Parliamentary Law Bars Harper From Re-Election: Canadian PM Found Guilty of a Culture of Abuse of Parliament

This just in from on our fossil-fuel lovin’ Prime Minister, who said prior to oil sands development, Alberta’s pristine boreal forest was an “unuseable mass of dirty sand”:

On Friday March 25, 2011 the Canadian House of Commons found Prime Minister Stephen Harper guilty of contempt of Parliament. According to parliamentary law, contempt of parliament is a federal crime. Being that Harper has been found guilty of a crime Harper is barred from seeking re-election on May 2, 2011.   No federal government or cabinet minister has ever been found in contempt before.

The vote by the Canadian House of Commons is very much the same as an impeachment of the president of the United States of America. In the US if a president or US lawmaker is impeached (a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity) that person is removed from office and cannot run for office again. Richard Nixon avoided a vote of impeachment by resigning as president. Harper was essentially impeached from the government of Canada for the federal crime of contempt of Parliament. As a direct result of the House of Commons vote the Harper government was dissolved.  As Stephen Harper was found guilty of unlawful activities he is no longer deemed fit to be the Prime Minister of Canada and an election was called to choose a new leader.

If Stephen Harper has been found guilty of the federal crime of contempt of Parliament why is he running again for the same office that he was removed from? Parliamentary law bars Harper from running again in the upcoming election. Under the Constitution Act, 1867, Parliament is empowered to determine the qualifications of members of the House of Commons. The present qualifications are outlined in the Canada Elections Act, which was passed in 2000. The acts bar individuals found guilty of election-related crimes and are prohibited from becoming members for five years (in some cases, seven years) after conviction. The House of Commons voted unanimously to judge Stephen Harper on election-related (parliament) crimes and declared Harper guilty of the charge of contempt of parliament. The House of Commons vote handed Harper a guilty conviction and as punishment for his crime his leadership was immediately stripped.

The prime minister of a minority government only holds his or her office as long as the “confidence of the house” is maintained. If members of the lower house lose faith in the leader for whatever reason, they can call a vote of no confidence and force the PM to resign. Such a vote of no confidence was made against Stephen Harper on Friday March 25, 2011. That vote not only declared that Stephen Harper no longer had the confidence of the house but the house also found Stephen Harper guilty of the serious offense of contempt of parliament. Contempt of Parliament is the crime of obstructing the parliament in the carrying out of its functions, or of hindering any Member of Parliament in the performance of his or her duties.

The highest duty of a Prime Minister of Parliament is to uphold the Constitution of Canada, which includes the rights and privileges of the House of Commons and the duties owed to the Queen’s representative in Canada. Stephen Harper keeps on failing in his duties on both counts as evidenced by 2 consecutive prorogation of Parliament. Stephen Harper forced the Queen’s representative to dissolve Parliament just so the Conservatives could avoid losing a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

The first undemocratic shut down of Parliament by Stephen Harper was clearly to avoid the scrutiny of a House of Commons committee over the mounting evidence of willful complicity by the Harper government over the transfer of Afghan detainees to a substantial risk of torture. This is a war crime and one of the most serious allegations any government has faced in the history of Canada. Stephen Harper did everything possible to hide from a vote of confidence, and on Dec. 4, 2008 Stephen Harper unilaterally shut down Parliament. The Governor General had little option but to grant the undemocratic request to avoid a political crisis in Canada. It had put her into an untenable position.

There was no precedent in any parliamentary democracy anywhere in the world where a democratic parliament was shut down to hide from a vote of confidence. It opened the door for other abuses of the rights and privileges of the majority of Members of Parliament elected by Canadians. Harper has gone through that door again. This time the Governor General did not even merit a personal visit by Stephen Harper to be told to shut down Parliament until early March. Respect, even for the Queen’s representative, by Stephen Harper is in short supply.

This undemocratic criminal behavior by Stephen Harper is another piece of evidence of a major shift in Canadian constitutional democracy taking shape. First, there was the unconstitutional behavior of the Harper government to deny the committee uncensored documents despite a subpoena by the House of Commons. Secondly, there was the Harper-ordered boycott of the committee by the Conservative MPs at the committee. Thirdly, we saw the forced adjournment of the Military Police Complaints Commission inquiry of the Stephen Harper’s complicity in torture and the Stephen Harper firing of its chief investigator, Peter Tinsley. This commission, a quasi-judicial tribunal has been stymied in its attempt to determine the truth over the detainee transfer issue.  Finally, there was the unprecedented attempts by Stephen Harper to slander Richard Colvin, a senior Canadian diplomat who was a key witness in the Canadian Afghan detainee issue, for just doing his job of speaking truth to power and then accusing anybody who supports him of either being Taliban dupes or undermining our brave Canadian military heroes.

