Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Do the Tories have another trick up their sleeves?

Andrew Steele thinks they might:

"We will use all legal means to resist this undemocratic seizure of power," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday.

Here are the ten options the Prime Minister is likely reviewing:

1. Preemptively Remove Michaƫlle Jean

This is the true nuclear option for Harper: a preemptive strike against Jean to remove her from office, and replace her with a governor-general sympathetic to the argument that the people should decide in an election.

The roots of this option are found in the last major constitutional crisis in a British Parliamentary democracy, the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.

I'll let you review all the background in this excellent Wikipedia article, but the key passage for our purposes is this:

"(Governor-General) Kerr was unwilling to warn (Prime Minister) Whitlam that he was contemplating dismissing him, fearing that Whitlam's reaction would be to advise Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia, to remove him as Governor-General instead - advice the Queen would be compelled by convention to follow. Though this might appear to be an unlikely proposition, it was constitutionally possible, and in the peculiar circumstances of the crisis could not have been ruled out."

Interesting, and worrisome. Could they actually put their own stooge in place of Ms. Jean? That wouldn't look good on them in the long run, of course, but it would force the opposition to reconsider their short term options.

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