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 That goal has since been withdrawn.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.