Megabytes large.png

Why Harper can't be impeached

Impeach Stephen Harper!

More than a few Canadians have been making that demand in recent weeks. The robocall scandal, the (temporarily withdrawn) internet privacy legislation and a contemptuous attitude towards opposition parties in Canada's Parliament and other critics has led to rallies and protests across the country at which the impeachment cry went up.

But it ain’t gonna happen. Although some constitutional experts say it is theoretically possible to impeach a Canadian politician, many others say it isn’t, and not one believes it is remotely likely that Harper can be impeached.

But why do so many Canadians believe that Harper CAN actually be impeached?

I think it’s because we’re so overwhelmed by American media that -- consciously or unconsciously -- we think we are Americans. American television convinces us we live in crime-ridden cities where diligent CSI teams work to bring crooks in front of tough-minded District Attorneys. Local television news shows regularly rely on newsclips from American sources to fill in the gaps due to their layoff of their own reporters. (When was the last time you saw a local newscast that didn’t include at least one American violent crime, fire or human interest story?)

Canadians can’t even watch a DVD without having to sit through a warning that the FBI will be busting down our door and slapping us with a $250,000 (U.S.) fine if we even dare to think about violating its copyright. And if we choose to go to the movie theatre instead of watching that DVD, almost all the films at the local cineplex will be from Hollywood.

And right now, as America lurches towards the climax of its four-year election cycle, every Canadian newspapers, television, radio and online media is saturated with stories about the primaries and the vagaries and inanities of the Republic candidates. It’s no wonder many Canadians believe that, like Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, Stephen Harper can be subject to impeachment proceedings.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid this domination. The United States is our neighbour and most of our population is clustered close to its border. The majority of us speak the same language. Their population is much greater than ours and because of this, America has many more media outlets -- whether mainstream, alternative or new media. 

Still, it’s good to try to resist the onslaught, to remind ourselves that we are a distinct country, with our own health care system, forms of government, values, spelling idiosyncracies and cultures. Remember, we have a queen, Elizabeth II, not a president, Barack Obama. We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not a Bill of Rights. We have Crown Attorneys, not District Attorneys. There's no First, Second or Fifth Amendments, Right to Bear Arms or separation of powers. 

As for impeaching Harper: according to some authorities it is technically possible in Canada because it has been done in England and we inherited the unwritten part of our constitution from England. Other constitutional experts say no, because it hasn’t been used in England since 1848 and many English authorities consider it obsolete there. There's no mention of impeachment in the various written Canadian constitutional documents, such as the British North America Act, the Statute of Westminster, or the Constitutional Act of 1982.

But even if you grant its theoretical possibility, there is almost zero chance of it ever happening. Because of its ambiguous constitutional status (to put it mildly) and the lack of clearcut procedures, I doubt that either the House of Commons or the Senate would ever vote for it, especially with a Conservative majority. The Tories would maintain party discipline and vote against it. Even if Harper led a minority government, the House would instead vote No Confidence in the government, precipitating either a change in the governing party or an election, rather than embarking on the constitutionally dubious tactic of impeachment. 

So what can Canadians do should the robocall scandal deepen and widen?

Must we wait until 2015 for another election? There are possibilities. Significant popular pressure on individual Conservative MPs might convince some to sit as independents, vote against their own government, or call for a leadership review or independent judicial inquiry. Mass demonstrations and a huge public outcry might do the same, or even (very unlikely) convince the Governor General that he has to step in.

But such protests would have to be wide-scale and persistent. I can’t see it happening. Certainly not when there’s The Hunger Games, American Idol and the Republican primaries to watch.

More in MegaBytes

Robot Vacuum and Desert Bus: Patience as a video-game virtue

What's the slowest video game you've ever played?

Russian meteor video: Why do so many Russian drivers have dashcams?

Meteor strike in Russia: still from Dashcam video (YouTube)

Tamagotchi is Back: Virtual pets for your Android phone

Tamagotchis invade your smartphone. 2013 is the new 1997.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.

Why Harper can't be empeached.

Actually we can call on the Governor General, they actualy head of the Canadian Government to desolve Parliment and call for new Elections. I say Canadians should floud his office call for just that.

OK then - Let's damn well do it!!

