Don't let Harper 'duck a confidence vote:' former GG
Published Thursday, December 4, 2008 10:28AM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:40PM EDT
The former governor general who presided over the downfall of the Joe Clark government in 1980 says Governor General Michaelle Jean must not let Prime Minister Stephen Harper "duck a confidence vote."
Ed Schreyer told CTV's Canada AM in an interview aired Thursday morning, just hours before Harper headed to Rideau Hall to meet with Jean, that a government must have the confidence of the House in a parliamentary democracy.
The Tories have not said what Harper's meeting will be about, but political analysts and reporters on Parliament Hill have said they expect the prime minister to ask for a prorogation. If granted, the prorogation would end the current session of Parliament before an expected confidence vote on Monday, one Harper would likely lose.
"Any group that presumes to govern must be willing to face and seek the confidence of Parliament, and it mustn't be evaded and it mustn't be long avoided. I can't put it any more succinctly than that," Schreyer said.
Schreyer then hammered home his point even more clearly and in no uncertain terms.
"I must come back to your use of the words, 'to duck a confidence vote,'" he said responding to a question.
"That must simply not be allowed to happen."
Schreyer has said that Parliament could take a short break over the holidays, but not solely to allow the Harper government avoid a confidence vote.
Schreyer, a former premier of Manitoba who ran federally for the NDP in 2006, was the governor general when former Progressive Conservative prime minister Joe Clark's government was defeated in a confidence vote in 1980.
He said the Office of the Governor General will make decisions based on procedures, traditions and the law. He added that he had and maintains a very high regard for Clark, but he did not immediately grant his request to dissolve Parliament.
"In the event that an alternative group was willing to come forward to form government, I would have felt obliged to grant a commission to form such a government," he said.