Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The reviews are in

The Ottawa Citizen:
For many years now, constitutional experts and other political observers have lamented the concentration of power in the prime minister's office. They've warned, persuasively, that this concentration of power erodes Canadian democracy -- and it doesn't matter who the prime minister is or to which party he or she belongs.

Harper's arbitrary abuse of the power to prorogue has caused many Canadians to wake up and realize that all might not be well with our parliamentary system. Although the Governor General is in theory able to restrain prime ministerial power by denying a PM the right to use prorogation for partisan purposes, Canadians have discovered that in practice prime ministers do what they want.

Have the powers of the Governor General atrophied to the point they don't exist? Is this a good thing, in that the GG is unelected and shouldn't have real powers anyway? Then again, aren't the aides and minions in the PMO also unelected, yet wield more power than any legislator except the PM himself? Everyone in Ottawa has heard anecdotes of 20-something staffers from the PMO scolding senior cabinet ministers, and loving it. That can't be great for Canadian democracy, either.

What began as a debate revolving around an arcane term is turning into a much bigger and more interesting conversation.

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