Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bring on the Reserve Powers

An open letter to the Governor-General of Canada

Vancouver, BC
May 11, 2010

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

Governor-General of Canada
Rideau Hall,
1 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada K1A 0A1


I write as a respectful citizen, loyal subject, and an ardent defender of the Magna Carta.

Today, Tuesday, May 11, 2010, is D-Day (Documents Day), is the deadline set by the Speaker of the House of Commons for all parties to provide a workable plan for the review of documents, hitherto withheld, regarding prisoners taken by Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The possibility has been raised that the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, currently swanning around Europe at our expense when he should be at home taking care of business, might call an election on the documents issue. In my opinion, that would be a very stupid election on the single issue of the supremacy of parliament over the executive, which was decided some centuries ago, this apparently being news to Steve.

As you well know, I am sure, the issue before the House is contempt of Parliament. This will not be resolved by an election.

I am writing to respectfully – very respectfully – request that you not dissolve Parliament before the issue of contempt has been resolved. As a fan of British Parliamentary democracy I point out that you hold the Reserve Powers, which are considerable if ill-defined, and that you should not hesitate to use them in the best interest of the nation.

I recall an instance some decades ago when I was living in the United Kingdom, when a citizen, frustrated in every attempt to regain possession of his own house from a foreign tenant who refused to leave, and who had exhausted every means to regain lawful repossession, wrote to the Queen, and – fabulously – the tenant was on his way out of the country the next day as persona non grata.

I am not suggesting that you exile the Prime Minister to St. Helena, as would be my personal solution to the documents problem, were I to be Governor-General. I am suggesting you should feel free to say, “No.” I believe, speaking as an ordinary citizen, that you are well within your rights to tell the Prime Minister that there will be no election until the order to produce documents has been dealt with to the satisfaction of the House.

Go, Habs, Go.

Yours sincerely

Neil Kitson