Stephen Harper’s king-like powers set bad precedent

There's a need for change in the way our country is governed

Re: Democracy wilting in Ottawa (Our View, June 15), Chipping away at democracy (Erin McCracken, June 8)

Having voted Conservative since Diefenbaker trounced the Liberal Party in 1958, I was pleased to see Harper finally achieve a comfortable majority in Parliament.

That said, with a clear election outcome of what now amounts to a two-party system of the left versus the right, the prime minister, any prime minister, continues to have the potential of acting as a law onto himself, with the dictates of caucus solidarity suffocating the regional voices of individual MPs by rigid party discipline.

Teetering, as we have been since Confederation, on the very brink of democracy, the centralization of power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has effectively hollowed Parliament’s role.

No lasting progress will have been made to correct the country’s “democracy  deficit,” and chart a course toward the restoration of public trust, without a truly democratic separation of powers into a functional system of political checks and balances.

They would be constituted by three independent branches: a legislative branch to make laws, an executive branch to enforce and carry out the laws and a judicial branch to interpret the laws.

When shaping their own constitutional concept of government in 1776, the guiding principle for America’s revolutionary founding fathers was that there should never be another “king” (i.e. a branch of government wielding the power of a king).

By contrast, having failed to provide a functional system of political checks and balances, Canada’s cloned copy of the British parliamentary system left us constitutionally and democratically constipated.

Unless there is a truly democratic separation of the executive branch (the PMO) and legislative branch (Parliament), any Canadian prime minister of whatever political stripe will be able to act like a king, wielding autocratic powers (1) over an unelected Senate, (2) over an appointed Supreme Court, (3) over the legislative process of Parliament and, last but not least, (4) over whomever gets to be governor general.

But, perish the thought, such constitutional separation would get us dangerously close to going down that dreaded republican road.

E.W. Bopp

Tsawwassen

Just Posted

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read