As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program. We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
That was a letter to then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson signed by all three opposition leaders: Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and, yes, Stephen Harper.
Now check out Stephen Harper on November 28, 2008, when he announces the cancellation of the Opposition Day on Monday and forestalling any non-confidence motion until December 8:
The opposition has every right to defeat the government but Stéphane Dion does not have the right to take power without an election
Steve either has a bad memory, or he’s chosen to forget he wrote the first letter. I guess things are different when you’re on the other side of the aisle. Back in 2004, Harper was calling this what “constitutional practise has determined”. Now, however, when he is in government and he faces the very situation he described in 2004, it’s akin to a coup d’etat.