with imminent predictions of a “Green Party breakthrough,” there is no trope of Canadian election coverage more predictable and tiresome…
Along with imminent predictions of a “Green Party breakthrough,” there is no trope of Canadian election coverage more predictable and tiresome than condescending media “explanations” of Canada’s parliamentary system from self-appointed experts. While purportedly neutral, such explainers, clarifiers, guides, and so on, exist primarily as a tool of argument, rather than education. Their purpose is to intimidate the reader into accepting a certain political outcome as normal and uncontroversial, and not contest or question it. Important facts are accordingly omitted or only selectively reported in order to make the argument appear as powerful and undebatable as possible….
Currently, the press is spending much time and effort attempting to normalize the idea that Justin Trudeau could remain prime minister of Canada even if the Conservative Party wins the most seats in the House of Commons in the October 21 general election, and the Liberals drop to second place….
This, we are told, would be perfectly defensible, since supposedly an incumbent prime minister “gets the first chance to test the confidence of the House of Commons,” or, in other words, gets to remain in office for some unspecified amount of time between the election and the first sitting of parliament (the scheduling of which he controls)….
Accepting this premise would obviously be of maximum strategic benefit to the Liberals.
It would give them the ability to deny an election night victory to Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party, turning what would ordinarily be a clear-cut win into something empty and illegitimate.
However, it should not be overlooked just how radical and unprecedented such a move would be. If the Conservatives win more seats than the Liberals, it will shatter 94 years of precedent if Andrew Scheer is not permitted to become prime minister.
Despite being a supposedly entrenched tradition of “our system” no incumbent prime minister in modern Canadian history has ever sought to hang on to power and “test the confidence of the House” in the way some are suggesting Trudeau should do.