Jul. 18, 2020

Opposition parties must act to remove Trudeau

Opposition parties and opposition members of the Privy Council must petition the Governor General to remove our Prime Minster from office.

A call to remove him from office does not need to result in a general election. The Liberals can name a new leader to take over as Prime Minister. Removing Trudeau as an elected member of the House of Commons is beyond the powers of the Governor General, but she can remove him from office for cause.

We have wondered into never-never land with Trudeau playing dual roles of the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter. We are left to play Alice, agape at the madness surrounding us and wishing dearly we could wake up.

The pretense of conducting investigations into the WE charity scandal make for some sensational reporting and newscasts, but misses the mark. Our government is irresponsible, secretive and unethical. We do not have a functional parliament. Opposition parties are in disarray and not holding the government to account although that is difficult when parliament is not in session.

On March 17, the government proposed Bill C-19 giving itself unlimited virus-epidemic-related spending power until March 31, 2021. The House of Commons was not in session. The government stuck a deal with opposition parties to convene a special and limited sitting of the House on March 24. Originally, the Liberals wanted powers to extend to March 31, 2021.

Opposition parties balked and refused to give unanimous consent. Following hours of back-room negotiations an amended version giving spending powers to the government until September 30 was passed without dissent. No vote was taken. Passage was unanimous. Opposition parties caved in to government demands.

The government refuses to recall parliament, blaming coronavirus regulations. We have a city full of empty areas so accommodating social distancing is not a problem. The refusal to recall parliament in the midst of both a health and an economic crisis is not acceptable.

We had a budget due in March. On July 8, we received a “fiscal snapshot”. The breathtaking figures contained therein are:

The Government of Canada’s debt program will increase in 2020-21 in order to finance the forecast financial requirement of $469 billion. Borrowings will increase so that the government can make the necessary investments to stabilize the Canadian economy.

The aggregate principal amount to be borrowed in 2020-21 is $713 billion, which is $437 billion higher than the issuance for 2019-20.

There is no information on income levels in either 2019-20 or 2020-21. We have been awed at $343 billion in borrowing this year and now we find out that is only 48% of planned borrowing.

The government argument that it cannot make accurate projections as the costs of stabilizing the economy are not known is ludicrous. There are limits to what we can borrow as a nation and still manage to continue to provide essential federal programs and services.

Constitutionally, quarantine is an exclusive federal jurisdiction. Yet, our government has allowed provinces to initiate quarantine regulation that have been extended month after month since March. It does not matter what health acts say or what emergency measures legislation says, neither can override our constitution. The federal government cannot evade its constitutional responsibilities.  

Provincial coronavirus regulations violate our Charter rights and freedoms, in particular the right to security of the person. We cannot be deprived thereof except within the principles of fundamental justice. There has been no indication that provinces have the right to override the Charter. Our rights to mobility, assemble peacefully, and association with those we choose are being violated.    

The Prime Minister is facing a third investigation for conflict of interest. He has been found guilty on two previous occasions. The Minister of Finance is also under investigation for conflict and has previously been found guilty. The government’s failure to ensure that its actions are honest and ethical are undermining confidence in the institution of Parliament and that is unacceptable.

From the letters patent setting out the Governor General’s responsibilities and authorities:

And We do further authorize and empower Our Governor General to constitute and appoint, in Our name and on Our behalf, all such Judges, Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, and other necessary Officers (including diplomatic and consular officers) and Ministers of Canada, as may be lawfully constituted or appointed by Us. 

And We do further authorize and empower Our Governor General, so far as We lawfully may, upon sufficient cause to him appearing, to remove from his office, or to suspend from the exercise of the same, any person exercising any office within Canada, under or by virtue of any Commission or Warrant granted, or which may be granted, by Us in Our name or under Our authority.   

John Feldsted is a political commentator, living in Winnipeg.