Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Debate 2010 - Round 1

Ever since Stephen Harper prorogued parliament for the second time, much hue and cry has been raised (including from this corner). However, for all our outrage, many of us are at a loss as to what can actually be done. One response was to create a Facebook group, which has provoked its own mocking in return. Paul Wells issued a challenge to the outraged, do something useful. He even provided a scale: So it’d be handy to come up with a yardstick somewhere between 0 and 10, where “0″ is joining a Facebook group and “10″ is bringing down the government and defeating it at the next election.

In typical Canadian tradition, I wanted to sit down and discuss the issue and have found an opportunity to do so (background here). While not a 10 on the Wells' scale of action, I think what has been accomplished is at least a 3 or 4. Think before you act.

Tied in with this unilaterally suspending parliament business is the fact that the Prime Minister has the De Facto authority to do so. Many of us have a problem with that concentration of power. Two noted thinkers (Sir Francis and David Mader) of the Canadian Blogosphere agree with me, but of course they differ in the details.

They have been challenged to defend their positions in a debate, hosted at a neutral third party, me. In Round 1 they are to clearly state which position they are defending. Round 2, to take place 1 week from now, they tear each other to shreds. Or congenially come to a compromise and agree on a single position. I leave it to you to decide which outcome is desirable.

Without further ado: Supporting Electing a Governor General from David Mader, supporting the Appointment of a Governor General from Sir Francis.

Please feel free to weigh in and discuss, in a civil manner, the points presented. Comments will be moderated by myself. I will be the sole arbitrator of what is and is not civil, anything that crosses my arbitrary threshold will be turfed. What is that threshold? Attack (or support) the idea, not the author. Both gentlemen have generously donated their time and thoughts to this debate at my invitation. Thank them and respect them for that.

Filed under DebateJan2010

Update: James Bow weighs in.

Updater: Andrew Coyne proposes his own reforms. Where have I heard them before?

1 comment:

Polyorchnid Octopunch said...

I think the GG should be appointed. The GG is a powerless position, representing the true power of the monarchy in our system. Having them be elected will lead eventually to demands that this elected position (one selected by the entirety of the Canadian electorate) be granted power in keeping with its legitimacy. This is not a desirable outcome.

The last thing we need is a president in competition with the executive embodied by the Prime Minister and Cabinet. What we do need is to see some of the powers that the executive has reserved for itself over the past few decades returned to Parliament where it belongs.