Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Case of the Serial Proroguer - Part 4

(Artist Ptolemy Dean)

First encounter with the Judicial Committee....

I was led into an ornate office, clearly designed to impress. I was impressed.

I knew that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council had moved into new premises, but the ancient figure at work before me appeared to have been transferred with dust undisturbed. He was using a quill and perched at a really old desk. The quill stopped and the figure looked up.


"M'lord, I have with me a constitutional lawyer from Canada on an errand to the Judicial Committee from Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada. He has the correct seals."

The figure shuddered. "We don't have to eat them, do we?"

"No, I mean his documents are correct."

"Very well. You will please remain to take notes."

He gazed at me, speculatively. "Canada, eh?" he said. "Haven't seen you for a while. Interesting that you should turn up now. The last I recall was the Manitoba-Ontario Boundary dispute of 1884...."

"It was a significant ruling, but there have been other important decisions since then, the "Persons" ruling of 1928, for example, recognizing the existence of women...

He sighed. "Those were the days."

He returned from reverie. "So what brings you here? I'd thought we'd done with Canada."

"Unusual circumstances M'lord. Her Excellency, the Governor General, has become concerned about the integrity of the parliamentary process in Canada."

"How so?"

"The current Prime Minister of Canada appears to believe he is the head of a feudal aristocracy that rules by divine right. He has intimidated the civil service with some success, stacked the Senate, abused Parliamentary procedure in the interests of staying in power, and now is trying to control the judiciary. He has twice asked Her Excellency to prorogue Parliament on the flimsiest of excuses, and she assented with reluctance for the greater good, to avoid an open consitutional crisis."

I continued, relentlessly, "But Her Excellency fears that not only will the Prime Minister try to replace her with a more docile Governor General of his own choosing, but that he might try to abolish the office entirely."

"This is grave news, indeed. And what would Her Excellency have the Judicial Committee do about the Prime Minister?"

"Exile to St. Helena."

He straightened slowly. "There is precedent of course, and the Reserve Powers are extraordinary, but the exile of a sitting Prime Minister stretches them considerably. Does Her Excellency have less drastic alternatives to safeguard the Dominion?"

"Yes, in the event that St. Helena is impossible, Her Excellency requests leave from the Committee to construct a moat around Rideau Hall, connected to the remainder of National Capital District by a single drawbridge, and that the moat then be filled with Alberta Tar Sands."

"Your appeal is most unusual. Please allow me one day for consultations, and return here tomorrow at the same time."

I bowed and withdrew. I returned to my lodgings and dreamed uneasily of weasels.

To be continued......