They obviously did not teach any Canadian history at the private school in Michigan attended by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. He seems to be unaware of the King-Byng-Thing. That event was in 1926. It was when prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was reputed to have given the one-finger salute to Lord Byng of Vimy, the British Field Marshall who was serving as Canada’s governor general at the time. It was the last time a governor general had the nerve to say ‘No’ to a Canadian prime minister.
Not that Jagmeet is the only complainant. There was an op-ed in my Toronto Star recently by a writer suggesting that an election would be an unnecessary distraction at this time. My problem with this was that I was not sure what the critical issues where from which it would distract us. Most Canadians are so bored with this pandemic that we really need something to distract us. We need to get a life.
Personally, I have always enjoyed elections. They are a time of important discussion of where our country is going and how we are going to get there. It is a time when you can reject one political party and take your chances with another. It is a time of entertainments when your incumbent MP can beg you to return him or her to parliament—thus becoming eligible for an excellent pension later in life.
And what is wrong with the prime minister calling an election? It is a tradition in Canada for the prime minister to tell the governor general that it is time for an election. Even when parliament decided to have an election every four years, there was still the proviso that the prime minister could always call for one when he or she felt the need.
It is hardly of concern that the liberals are leaving more than a few things undone. If there was nothing left for parliament to do, would you want to send them off for a sabbatical? There are always things to get done. If there were not, why would we need a parliament? In case you have not noticed, parliament tends to follow the need, not get ahead of things.
And, as for Jagmeet Singh’s complaint: When it comes to Privy Council matters with the governor general, the leader of the third party in parliament does not get a seat at the table. Maybe we can refer to the matter as the King-Byng-Singh-Thing!
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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