Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Constitutional Legitimacy vs. Democratic Legitimacy

This afternoon I heard a U. of T. Law Professor talking about the decisions the Governor General can possibly make. He kept on repeatedly using the words "Constitutional Legitimacy". I fully understand their meaning but surely there is another type of "legitimacy" that deserves equal, if not more, consideration?

Since I'm an engineer and a numbers guy, let me provide her with some quick notes:

Math Primer for the Governor General

Choice #1: Give control to Le Coalition
Constitutional Legitimacy = 100%
Democratic Legitimacy: 0%

Choice #2: Force another election to be held
Constitutional Legitimacy = 100%
Democratic Legitimacy: 100%

I ask once again: What legitimate objection can anyone provide arguing against Choice #2?


Update: Unlike the hate mail I received from one commenter, it looks like I'm not such a big dummy after all! In this article, Ted McWhinney, a constitutional expert, lawyer, and former Liberal MP had some thoughts to share on this subject:

Ted McWhinney, a lawyer, former Liberal MP and constitutional expert, told CTV's Mike Duffy Live that Jean does not need to give Harper an answer right away and should talk with a number of advisers.

He also said Jean needs to weigh public opinion on the matter.

"Public opinion is about 50 per cent of constitutional law," McWhinney said Wednesday. "The common sense element is crucial in these things.

McWhinney said there "is a heavy burden" on the opposition to prove that they can form a stable coalition government.

He said it's important for the opposition to put an agreement down on paper, like they have already done, but said the agreement needs to be signed by the Bloc Quebecois in addition to the Liberals and NDP.

McWhinney called the current agreement as is "unsatisfactory."

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