Engineered confusion


Channeling her father, Eugene Forsey’s daughter attempts to undo the misconceptions of our democracy that resulted from (or contributed to) December’s unseemliness.

Poor Dad! In the eighteen years since his death, ignorance of Canada’s system of government has proven to be a growth industry, involving the media, various academics and many of the politicians themselves. The result is that much, if not most, of what passes for fact on the subject of Parliament, minority government, prorogation, elections and so on, is actually completely false. Worse yet, much of it is subversive of our Constitution and frankly dangerous to “peace, order and good government.”

Eugene Forsey’s sainted text—How Canadians Govern Themselves—is available online.

(Helen Forsey links via Christopher Moore’s history blog.)


Engineered confusion

  1. That is interesting, in particular #6 & #10. Accoring to Forsey the GG allowed the constitution to be subverted by granting the PM his prorogation. #10 debunks the Harper propanganda that coalitions must be explictly stated before or during an election. When you really think it through the notion is insane, at least in our parliamentary system. Firstly only 2 of the parties were known or suspected to have had pror discussions about a possible coalition – note the cons haven’t released those tapes, so even that isn’t a certainty – the hapless Dion being co-opted [ sorry NDP faithful ] after the election. With no prior knowledge of a failure of confidence pending how on earth can you hold that the coalition must be in place at the time of the election – this would assume some kind of precognition on the part of all the opposition parties. Furthermore, and here’s where the insanity becomes most apparent, pror intent to form a coalition would rule out any possibility of forming an ad hoc arrangement when the govt of the day does lose confidence.SHs charge that they explictly ruled out a coalition [ particularly in the case of Dion] during the election is at worst bad faith on the part of 2 of the parties, but is in any case irrelevant according to Forsey. This isn’t the first time by any means that SH has brazanly run roughshod over our parliamentary conventions. And even worse, by Forsey’s lights has subverted our GG!

  2. The English media (not necessarily anyone here though) should examine and accept its role in perpetuating misconceptions about Canada’s government. With the never-ending comparisons between the Prime Minister and the American president, the wholesale importation of American language to describe our government and politics (lawmakers, executive, separation of powers, separation of Church and State, lame duck, etc.) not to mention the endless obsession with the US’s never-ending campaigning that inevitably causes Canadian journalists to seek parallels at home that either do not exist or do not have the same degree of public interest or import, it’s no wonder people are confused.

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