The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 May 2005

A Clintonesque Denial By Liberal Party Leadership

Canada: Banana Republic

Martin Government Ignores Key Parliamentary Vote

Can you imagine a Western democracy where the ruling government simply ignores a parliamentary majority vote of no confidence and continues to rule, as though nothing happened?

Perhaps if it occurred in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, or Turkmenistan, it might not raise too many eyebrows, but when Canada is the country in question, Americans should be alarmed.

Very Clintonesque excuses have been made by the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe (oops, I meant Paul Martin), questioning minute details about specific language in the motion, almost like Bill's infamous "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" silliness we came to know and love.

As CIVITATENSIS notes today, even the Globe and Mail knows Liberals are living in an alternate universe, where they can pretend it's business as usual in Ottawa.

The fact is in any parliamentary democracy, the government is dissolved immediately, if it loses a confidence vote in parliament. It's toast.

Carve an image in the bread and you can sell it on eBay.

If it were to happen in Britain, movers would appear at 10 Downing Street within hours to make way for the new occupant.

The Bush Administration should be extremely alarmed at the severe undermining of democratic principles in Canada. It's one thing to ignore it in Zimbabwe, but impossible, when it's your next door neighbor.

Andrew Coyne, in the National Post, explains it all for us:

Let's say the government is right, that a vote of the majority of the House of Commons expressing no confidence in the government does not count as a vote of non-confidence; that although the House may have demanded "that the government resign," it forgot to preface this with the critical words "Simon says." What does this mean?

It means that we now have a new form of government in this country: government by technicality. The government can no longer claim to govern with the consent of the governed, the traditional standard of legitimacy in a democracy.

It governs with the consent of itself. It is the constitutional equivalent of a circular argument, a government that rules solely on the strength of its own assertions. It holds a new kind of power: the power of positive thinking.

A majority of members of the House clearly believe they have passed a motion ofnon-confidence. Yet the government, with the support of a minority of the House, assures them they are mistaken: No, no, no, old chaps, that's not what you meant at all.

No, trust us: what you meant was merely to instruct a committee to report back to the House with ademand that the government resign. But that doesn't mean you want the government to resign. Trust us.

We'll continue to follow Canadian developments from a safe distance, meanwhile, continue to check Canadian bloggers CIVITATENSIS, Small Dead Animals and Ontario Tory nomination candidate Brent Colbert for the latest, on the American side, it's Captain's Quarters and Josef's Public Journal.

Evening Update: Tory leader Stephan Harper accuses banana republic junta leader Paul Martin of playing games, saying Martin is trying to delay another confidence vote until a point when he knows several key MPs will be unable to attend the session, due to illness. A Canadian Press report pretends the previous confidence vote wasn't real, echoing the Liberal Party line.


  • Just to be clear I am running in our version of the primary and hope to become the candidate tomorrow evening. Regardless please check back to follow along during the election to come.

    The Prime Minister has lost a confidence vote but is continuing to govern. He has put a motion forward for next Thursday that they consider a vote of confidence so it is expected that the election will be called shortly after the vote takes place.

    By Anonymous Brent Colbert, at 11 May, 2005 17:13  

  • Thanks Brent, I mentioned that before, but was unclear this time.

    Good luck tomorrow!

    I'll be updating this story shortly. All eyes are on your country now, let's hope for the best.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 11 May, 2005 18:44  

  • If you live in a "democracy" with no right to keep and bear arms, you are only a citizen until Der Schtaat decides you are a subject.
    You have just presented damning evidence of this.

    One wonders what the excuse will be next Thursday?

    By Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box, at 11 May, 2005 20:31  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Stuart, at 17 November, 2005 12:03  

  • ted,

    "You have just presented damning evidence of this" - hardly. The Liberals survived the legitimate non-confidence votes without breaking any rules. With Maloney's logic, Bush should be packing his bags - he's lost the popular vote afterall. Processes have to be followed in both countries, but Maloney conveniently ignores that. I liken Andrew Coyne to the US's Bill O'Reilly - As long as the story is shocking, it doesn't matter if the "facts" don't stand up to any scrutiny the day after. It's just my opinion, but I'd suggest you do some looking through Coyne's past work and checking his facts.

    As for the right to bear arms - in 1875 (United States v. Cruikshank), it was ruled that the Second amendment protects only the right of the states to maintain and equip a militia and does NOT guarantee individuals the right to bear arms. So I guess that makes the US 'Der Schtaat'. Fair enough, their corrupt government, big brother Patriot Act, and war mongering suit the new title.

    By Blogger Stuart, at 17 November, 2005 12:20  

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