Minority Governments for Dummies (and Tory PMs)

  • the voters elect the House of Commons to govern
  • the leader of the current government (the government before the election) has the right to meet the House and attempt to gain its confidence, however usually the party with the most seats gets the first opportunity to be Prime Minister and lead the government
  • responsible government requires that the Prime Minister maintains the confidence of the House of Commons to govern
  • a minority government cannot survive if it attempts to govern as if it had a majority
  • a Prime Minister cannot bully the House of Commons into supporting him by threatening an election if he doesn't get his way
  • there is always a Prime Minister in waiting willing to attempt to gain and maintain the confidence of the House if the Prime Minister cannot or is not not willing to
  • a government is legitimate, and only legitimate, if it has the confidence of the House of Commons
  • minority governments can work if a Prime Minister recognizes it is the House of Commons that was elected to govern, not him by divine right
  • minority governments can implement, and have implemented, important measures including Old Age Pensions, Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan
Minority Governments in Canada | Mapleleafweb.com


Radical Centrist said...

Your 2nd point is incorrect. The incumbent government gets first shot at trying to see if it can command the confidence of the House. For example, in last year's election in the UK, Labour, the incumbent party, finished second to the Tories, but they looked at options, including negotiating with the Lib Dems, to see if any coalition or agreement could be arrived at that would make numbers work. When it was clear that this wouldn't happen, FIVE days after the election, then Brown resigned. Same rules apply in Canada. I've blogged extensively about this on my own blog.

rww said...

Radical Centrist is correct and I have modified the post accordingly.