These are serious examples of abuse of executive power over Parliament, the Governor General, the public service and ultimately the Canadian voters who elected MPs to make Parliament work. There is only one person who is responsible for and has been found guilty of such abuse of power, for such disdain towards the authority of the people’s parliament, for such disrespect towards the Canadian people and for total disregard for the rule of law. His name is Stephen Harper.


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0 thoughts on “Parliamentary Law Bars Harper From Re-Election: Canadian PM Found Guilty of a Culture of Abuse of Parliament”

  1. I haven’t seen the specific parliamentary motion but I believe that it applied to the government, not specifically and personally to Stephen Harper. That being the case, I doubt that a legitimate case can be made to bar him from being a candidate.

    Please do not misunderstand; I do not want to see the CPC returned to power but I believe that we must approach the election campaign issues objectively and I think that this posting is flawed in stating that Harper was found personally in contempt of Parliament.

    • What I – and many other Canadians – find annoying is that Mr. Harper chooses to shrug off the finding of contempt of parliament for a government – the first one ever in Canada, and the entire Commonwealth. Harper has been trying to pretend his government fell because of the budget, and his comment “You win some, you lose some” is indicative of how little he values our parliamentary institutions, and – by extension – our democracy.

      • Christine, most of us are aware that this election was forced by the CONServatives, despite their bogus claims to the contrary.
        Perhaps they were not paying attention in Parliament when Michael Ignatieff was speaking. I for one, clearly heard him refer to “contempt of Parliament” and not the budget.
        Of course, this would be nothing new…any time the CONServatives don’t want to listen, Harper just prorogues Parliament. Such a thoughtful fellow.

        • I’m appalled that the Mainstream Media is letting the Cons get away with putting such a spin on it – I called into our local CBC radio show after a discussion right after the election was called that focused only on the budget! To their credit, they did play my whole 2-minute rant the next day! Those of us that understand this spin need to call our radio stations, and write our local and national papers, and contact our local candidates (sounds like you’ve been doing most or all of this already).

  2. reply to Alan Burke
    unfortunately its like saying that the drunk captain of Exxon Valdez crash
    was not personally responsible for the crash,
    the operators in the engine room were for following the captain’s orders

    • Maybe the CBC is the wrong media to call on – several times lately during interviews with MPs i have seen the interviewer slapped down by a comment about their “objectivity” when a probing question is asked. Frankly i have the same concern about the elections canada debacle – Harper’s record shows he’d rather shut down a regulator than allow them free rein.

      • Yes, it’s clear that the CPC have come up with a winning (so far) strategy against their critics, which in their eyes includes the CBC: put their critics on the defensive with polarizing accusations, and then carry on with their CPC talking points. It was so refreshing during the NDP leadership race to hear all of the leadership candidates articulating their vision of Canada, and their policies, rather than evading questions and regurgitating stale old talking points. What a difference from the CPCs!

  3. Christine…EXCELLENT article.

    I have been trying to get the facts as to what the parliamentary consequences are of the Harper Government being found in contempt.

    I have emailed the conservative party website, and the liberal party website, but have received no reply to date. I did this several days ago.

    On Friday last, I visited Dr. James Lunney’s local office in Nanaimo, B.C. to pose the same question. He is the PC member for that area.

    His office representative did not have the answer, but she kindly sent my question off to the conservative researcher in Ottawa. Within 2 hours I received a reply, but all it stated was that “constitutional experts around the country are scrambling to find the answer”.

    This is a question that I sincerely hope gets answered long before the election date of May 2nd arrives. I doubt that the PC’s will be the ones to provide a truthful reply. In fact, it was this very question that led me to your website.

    Since I am personally doing my part to reduce my dependence on oil, I think that our PM should be doing the same. Thus far, his demonstration has been little short of dismal.

  4. Who ever wrote that study on stevy was right on. I would go a step further and say be very afraid of this guy and his goons. If he sees that hes losing we might be in for a very rocky election not seen in this country. So far we ve had a p.m. the likes of we ve never had before either. Look where this guy has taken us. Its like a bad dream. Am I the only one who thinks its so serious? Can I get some feed back? Remember all the tricks the north african dictators did before they? Ok stevy thank god doesnt have the same resources lets face it this is canada but he has already done things no other prime minister has done and Im afraid he will continue to do things that others but him will do.

