System for the governments of the dominions to recommend the Governor General. It would be better for the Crown to appoint either a member of the royal family or a well known apolitical member of Canadian society.
In fact I believe that her majesty would do well to send a prince or other royal to each of the crown commonwealth states to act as Governor General for 20 years or so. This would allow the member to put down roots in the local community. This would likely increase the popularity of the crown by making it more of a local institution.
With her majesty scheduled to be in Canada this week, maybe we will see some action taken to uphold the rights of parliament and disassociate her majesty from the usurpations of the Martin government.