The True Nature of Crown Prerogative and Responsible Government

James Bowden's Blog

When PhDs Don’t Understand Westminster Parliamentarism

The debates in Westminster parliamentarism on the role of Crown-in-Parliament vs. the Crown-in-Council mostly result from legitimate differences of interpretation of Crown prerogative, such as between Dawson’s and Forsey’s respective schools of thought. Unfortunately, sometimes the debates result from factually incorrect assertions that even PhDs and tenured professors propagate, perhaps hoping that their credentials and their name will suffice in place of arguments or citations! Christian Nadeau, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montreal, provides one such example.

Nadeau wrote “Constitutional Rule Bending: When Angry Citizens Push Back and Fight for Democracy” in the same issue of Canada Watch to which Peter Russell contributed the article featured in my previous blog entry. Essentially, Nadeau interprets the prorogations of 2008 and 2009 as evidence Harper’s desire to govern without the Crown-in-Parliament, and emblematic of a contempt for parliamentarism. Ironically, Nadeau shows contempt for Westminster…

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