Fixing the system

Starting with the premise that last December’s proroguing of Parliament was “entirely inappropriate, democratically illegitimate and improper,” Brian Topp uses the last installment of his coalition series to suggest two changes.

First, the House of Commons could and should legislate to direct the prime minister to never provide advice to the Governor-General that interferes with the functioning of the House when a confidence motion is before it. This would hopefully make it more difficult for a prime minister to avoid democratic accountability to the House of Commons through a politically illegitimate and improper use of the Royal prerogative.

Second, the House of Commons could (and I think should) legislate that confidence votes must come in one of two forms. Option A: the government is defeated and an election is called. Or option B: the government is defeated and immediately replaced, at that moment, by a new one, specified by the House of Commons in its confidence vote. Subject of course to final approval by Her Majesty, as represented by our Governor-General, who in these circumstances will hopefully be more attentive to the views of the House of Commons.

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