At the 3:20 minute mark in Don Newman's interview with John Baird in December 2008, Baird explains how the Cons plan to do an end run around being defeated in Parlament by shuttering it.
Baird : "I think what we want to do is basically take a time out and go over the heads of the members of Parliament, go over the heads frankly of the Governor General, go right to the Canadian people.
Newman : "You live in a British parliamentary system and in a British parliamentary system it is only legitimate for the government to be the government if it can sustain support in the House of Commons, and to say now that you're going to go over their heads, brush them aside, they're not even important anymore ..."After a bit of bluster, Baird repeats his intention about going over the heads of Parliament and the GG "directly to the people".
Newman asks if this is going to be "like Kiev with people wearing different coloured scarves" in the streets.
After listening to Steve's creepy interview with Mansbridge, I think the Cons have decided - as a defeated government this time round - that it's time for the coloured scarves.
Harper questions right of opposition parties to form government
Stephen Harper is challenging a key element of Canada’s parliamentary democracy, saying the ability of the opposition parties to defeat his minority government and be asked to govern themselves is open to “debate.”
In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, Harper refused to concede that the opposition parties have the constitutional right to form government after the May 2 vote if they can win backing of most MPs in the House of Commons.
At first, he dismissed the question as a “constitutional theoretical discussion.”
But asked whether the opposition parties would have the “right” to form government, Harper said “that’s a question, a debate of constitutional law.Wow. Just wow.
If the other guys win, they get a shot at government and I don’t think you challenge that unless you are prepared to go back to the people,” he said.
“We’ll be into another election before too long. That’s why I think need a majority mandate. I think this has gone on long enough.”
Parliamentary expert Ned Franks dismissed Harper’s comments as “constitutional nonsense.”What he's threatening to do is provoke a constitutional crisis over his inability to share power, to play according to the rules in the sandbox, to not be king.
“What he’s trying to do is elevate expediency into a constitutional principle.”
He was not always so pathological about it.
In Our Benign Dictatorship, a paper he wrote with Tom Flanagan 15 years ago and to which I've referred before, Steve makes the case for functioning coalition governments supported by proportional representation in Canada :
"Among major democracies, only Great Britain so ruthlessly concentrates power.
In the United States, President Clinton cannot govern without making concessions to the Republicans in Congress. In Germany, Chancellor Kohl needs to keep the support not only of the CSU but of the Free Democrats. In France, the presidency and the national assembly are often controlled by different party coalitions. In most of the rest of Europe, proportional representation ensures that coalition governments routinely form cabinets. In Australia, the Liberal prime minister needs the National Party for a majority in the House of Representatives and, often, the support of additional parties to get legislation through the Senate.
In New Zealand, which used to have a Canadian-style system of concentrated power, the voters rebelled against alternating Labour party and National party dictatorships: electoral reform now ensures coalition cabinets."Ten days ago in the leaders debate, Jack Layton turned to Harper and said : "You’ve become what you used to oppose. You’ve changed in some way. What's happened to you?"