Friday, November 26, 2004

THAT IS WHAT THE PRIME MINISTER IS THERE FOR

I seem to be all about defending the constituted authority these days. Sometimes though, Jack Layton just gets too annoying. (Skip the obvious sometimes? joke.)

From a CNEWS story on PMO plans for the upcoming presidential visit:

Layton, leader of the fourth party in the House, is apparently upset that he likely will not get to meet with President Bush during the president's visit to Canada.

Layton said Martin has forgotten he's heading a minority government and that opposition parties collectively hold more power.
"Martin is not able to speak for all Canadians," Layton said, adding he wants to grill Bush on the missile defence program.

First, thanks Jack, for reminding us, yet again, that this is a minority Parliament. Remind us again how many seats you lead in that minority?

Second, Paul Martin is the Prime Minister. Of course he can represent all Canadians! In foreign relations that's his job. He holds the confidence of the House. He is the elected leader of the nation. Just because the government is in the minority does not mean that the country gets governed by committee.

Thirdly, when Layton says the opposition collectively holds more 'power,' he's wrong. What he means is that the opposition holds more votes. If Layton does not want Paul Martin representing Canadians then he is free to use his vote to defeat the government at his next available opportunity. However, if Layton doesn't want the Prime Minister in a minority situation to represent Canadians, then that is a whole different problem.

Finally, I would not let anyone represent Canada who says they want to 'grill' a foreign leader. These situations call for diplomacy. If Layton were to meet with the president he would only use the opportunity to score political points with his supporters, which is exactly what one would expect from the leader of the fourth party, and that is exactly why said leaders should not attend such meetings.

Posted by Matthew @ 4:45 PM