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On picking and choosing parliamentary convention.

I saw this over at Accidental Deliberations this morning over where Steve Janke is apparently advocating that the Liberals be stripped of their Official Opposition title as a party by the Governor-General and the title handed to the NDP, because according to Steve’s logic, since they abstained from the Throne Speech, they aren’t really providing an effective opposition. The Jurist over at AC is surprised no Liberal bloggers have come forth to criticize his proposal. I’ll say it’s probably because it’s such a dumb proposal, no one at Liberal blogging land really feels it necessary to go after. Since I’ve got nothing better to do, I’ll be the first, if only to have a Liberal-aligned blogger on the record.

First, I didn’t see this post at his site back in 2005 advocating the same thing be done to a Conservative Party led by Mr Harper who also abstained on the Paul Martin-led Throne Speech. Steve wasn’t apparently paying attention that particular session of Parliament. (UPDATE: I’m informed by one prominent Tory supporter that actually, Harper abstained on the Budget, not the Throne Speech, which doesn’t change the point. In fact, it really makes Janke’s idea even worse; since the Budget is a much more relevant thing to oppose then the Throne Speech).

Second, I’ll repeat what I said at Jurist’s comment section; I just love how Conservatives like Janke advocate the use of power if it benefits their position or their party. Apparently an appointed GG using powers that are not used at all anymore for precisely that reason is ok with Steve for overriding all parliamentary convention, if it can be used as a partisan device to attack the Liberals with.

But, in a future scenario, if Madame Jean is in a position to use her her powers that would hurt Harper – say refuse Harper’s request to dissolve the House and instead asks the next largest party (that being the Liberals) to form the government – you can bet Janke will be leading the hue and cry about the draconian use of the GG’s unelected, undemocratic powers.

Why not allow the Senate with its Liberal majority to offer “sober second thought”, without all the grumblings from Blogging Toryland and Conservatives in general of it being appointed, while we’re at it, Steve? And why, for that matter, in your scenario are you directly bypassing the BQ – the 3rd largest party in the House, and also the Official Opposition at one time in Parliament not so long ago – and appointing the NDP as the standard-bearer?

I’ve often criticized Steve’s “investigations” as being worthless and chasing after windmills Don Quixote style, but after seeing posts/proposals like this, maybe he should stick to his investigations and leave the proposals for someone else to do. (although his ideological companion, Stephen Taylor isn’t doing much better, either. He’s proposing that Harper ignore or rebuke the Liberals and refuse to answer their questions in QP, which as the Jurist points out, they already do with every opposition party’s questions that are politically inconvenient, never mind the Liberals. For that matter, they already employ that tactic with the media, so it’s nothing new, Steve #2).

UPDATE: Mr Taylor The Blogging Tories are apparently on a roll today for statements that make you raise your eyebrows, even more so then Janke. As Red Tory points out, they’re also distorting poll numbers at their homepage.

UPDATE 2: Stephen Taylor informs Red Tory he’s taken the banner down. Now its replaced with the claim that the BT Community is home to the “Fastest Growing Political Forums in Canada”. They might be, they might not. I’m sure Mr. Taylor has documented evidence to back that claim up, right Steve? 😉

10 comments to On picking and choosing parliamentary convention.

  • KC

    I read Janke’s post too but thought it too stupid to merit a response. 

  • Lawrence Garvin

    [quote comment="9641"] I know perfectly what you were TRYING to say. -but you failed miserably. [/quote]

    That’s a stroke of genuis… or something.

    I made my point. You can understand it or not, as you choose.
    Cya.

  • Janke has never made it known he was pulling anyone’s chains whenever he’s posted some of his ridiculous postings.. nordo  Ithink he is here.. particularly when he has a petition up for people to sign so it can be sent off to the GG urging her to do his little brainstorm.

    I know perfectly what you were TRYING to say. -but you failed miserably. If Harper claimed Martin’s Budget to be a "conservative budget" then he had even less reason to abstain then Dion did. He should have voted for it, if that was the case.

    Point is this: Janke’s idea is silly… and Blogging Tories and supporters who somehow are trying to claim thr Harper abstaining isnt as bad as the Dion one is are even sillier.

  • Lawrence Garvin

    [quote comment="9639"]Lawrence.. you’re using semantics – [/quote]

    Well no, what I’m using is words, the majority of which you have completely ignored, and the gist of which you seem to have missed entirely.

    To put it plainer; I think Janke is janking people’s chains a little. His post looks to me like little more than an excuse to quote lovingly from a variety of critical reviews of Mr. Dion’s climbdown. To be even more plain; it’s a stupid idea if you take it seriously. I don’t.  

    The rest of your quarrel appears to be with someone else, who said something else, so I’ll leave you to it.

  • Lawrence.. you’re using semantics – which seems to be the theme amongst Tory bloggers and Conservative supporters today. No government has ever been defeated on a Throne Speech either, so there’s certainly precedent for a party to oppose something in the general Throne Speech and then not cause the government to fall.  (though I’ll admit that I wish in this case it had been).

    The fact of the matter is, Mr Janke is using selective memory, semantics, and decidedly selective use of what he’d like the GG to do. I can assure you if the other scenario were to happen which I already mentioned, he would be the first to deride Jean as a "Liberal GG" that was defying the elected Prime Minister by not supporting his wanting to dissolve Parliament. 

  • Lawrence Garvin

    I imagine that even Janke would readily admit that the idea is more about poking fun at the Liberals than a serious proposal (but maybe I’m imputing motives where I shouldn’t). Really what I wanted to comment on was the Dion meme – and a very fertile one it is – that Harper "did it first" by abstaining on a Liberal budget. True enough he did. But the distinction that seems to be glossed over is that Harper’s initial and immediate reaction to the budget was to call it a "conservative budget."

    He didn’t make a big show of principled defiance and then fold like a cheap suit.

    It was Dion who promised that he would "not pretend the government is working" and thumped his chest – repeatedly – about what his integrity demanded. Harper, in contrast, was pretty straightforward about his strategic retreat  on a budget that he liked.

    The comparison, to my mind, doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

  • I highly encourage all Conservatives and NDP’ers to get behind this idea.

    Let’s skip over the Bloc and put the NDP in charge of the opposition benches.  Let’s see how well that goes over in Quebec. 

    Please, do it.  The Liberals need all the help we can get in that province and snubbing the Bloc would be brilliant in terms of fueling anger towards the Cons and NDP!

    Brilliant.

  • Besides it being ludicrous, it was also written by Janke.  And who really cares what he has to go on about when it comes to an issue like that?

  • Remember Scott, this is the party that changed the timing of the Throne Speech from afternoon (and its always been in the afternoon) to the evening, in a direct disregard for Parliamentary tradition and convention. Apparently it was done so that news coverage timing would not allow proper Opposition reaction to make the news. I suspect it was so it would be more like an American "State of the Union" address.

    Had the Liberals done this, the Conservatives would have been apoplectic with rage. I guess "Standing Up for Canada" only counts for those parts of Canadian tradition that suits your political needs.

    Don’t even get me started on these bastards using Government of Canada websites for partisan, political propaganda for the Conservative Party.

    I wish Dion would grow a pair and kick these lying bastards out. But then, I don’t want them replaced by anyone…

  • […] Scott Tribe points out, Steve Janke suggests the Governor General should appoint the NDP as the official […]

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