This is a preview of a premium article. Subscribe or Log In to gain access.

Are the governor general’s reserve powers a safeguard of democracy? Two weeks into the first session of Parliament following last October’s federal election, with the minority Conservative government facing imminent defeat over an ill-advised financial statement and a possible Liberal-NDP coalition government waiting in the wings, the media suddenly began to speculate about whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper would ask Governor General Michaëlle Jean to “prorogue” Parliament. Given that prorogue is not a word in common use in Canada, making it unlikely that this idea originated with the popular press, and that the ship of state is a vessel that leaks from the top, it seems apparent that the source of the idea was the Prime Minister’s Office. However, for an explanation of what “prorogation” was and whether it should be granted, the media turned to academics.

Subscribe or Log In to read more.