PM: HERE'S THE QUESTION THOUGH. UM IS IT A CORRECT ASSUMPTION TO MAKE THAT WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS UP, IF WE'RE IN A MINORITY SITUATION, WHICHEVER PARTY ENDS UP WITH THE MOST SEATS SHOULD FORM THE GOVERNMENT?Now, the Cons have a history of turning their campaign promises into something far short of enforceable commitments once it counts. And so I'd still be concerned about the prospect of Harper trying to move the goalposts if it suits his interests.
SH: Yeah that's my – that's I think how conventionally our system works and for good reason and that's – that's my position. Obviously our view is we're going to win and we're going to win strong. Ah but ah my position has always been if we win the most seats I will expect to form the government and if we don't, I won't.
PM: SO EVEN AS THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT, IS YOU'RE JUST A COUPLE OF SEATS BEHIND, YOU WOULDN'T TRY TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO –
SH: No. No.
PM: YOU WOULD RESIGN.
SH: Yeah. Well I would not serve as prime minister. No I think you – you have to have the most seats in Parliament to go to the governor general and that's – you know, in this country in our system, we have what's called a Westminster style system, um and we don't – we don't, you know, elect a bunch of parties who then as in some countries, get together and decide who will – who will govern. We ask people to make a choice of a government. And so I think that the party that wins the most seats should form the government.
But Harper seems to have conceded publicly that the range of interpretations as to what happens if no party holds a majority involves only a contest as to the relative importance of the ability to win a majority in the House of Commons as compared to a party's claim to a plurality of seats - suggesting that he at least isn't willing to defend the other mechanisms he could use to cling to power no matter how resounding an election defeat his party faces. And while it hopefully won't be necessary to point back to that acknowledgement, Harper's public position now should make it clear to the Governor General and the public that Harper would have no legitimacy whatsoever if he tries to reverse course later.