When Stephen Harper pardoned a group of Western farmers in a photo opp yesterday, he may have been abusing his powers, say critics.
Typically, when someone wants to be pardoned for a past crime they have to apply to the Parole Board of Canada. There exists, however, an “ancient power” in the hands of Prime Ministers who want to work around that process: the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which Harper used this week to symbolize the end of the wheat board’s monopoly.
Canadian governments have used the royal prerogative only 17 times since 1959 and NDP MP Randall Garrison calls it an “exceptional use of power” .
After Wednesday’s announcement, interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae tweeted that the granting of pardons is not supposed to be partisan and that Harper was “corrupting the process,” the Canadian Press Reports.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.