What happened that day at Rideau

In an interview with Ontario News Watch, constitutional scholar Peter Russell suggests concerns about a Conservative backlash played into Michaelle Jean’s decision to grant Stephen Harper’s request to prorogue Parliament when the Conservatives were facing defeat to a Liberal-NDP coalition. Russell made similar comments in October 2010, but Peter Hogg, another of Ms. Jean’s advisors, dismisses the idea.

Peter Hogg, another former adviser to the previous governor-general, said Monday that he did not think this concern played a role in her decision. “That issue of the Tory propaganda machine did not figure in anything that I am aware of,” said Mr. Hogg, a leading constitutional authority and scholar in residence at Blake, Cassels & Graydon. “I do not know exactly what moved her but I don’t think that was one of the factors.

Russell has also said previously that Ms. Jean asked for certain commitments from the Prime Minister. Hogg has reportedly said that the coalition’s unravelling soon thereafter proved that the Governor General made the right decision.

In an interview with me before she left Rideau Hall, Ms. Jean offered the slightest of explanations for the decision.