Friday, December 04, 2009

What Is This Parliamentary Democracy Of Which You Speak

Brian Topp from yesterday:
The Prime Minister’s very first line captured the whole Conservative case: “Mr. Speaker, the highest principle of Canadian democracy is that if one wants to be prime minister one gets one’s mandate from the Canadian people and not from Quebec separatists.”

That, of course, is not true. The highest principle of Canadian democracy is that Parliament gets its mandate from the Canadian people, and then selects a ministry from among its ranks to do its bidding. But truth had nothing to do with what happened next.
I don't live in the country Topp describes. Objectively, what he says is true, but the Conservatives (who decry everything post-modern) have adopted subjective truth with both hands. In their opinion, Canadians directly elect the Prime Minister. That this is not so and never has been, in the whole of our constitutional history means nothing. They "believe it is so" and so it is. As Mr. Flanagan so aptly put it (in another context), "It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be plausible."
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