Saturday, October 02, 2010

Peter Russell and the Governor General

According to a recent report on the CBC, the now-retired Governor General Michaëlle Jean extracted promises of a rapid return to Parliament and a budget that would pass before allowing the prorogation of Parliament in 2008. The story is particularly interesting because it gives the perspective of leading constitutional scholar Peter Russell, who was one of the experts consulted by the GG during the crisis. I'm supportive of Russell's interpretation of the action as not setting a binding precedent that all future Governors General must follow, particularly as I felt at the time that Jean had made the wrong decision.

The most interesting part of the story is the fact that Russell (whose book Constitutional Odyssey has long been a staple of my political history courses) is organizing a meeting of international experts for next February on the future of the GG's powers, and that the new Governor General, David Johnson, is supporting the meeting. It will be extremely interesting to find out what these experts conclude.

Of course, my own sentiments on the matter tend to line up more with U of T professor emeritus Michael Bliss, who opined in a letter to the editor of the Globe this week (not that I can find it in the Globe's revamped website) that Canada really needs to do away with its ties to the monarchy. But that's an entirely different debate, for another day.

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At 5:59 pm, Blogger Jordan Kerr said...

If you find that Bliss article do please post it.


At 3:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the surface, there are quite a few similarities between this prorogation and the 1873 prorogation by GG the Earl of Dufferin.

Do you have any thoughts about these two prorogations?


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