Let he who is ‘democratically legitimate’ cast the first stone


In regards to Richard Van Loon’s piece in today’s Citizen, as discussed by our Potter, one question that I would quite sincerely like to see the professor answer: In keeping roughly with the same criteria, how much of what has occurred in Parliament over the last two years would he consider “democratically legitimate?”


Let he who is ‘democratically legitimate’ cast the first stone

  1. Yah, like a MINORITY government making every vote in the H of C a confidence vote.

  2. Given that the electorate has been watching the last 2 years and had an opportunity to pass judgement, and still returned Harper to power in larger numbers than before…completely democratically legitimate.

    • It pains me to live in a country in which so many people don’t understand what democratic legitimacy means. And don’t even seem to care.

      • It pains the rest of us to have you here T Boy. Fairly obvious win-win solution wouldn’t you say?

    • By that standard, how could anybody know whether or not the coalition is legitimate until the election after it takes power?

  3. Let me sum up the great philosophical debate that has been occurring over this: Every thing and every party that I support is democratically legitimate, and all others are illegitimate.

    • Furthermore, when the party I support does something technically legal, all vague talk of “spirit of the law” is irrelevant.

      When the party I do not support does something technically legal, the letter of the law is unimportant compared to ill-defined hurdles of “legitimacy” and “democraticness”

  4. Legislation and budgets were passed and adopted byt he House of Commons. The House of Commons has been made up of individuals elected according to the law.

    They individually made decisions that resulted in the passage of those matters. They did so as the representatives of their respective communities and, as such, are accountable to them for either their active support or passive permission for those results. Yes, what has passed has been democratic.

    By the same token, a coalition would have been democratic in that, again, it would have taken a collective majority to sustain. It isn’t the signatures of three leaders that matters; it would have been the sustained support of a majority of the House of Commons that mattered.

  5. I disagree. You’re also attributing motives to the Canadian electorate as if it were a monolith. Most Canadians didn’t vote for Harper, so it’s likely a majority are displeased with his governance style.

    Just because he increased his vote share by less than 2 ppt (mostly by demoralizing opposition supporters to drive down turnout) does not mean his actions are legitimized or approved by ‘the Canadian people’.

    • ‘You’, of course, being john.

  6. An intersting question. Could somebody with a fimer grasp of Parliamentary procedure than me tell me whether making just about everything in the house a matter of onfidence is legitimate, as this would give a minority govt defacto majority status, would it not? Unless of course yr willing to risk an election every other week. I suppose it must be [legit or at least legal ] since this is effectively what SH did.

    • I have no idea about procedure, but the politics seem obvious: that was a bluff nobody seemed prepared to call. Apart from the political strategic element of forcing a new election in a hurry, they also had to worry about money. The conventions that inform this kind of thing aren’t written down. The just ‘are’. He double dog dared everyone and they gave in.

    • It’s perfectly legal and consistent with protocol, it’s just an incredibly shitty way to do business, and terrible for democracy.

    • It’s worth noting that considering every piece of legislation to be a confidence motion instigated a procedural war between the government and the opposition. Any dysfunction in committees was primarily a function of the neutralization of the HoC as a place to constructively oppose the government. As I said, a shitty way to do business and bad for democracy.

    • Confidence cuts both ways: the House can say it doesn’t have confidence in the Government, and the PM can decide he doesn’t have the confidence of Parliament. In the first case, he is obliged to resign; in the second case, he can choose to resign / ask the GG to dissolve / hand over power. Election laws aside, Harper could have dissolved Parliament at any time after the first 6 months or so of his first mandate, whether the House voted him down or not; he chose to make every vote a confidence vote so as to place responsibility for an election on the Liberals. He was effectively saying, “Vote with me or I will exercise my right to ask the GG to dissolve.”

      • the wonder is these guys waited 3 yrs to form a coalition.The weakness of the liberals was the central factor. I wonder how Iggy will stop this from happening all over again – or is SH a humbled man? [ i better go and have a toke before writing any more in that vein]

  7. When I start reflecting on the last three years of Harper governance, I’m starting to wonder if there was anything at all that was democratically legitimate.

    • Yeah that’s my feeling. He’s skated around the edge of parliamentary / legitimacy and right over the spirit of it. [ metaphorically of course. As no-one knows whether he does skate.] Maybe of interest: when Harper came up to the NWT he had a photo-op driving a dog- team. Turned out well except when the local paper intrviewed the driver it turns out H fell down pretty soon , got snow in his mitts and had to go home. No biggie but: S. Harper not a sleighder.!

  8. By definition democratic means a vote was taken place and since the only party that consistently sat on it’s hands and used every rule in the book to avoid being democratic was the LPC then quite obviously the only illegitmacy was the Lib’s appraoch which is nothing unusual consider how they just chose their own lso called interim leader thenLPC threw Dion under the bus so fast he didn’t have time to get a transfer and this was at the first sign of grumbling from the voters. Myfavorite part was the way Iggy played it though (give him some credits for this brilliantly played a totaly bloodless coup ala shades of Paul martin)l especially as he was going on and on about immediate action we need unity and then out goes Dion and now it’s all well we shall see and then the stupidest quote I have ever heard form an oppostion leader in his position = we shall hold them on a tight reign – 1 step short of megalomania.

    • Stopped reading after “By definition democratic means a vote was taken place …”

      Democracy doesn’t just mean voting, you know. Even totalitarian regimes hold elections.

    • “Megalomania” Seriously? Well i guess the precedent’s already been set.

  9. Hmmm…reasoning and libel have failed to curb the fabulously talented yet somewhat misguided young Aaron’s penchant for preposterous partisanship, so let’s try a different approach:

    three year min. gub’mint
    when the average is three years
    your narrative is bunk

    boobiegate – that’s it?
    cleanest government e var
    or so says data

    whats with the questions?
    you’re the guy in the commons
    how bout you write stuff?

    fearmongering press
    made in newsroom recession
    tim horton’s lineups

    eyebrow boy is toast
    no match for our boy Stephen
    rubs canajuns wrong

    your narrative blows
    not adjacent to the truth
    good luck on pogey

    • “cleanest government e var”

      Thanks for makin’ my day.

Sign in to comment.