Spoke to Ned Franks just now. Here’s the essential gist of our conversation.
Q: So if the NDP comes in and says, just lays out legislation that says, essentially, the Prime Minister cannot prorogue Parliament without a majority vote of the House of Commons, a majority of members, that effectively limits, from that points forward the Prime Minister can’t prorogue Parliament without a majority vote of the House of Commons?
A: Well, they wouldn’t say it that way. What they would say is the Prime Minister cannot advise the Governor General to prorogue Parliament unless a motion to that effect has been passed in the House of Commons. So it’s limiting the Prime Minister’s power to advise rather than the Governor General’s discretion … It would leave the Governor General open to prorogue without the advice of the Prime Minister.
Q: I thought it would require some sort of constitutional wrangling.
A: The Conservatives might argue that Parliament cannot legislate limiting the Crown’s discretion and reserve powers, but Parliament isn’t as long as it’s limiting the Prime Minister’s powers to advise. Advice within the meaning of the constitutional meaning of advice to the Governor General.