This sad excuse for a government cannot possibly be left in office until 2015!  Canadians will not stand for it!  In a way, it is unfortunate that we are such a polite and civil society, else we would have turfed them all when the election was called - which was a direct breach of the new law they had recently  passed!!

And that would have been before May 2, 2011, and  the thousands of subsequent 'irregularities' that are STILL being reported!  In  light of all this, it is impossible for most Canadians to believe that they actually have a 'majority', slim as it supposedly was.

I am inclined to think that soon the Governor General is going to have to rise to the occasion and actually nullify this government, as well as any and all of the ludicrous pieces of legislation that have been passed, and that will have to include trade agreements, whatever underhanded deals he made with China, etc.  We need to take back our country and start with a  new slate - and it cannot wait until 2015!!

Sad that the natural resources of our country, along with our democracy, dignity, and reputation, have been raped, pillaged, and sullied by a morally bankrupt group of thugs that will stop at nothing to attain power!  And they have the audacity to call themselves Conservatives, let alone Christians!!

Would this be possible?

What about a 'Recall Election'?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_election

TV?

You say yourself in this article that it is technically possible to impeach Harper, but apparently the only reason any Canadian would believe this is because of television? You have that little faith in your own countrymen? I don't own a television, and I know that Harper can be impeached. Despite his stronghold in our government he is in fact an elected prime minister in a democratic government. He is not a dictator. For that reason alone he could be impeached.

dissolving parliament

Write the Governor General demanding that he dissolve Parliment and call an election. Bring legal charges upon anyone and everyone involved with the election fraud and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Put an end to this undemocratic American ultra right-wing style election fraud once and for all.

Get rid of the Cons.

You said it was done in 1848, then we can do it again. WE ARE A CAN DO COUNTRY, :>]], that's what the (barf) tar sands commercials love to say.

What are you talking about?

I learned about impeachment in high school social studies class.

 

I don't watch TV 'cause it's garbage, but you're right that our media is completely saturated with southern tales

re: Why Harper can't be impeached

transparency: I have been living abroad since 1999 and have not been in my native Canada since 2004. However, I am still a citizen.

I mostly agree with you, Mr. Lavender, both on the pollution of Canadian political discourse from American effluvium and on the constitutional difficulties related to impeaching a Canadian Prime Minister.

However, Canadians who wish to see Mr. Harper abandon his position should pay close attention to the last two words of the previous paragraph.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Despite the de facto nominal power of the Sovereign, de jure the monarch is the monarch and may depose a prime minister.

A petition signed by a large enough number of Canadian citizens requesting the removal of Mr. Harper and adressed to Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of Canada, (the correct honorific is extremely important to avoid invalidation based on the Canada Act of 1982) could not be ignored.

The media would just love it (a fly in the diamond jubilee’s ointment), it would be extremely embarrassing to the government, the time of year is right... and, stranger things have happened: it might even work. I see no way to claim it is not a valid political action without rewriting the entire constitution.

At the very least, there would be talk of reviewing the cp’s leadership in the smoke-filled rooms. Usually, there is no lack of ambitious backstabbers in any political party, Canadian conservatives included.

In case Canadians have become hopelessly Americanised, there is a better, faster and more entertaining way than impeachment:

Occupy the Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper, MP.

It may be possible to fit two, perhaps three smallish protesters into the gentleman.

What goes around comes around

Jeannie Graham wrote:
... "Sad that the natural resources of our country, along with our democracy, dignity, and reputation, have been raped, pillaged, and sullied by a morally bankrupt group of thugs that will stop at nothing to attain power!  And they have the audacity to call themselves Conservatives, let alone Christians!!"

Gee Jeannie, you now fully understand and know exactly how Indigenous Peoples felt when the European invaders landed on our shores.  Audacity indeed, and Christians at that!!! Shocking.

Another way - OUT WITH HARPER

Just as Gordon Campbell had to leave office before the BC Liberal mandate was over, Harper could be ousted. There is even a provision for a majority of MPs to vote a member out because of something very serious such as contempt or treason.

Especially if your MP is Conservative, write letters to the editor and send copies to your MP about why this government has to go and why you want your MP to stand up for what is right. There are surely some Conservative MPs who will not want to be tarred with the same brush as Harper (although some deserve to be).

Yes Sherry, I do!

