The federal election is close – really close. Dangerously close. Why? Because Canada has no rules about what happens if the vote splits and no party ends up with a majority of MPs in the Parliament.
The lack of clear, fair, public rules caused a crisis after the 2008 federal election when the Governor General allowed Prime Minister Harper to shut down Parliament to avoid a vote against his government, and a possible change in government.
If a vote split happens again Governor General David Johnston — who was chosen by Prime Minister Harper and has protected Harper and protected the Conservatives in the past — will choose which party gets to be the government.
Governor General Johnston, unelected and unaccountable, also gets to decide when Parliament will open, whether MPs support the government, and whether and when another election will happen.
In England, Australia and New Zealand, political party leaders and MPs agreed years ago to clear, public rules so what happens after an election is fair for all the parties, and for voters. Most countries in the world also have clear, public post-election rules.
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Most countries in the world have clear, written rules that are enforceable and that ensure their President or Prime Minister cannot abuse powers, ignore the results of an election, and that they have to respect the will of the legislature.
In England, Australia and New Zealand, political party leaders and MPs agreed years ago to fair rules so what happens after an election is clear and fair for all the parties, and for voters (to see details about these 3 countries, click here).
The first step is for all political party leaders to say publicly that they agree to a list of fair rules. The party leaders can do this right now. The next step is for MPs in Parliament, to pass a resolution or law that sets out the rule. The rules should cover the following key areas: what happens after an election (especially if no party has a majority of MPs in Parliament); when the legislature must be opened; when it can be closed; what a vote of confidence/non-confidence is; what can be included in omnibus bills; the freedom and powers of individual politicians to vote how they want on resolutions and bills; how members of legislature committees are chosen; when elections are held; what a Cabinet can do during an election campaign period until the next Cabinet is chosen.
It won’t be easy — nothing worth doing ever is – but all together we can win rules that ensure fair post-election actions by the Governor General and federal political party leaders.
Please help keep this campaign going until we have rules to stop unfair post-election actions. To donate now, please click here.