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Australian Senate joins Harper in guffawing the Canadian Senate; but what about the rest of the Constitution PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 00:47

2007 September 11

Australian Senate joins Harper in guffawing the Canadian Senate; but what about the rest of the Constitution.

PEJnews- Joan Russow- Global Compliance Research Project - Harper would have received guffaws in Australia as well if he had mentioned the long standing first past the post electoral system. He would also have been laughed out of many legislative bodies, if he had revealed that he leads a minority government and under the Canadian Constitution, ratification of an international agreement requires simply the accession by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.



Did Harper also reveal to the Australian Parliament, that he leads a minority government, and even though on many international issues such as climate change and indigenous rights he receives no support from any of the opposition parties, he can essentially function as a majority government and bind or refuse to bind Canada internationally?

In Australia, there is proportional representation where there is a correlation between the percentage of votes and the election of members. In Canada with the “first past the post system”, a political party could become government with little more than 33 % of the vote. There is no requirement to form coalitions, and the minority government even without the support of any of the other political parties can bind Canada internationally.

The practice in Canada of ratifying international agreements is disconcerting enough because the agreements are not required to be brought to the floor of the House of Commons, but it is even more egregious when the government in power, like the “new” Conservative government is a minority government functioning generally without the support of any of the other three opposition parties.

Harper with his minority government, along with Bush who is below 30% of the polls, and Calderon whose election is still being questioned, will be binding Canada, United States, and Mexico to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) that will lead the three countries in a direction that will exacerbate their disregard for international peremptory norms.

Canada has been embarrassed recently, internationally, when it refused to adopt the International Declaration on Indigenous Peoples. Canada’s failure to ratify this Declaration has been described as “disingenuous” by members of the international Community. Harper is carrying on the tradition of the former Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, when his government refused to add the “s” to” indigenous people” in 1992. In the interim, however, the Canadian government under the Liberals had given international support for the Declaration. This Declaration will be brought to the UN General Assembly, on September 13th, 2007 and at that time it is expected that it will receive the required number of votes, to pass. Even though the Opposition parties representing the majority of the Canadian people, support the adoption of the Declaration; it is not expected that on September 13, Canada will not adopt the Declaration.

Representing two thirds of the Canadian public, the leader of the Canadian Opposition Parties have conveyed to the United Nations their concern about the failure of the New Conservative government of Canada to adopt the Declaration. Even though the Opposition parties represent the majority of Canadians, the minority government, with the support of the Prime Minister of Canada and its cabinet, can act internationally on behalf of Canadians.

Next time Harper has the opportunity to address a National legislative body, perhaps he should really regale them by fully disclosing Canada’s dirty little Constitutional secrets.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 10:02

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