[quote=Sherry Dion]

[quote=Jeannie Graham] ... "Sad that the natural resources of our country, along with our democracy, dignity, and reputation, have been raped, pillaged, and sullied by a morally bankrupt group of thugs that will stop at nothing to attain power!  And they have the audacity to call themselves Conservatives, let alone Christians!!"

Gee Jeannie, you now fully understand and know exactly how Indigenous Peoples felt when the European invaders landed on our shores.  Audacity indeed, and Christians at that!!! Shocking.

Yes, Sherry, I do, and felt the same way when I was taught history at school.  it is thoroughly disgusting.  We see it time and time again .. most recently, Libya - it is truly stomach turning; especially when we are older and can see/understand the real reason(s): Greed, Gold, Oil, Natural Resources, and Power, instead of just believing all the BS in the mainstream media.  I hope we are strong enough to stand this onslaught, and afterwards, smart enough to ensure this can never ever happen again by a governing party!

We must protect our land

We stand at a point in the history of a great nation where everything it was built upon has been put in jeopardy. The Canada we love, and the world respect was not built by us, but I feel it has fallen on us to either defend it, or to sit iddly and watch its destruction. I never imagined that I would live in a time when this choice would be put before me, but nevertheless this is the case and there is no cowering from it. We must protect our land, our people, and their future with every resource available. This government must be ousted and a clear message must be heard by all parties and politicians. They must know who we are and what we stand, and what we will not stand for. I think that we can and we must bring about a vote of no confidence in this government. We have to do this because it is our duty, just like it would be our duty to protect Canada from a foreign foe, we must now protect it from a domestic treasonous foe. We must do by every legal means at our dispossal. We need to write letters to MPs, to the media, raise awareness through social media, and put our money where our moral compass points. All of us here know what is broken, we know nobody else will come to fix it. It is up to us.  

Why don't we start governing

Why don't we start governing "OUR" country. Harper is a puppet of the banks, along with many others. The Queen, to hell with the queen, she's British this is Canada. Also, lets start printing our own money- why is it privately owned.

Bank of Canada is not privately owned but

the bank of canada has been treated as it is privately owned and private banks given the right to "make" money in the form of credit which is also an amusing problem for this and every government before as the "bankers act" was an add on to the constitution that was never ratified through referendum which given the time it was written it was required to be.

whatever it takes many people believe that the harper government must go as they have ceased to be a democratic body and have become s cist on the backside of Canada.

  sadly most CONs will not vote against harper (i dare almost to say all) as they are proper little sheep and i wonder if they realize that for all intent and purpose are shooting themselves in the foot since it is not harper who elects them but the constituents many of whom are tired of being lied to, having the truth coverd up and having the harper government sell off our country and rights to other countries and corporations who do not even obey the smallest measure of our laws

 

the Gray state from US to

the Gray state from US to Canada welcome to America

we as the collective people

we as the collective people have more power than people who write this article like to give us credit.

 

and together, we can do much more than impeach one crooked politician

 

people are waking up, dont let this article tell you what you can and cannot do

IdleNoMore

"Mass demonstrations and a huge public outcry might do the same, or even (very unlikely) convince the Governor General that he has to step in. But such protests would have to be wide-scale and persistent. I can’t see it happening."

But this was written before #IdleNoMore. Mass demonstrations and persistent protests are exactly what is happening now. There is a chance...

Prime Minister Harper

If Harper can't be impeahced that says it all. So much for this being a democratic country it's just another socialist republic. 

Sounds like you are buying

Sounds like you are buying what this regime is selling you. The only reason he cannot be impeached is because Canadians are talking about it instead of doing it. 

queen commment

Why DO we still have some othe nation's queen on our currency? She's not our queen. We are a democracy. Get rid of her along with Harper.

 

Impeaching a Canadian Premier

How do we go about impeaching a Canadian Premier?

 

 

Seeing as how Harper and

Seeing as how Harper and Conservatives are all for overthrowing governments abroad - lets gain a movement to physically throw out Harper, and write a DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION that allows us to throw out politicians.

Do you think people sat around and thought to themselves "Well, we can't throw out Hitler because it says we can't on paper."

No. You throw him out, then get vote of proper laws. And not with laws drawn up during quasi imperial / monarchic/ theocratic / despotic rule.