Home News What fixed election date?

What fixed election date?

by Archives September 9, 2008

Canadians will have to consider an additional question when they hit the polls this October. Does our Prime minister have the right to disregard his own piece of legislation?
In the past, Prime ministers have had the advantage of choosing the timing for elections. Stephen Harper relinquished this right with his amendment of Bill C-16 in 2006, setting elections to fixed four-year intervals.
With Harper’s minority government now set to hold a vote only three years after it was elected, the Prime minister’s actions have been widely denounced as hypocritical by both the opposition and non-partisan commentators.
According to the Conservatives, Bill C-16 was intended to strengthen democracy by preventing governments from calling what Harper described as, “snap elections for short-term political advantages.”
The bill provided that an election could only be called in the event of a parliamentary vote of non-confidence, or in other extraordinary circumstances.
Though Harper claims this election will help to do away with parliamentary inefficiency, the Conservatives have been able to successfully push forward the bulk of their legislation, being forced to compromise only on occasion.
If parliament were really paralyzed, the Conservatives would have lost a confidence vote by now, and an election would have already been called.
The strategic advantages could be enormous for the Conservatives – recent polls give Harper a majority government, the Liberal party remains in virtual hibernation since the sponsorship scandal, and the Canadian economy seems poised for a severe downturn before the year’s end.
The fundamental question is therefore whether Harper has the legal right to call an election.
Since constitutional law supersedes parliamentary law, the Governor General retains the right to call an election at any time. That being the case, Micha

Related Articles

Leave a Comment