Harper has already postponed the confidence vote from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8. Can he prorogue until January as some are speculating?
In a constitutional monarchy, except in rare cases – usually associated with election results, the dissolution of Parliament and the formation of a government – the Governor General has no independent discretion, and must follow the advice tendered.
All constitutional authorities are agreed that a government has the right to remain in office to meet the legislature when an election results in no majority position for any party.
Just as a Governor General has the legal power to appoint a government, he or she also has the power to dismiss it. However, this power is stringently limited by conventional rules.
Constitutional authorities generally agree that a Governor General may dismiss a government if it has been defeated on a clear vote of confidence and refuses to resign and call an election, or if another party has won a majority in an election and the existing government refuses to resign.
If the result of a general election is a plurality (i.e., not a majority for any party), the existing Prime Minister would probably visit the Governor General to indicate whether he or she intends to try to win a vote of confidence when Parliament returns, or to resign.
It is not clear how long the Prime Minister could wait before being required to notify the Governor General of his or her intentions. Neither is it clear at what point the Governor General could require the Prime Minister to make a decision. According to the written Constitution, a sitting of Parliament is required at least once a year.
There have been occasional suggestions in Canada that after an inconclusive election the Prime Minister would be justified in requesting a dissolution and therefore a second election without even waiting for the Parliament to meet. This view is almost certainly wrong. The House of Commons has been elected, and it should surely be allowed to meet and see if it can transact public business .
If the proper role for the Governor General were unclear, he or she would likely consult with his or her own advisers and with other constitutional experts.
The traditional view is that the monarch or the monarch’s representative can consult as widely as he or she wishes, both inside and outside parliament as to whom should be appointed as the new First Minister.
Her job is always to protect Parliamentary democracy and the Parliament that the people have elected has to have a chance to see if it can support a government.
So Parliament has the right to vote non-confidence.
"The opposition has every right to defeat the government but Stéphane Dion does not have the right to take power without an election. Canada's government should be decided by Canadians, not backroom deals," he said.
But that second sentence is an argument that the Governor-General should grant him a dissolution -- which she will not do -- not an argument that the House should be prevented from defeating the government.
Parliament has the right to decide. For Harper to seek to prorogue would be a coup against parliament. Can he prorogue to next December, on the grounds that Parliament need meet only once per year?