Ted Morton on Constitutional Conventions
The deeper problem is that having become accustomed to judicial re-writing of our written constitutional rules, Canadians collectively appear to have become de-sensitized to politicians re-writing of our unwritten constitutional conventions. …The public has reacted with indifference.Which is much more serious than Belinda. The Liberals willingness to simply ignore constitutional convention and schedule what they call non-confidence votes for partisan advantage illustrates a profound contempt for Parliamentary democracy.
It is this type of hollowing out of the public conviction behind foundational political traditions like "responsible government"—but also freedom of speech and property rights—that constitute the most serious long-term threat to our political liberty.
Once principles that were previously understood to be "above politics" are considered to be mere instruments of partisan self-interest, to be re-interpreted to suit short-term political convenience, we are into perilous times.
Underneath the posturings of the House of Commons is a thousand years of Parliamentary history and a base assuption: that the men (and women) elected to the House are, or will try to act like, gentlemen.
What that means is that MPs, Cabinet Ministers and the PM are, or rather, were, expected to keep their words, appologize for un-Parliamentary language, respect the rulings of the Speaker of the House and honour the finely woven fabric of the traditions of that House.
The Liberals in the last week have simply ripped that fabric to pieces for their own gain.
Morton points out that the public has reacted with indifference. Which is to be expected and which the Liberals have taken utterly cynical advantage of. Why should the public have the slightest clue about Parliamentary tradition or convention? Lord knows it is not taught in our schools and the television world could not possibly explain a set of ideas which have evolved to curb tyranny over 1000 years of English History.
One the gifts of an ahistorical, everybody included, multicultural educational system are people who have never been taught a thing about the history from which Canada's cultural and political traditions arise.
So they will have no clue at all about why it is critical to preserve and protect those traditions.
Which Martin and his gang know all too well.