Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Innovation: in-house letters to the editor

Letter to the editor oddity in the Globe today:
Arthur Milner (Rethinking The Inevitable – letter, Sept. 8) says that, if Michael Ignatieff defeats the government, with support from the other opposition parties, then the Governor-General “can ask the leader of the party with the second-largest number of seats to try to form a government.” If the Harper government is defeated on a confidence vote, it would be absolutely without precedent for a Governor-General to deny Stephen Harper’s request for dissolution and an election.

Norman Spector, Victoria
The oddity is not on the substance, Spector is probably right. The window for the Governor General to turn to the opposition leader to form a government without calling an election is thought by some to close around the six month mark. (Although one could see an argument being made to challenge that six month convention. It probably didn't arise out of a time period like the present where we're about to have our fourth election in about five years. At a time of significant national deficit. Such factors might cross a Governor General's mind, one might think. And it's not like Mr. Harper has been beyond making that argument himself. So it's not like it's 100% out of the question that she might say no. But that's probably all academic.)

So what's with the Globe publishing a columnist/blogger's letter like this anyway? Hogging the newsprint real estate, if you will. Seems off... was very nice of Spector to take the time to pen a letter. After all, no need to let that pesky little suggestion that there is no need for an election to remain unaddressed.