Fire The Prime Minister?

When Freedom Convoy 2022 was announced, the truckers’ supporting groups stated the intention was to go to Ottawa, where they hoped the Governor General and the Senate acting together would form a citizen’s commmittee and act as a government, in effect removing the Prime Minister and the House of Commons. That goal has since been withdrawn.

My first thought was that these people are so naive; that isn’t the way things work in a democracy. Then I got to thinking.

The Senate has nothing to do with the House of Commons and who serves as Prime Minister. However, in theory the Governor General could fire the PM, though it has never been done. Or at least not directly.

In 1926, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, facing a non-confidence motion, went to the Governor General and asked for an election. Given that the Conservatives had more seats in the House than the Liberals, and that there had been a recent election, the GG, Lord Byng, refused. He instead asked the Conservative Leader, Arthur Meighen, to form a government. Meighen’s government lasted six days before losing a confidence vote, and Lord Byng then granted Meighen’s request for an election. King campaigned more by criticizing the GG for his actions than the Conservatives, and won a majority.

The current Prime Minister, as all PMs, serves at the pleasure of the Crown. So GG Mary Simon could, in theory, remove him. In practice though that will not happen. And not because he recommended her for the job.

The Prime Minister still has the confidence of the House of Commons. Constitutionally ther is no reason for him to be removed. Yes, his party only received 32 per cent of the popular vote in the 2021 election, but that is the way the system works. (Changing the system is on the long list of his broken election promises.)

Even if her excellency was convinced a change of Prime Minister would be the best thing for the country, his policies would remain. After all, who would she ask to form government? In all probability it would be the Deputy Prime Minister. Nothing would change except who was in charge.  She is unlikely to ask one of the Opoosition leaders, especially given what happened in 1926.

I suspect the majority of the protesters knew their demand was an impossible one. Which means the question becomes, what would they settle for? What would convince them to end their occupation of downtown Ottawa and go home?

My guess is they still feel that they haven’t been heard by the person who counts, the one who introduced the policies that have cost them their livelihood. Who added insult to injury by calling them “misogynist” and “racist” and denied them unemployment benefits. The Prime Minister has been steadfast in his refusal to meet with them.

Perhaps if they felt they had been at least listened to, if he had shown that he understood their pain, then they would voluntarily go home. It doesn’t seem a lot to ask. But with his extremist language he has painted himself into a corner. And if we have learned anything about Justin Trudeau in his six years on the job, he is never wrong. Well, that is one viewpoint.

If the protesters failed to disperse after a meeting with the Prime Minister, maybe Canadians might be more sympathetic to their forcible removal. But the longer the government remains intransigent, the more support they will gain. 

Canadians, tired of pandemic measures that contradict the government’s claims it follows “the science,” are having second thoughts about this Prime Minister.

Canadians are a law-abiding people for the most part. You wouldn’t expect much sympathy for any group that shuts down a city. But each day of the protest more and more people arfe questioning what the government has been telling them.

This week, two Liberal MPs (so far) have called for an end to the government’s practice of using pandemic policies to divide Canadians. A week ago such an act would have been unthinkable.

The truckers are managing to make Justin Trudeau look like the bad guy in this situation. You would think he would want to fix that.

10 comments

  1. As I recall, those flying into the country had to quarantine. which didn’t sound like a lot of fun, but was seen as necessary to curb the spread of the virus. Doesn’t sound like free rein.

    1. As I remember it, until they instituted mandatory hotel quarantine in February of 2021, the quarantine requirements were looser. Certainly those who returned to Canda by air in March 2020 didn’t have the same restrictions.

      My issue with many of the restrictions is that too many of them have come with so many exceptions as to make them of questionable value. The quarantine requirements for some, but not for others (such a hockey players) didn’t strike me as being scientifically sound.

  2. That puts Trudeau with the majority of PMs of any party affiliation!

    As they say, we deserve the government we elect–and I don’t see another federal election anytime soon.

  3. That puts Trudeau with the majority of PMs of any party affiliation!

  4. “Canadians, tired of pandemic measures that contradict the government’s claims it follows “the science,” are having second thoughts about this Prime Minister.” What pandemic measures contradict the claim that science is being followed?

    1. The first example that comes to mind is that the virus could only be passed by those enering Canada at land borders, whihc were closed, while those flying into the country were given free rein.

  5. Unfortunately, the Tories don’t have a leader–or anyone in the race (thus far) that seems to have any ideas about how to deal with this crisis. Lots of whining on their part, but no plans. Maybe someone with an actual idea will step forward for that party.

  6. If only there were a viable alternative. Trudeau has sure made his share of “mistakes”, and then some.

    Try to remember that Steven Harper was also refused a request of the GG to dissolve Parliament and call an election–he was told that the people elected the government and as PM, his job was to make it work. If only our MPs could see that partisan politics has no place in a crisis–everyone needs to work together, regardless of party. Like it or not, Trudeau is the only one doing anything beyond hand wringing. The Tories need to focus on the crisis, rather than self-promotion and photo ops.

    1. Actually Harper was never refused an election call. In 2008 he asked the GG for prorogation, which was granted over the objections of the opposition parties.

      No Prime Minster has been denied an election request since 1926.

  7. Excellent observations about what the Prime Minister should do. I don’t believe he is a leader who wants to find a common ground to unite Canadians. He wants all Canadians to see things his way.

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