Constitutional experts across Canada advise Governor General to call on the opposition

    OTTAWA, Jan. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Academic constitutional experts are
publicly advising the Governor General to call on the leader of the opposition
to attempt to form a government if the Conservatives are defeated on a
non-confidence vote.
    The advice appears in an open letter signed by thirty-five law professors
and political scientists from universities across Canada following a December
poll that revealed widespread confusion among Canadians about the basic rules
of Canada's constitutional system.
    The expert letter points out that democratic legitimacy in our system is
based on the principle of responsible government, which requires that a
Cabinet have the support of the House of Commons to govern. If that support is
lost, the Governor General is no longer bound by the advice of the Prime
Minister and may either call on another leader to form a government or
dissolve Parliament for an election. As the majority of members of the House
of Commons have provided assurances of their support for a government led by
the leader of the opposition, the constitutional scholars advise that: "It is
our opinion that in the event of a non-confidence vote or a request for
dissolution of Parliament after only 13 sitting days of the House of Commons,
the Governor General would be well-advised to call the leader of the
opposition to attempt to form a government".

    The letter with the full list of signatories is available at:

For further information:

For further information: and Professors available for media interviews:
Barbara Cameron, York University, c: (647) 898-6187; Errol Mendes, University
of Ottawa, o: (613) 562-5890, c: (613) 799-0559; Peter Russell, University of
Toronto, h: (416) 923-4919; Bruce Ryder, Osgoode Hall Law School, c: (416)
305-8439; Jeremy Webber, University of Victoria, w: (250) 721-8154, h: (250)
384-2557; Margot Young, University of British Columbia, w: (604) 822-9685

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