    • You won’t find me disagreeing with you, Howard – Stevie Spiteful has moved Canada waaay to the right, directly underneath the radar of most Canadians. See today’s blog posting for an entertaining perspective on Harper as an “evil astronaut”. I really wonder what May 2nd is going to bring, but I don’t feel particularly hopeful. Somehow the Liberals and NDP can’t make hay out of all Harper’s egregious offenses.

    • I have the same fears articulated by Christine. Harper has taken the country I love and was so proud of and turned it into a dictatorship – and not a benevolent one, either.
      I’ve wondered about the fact that a conviction for ‘contempt of Parliament’ appears to mean absolutely nothing. He has been convicted of a crime but has carried on his destructive reign with total impunity.
      Canada has become a joke in America and a subject of pity and ridicule in other countries.

      • Yes, but October is just around the corner, Mary. I had a surge of hope yesterday after reading the leaked drafts of Pope Francis’ encyclical as well as the latest encouraging moves towards decarbonization by the IEA. I imagined that what it would be like in Paris to have a completely different Canadian government represented. How wonderful that will be!

  5. Canada is, much like the USA, proxy controlled by the Rothschild family of Zionist Jew Banksters primarily through its lock on the Bank of Canada.
    As long as Steven (the Zionist) Harper throws Canadian Blood and money against the objects of Israel’s ire, Harper is sure to get a free pass from the Zionist controlled press/mass media in this country.
    Any one who denies that the Zionist Jewish Lobby is proxy controlling this country from the top down is either a liar, a dufuss or a coward and unless this issue is addressed without fear of the rabbit ear worn card of “RACIST’ being played by the enemy, nothing will ever get solved here.

    • Roy, this kind of talk is disturbing. While I don’t agree with Harper’s radically pro-Israel agenda, to start seeing zionists behind every bush is just plain paranoid, IMHO. We in the west have a difficult anti-semitic history that we need to keep in mind when making sweeping statements painting a whole group of people with a broad brush.

      • I don’t want to argue with anyone about anti-semitism or zionism. However anyone interested in zionism in canada should check out this article: It’s really interesting. It’s also really interesting (and depressing and angering) to be reading this article three years later after seeing harper run and fix in order to win the may 2nd election. I for one would like to know what can be done to get harper out before waiting for the 2015 election, which would have happened in 2014 if not for that sham of an election in may 2011. Not to mention how can we reverse some of the laws and policies he’s implemented in the meantime?

  6. He is in power because the multinational corporatins that own this country want him to be in power. Want to get rid of Harper you will have to get rid of them first, or along with him.

    • I agree that Harper and his buddies are in bed with Big Oil, but I still have a hope that the Canadian system isn’t as riddled with corporatism as our American neighbours. Harper would certainly like to change that, though!

  7. Hi Christine,

    I came across your article as I am searching for articles on Canadian Parliamentary law. I am interested in determining whether or not Canadians could stand together in a class action suit against Stephen Harper. I am very concerned that if he is allowed to fulfill his “majority” position he will continue to dissolve our sovereignty under CETA. Do you have any more information as to options under Canadian law?

    • Hi Kelly —
      Thanks for dropping by, and for your question. I’m afraid I’m not trained in law at all, Canadian or otherwise. But I do know that the Council of Canadians ( ) have been very vocal about the CETA deal, and they would probably have access to legal advice on it. As well, you might want to touch base with the folks at, they are gathering opposition to Harper’s disregard of our parliamentary traditions and the rule of law. Let me know if you are able to organize a class action suit – I’d be happy to sign up!

  8. the queen owns the property and gives us use of it .she also holds the the right to let us have a corperation of canada . the un makes the rules and can make us do nething with a mandate.

  9. After reading all this i find it unfathomable that this man cannot be stopped.It scares the pants off me to know what he and his arrogant insiders have and are doing to a very proud nation all in the name of big business and perhaps an extremely large offshore account.I again will reiterate what i have said in some articles i have written that being a politico does not rquire any form of Morality,Integrity,Ethics,Honesty,Honor or Patriotism.It also is not the greatest roll model figure being presented to our young men and women.It just points up that honesty is not the best policy.God help the future of our country.Tis a shame.Of course thats only the opinion of a guy who worked for 43 years of his life laboring under a total mis apprehension.

    • I laugh at replies like yours. The Talmud of the Jewish owners of Canada specifically states that non-Jews are nothing more than animals with slightly higher intelligence levels put on earth to serve the Jews. It is plain to see that this is exactly how we are treated by these mongrelized bastardized race of perpetrators.
      You want peace and justice, then face reality and look at Jewish monopolization of the world economy… if you have the balls to do it!

  10. actually, this is the first I have head of this and quite frankly nothing has changed. Harper is still doing whatever the heck he wants. re-naming the government of canada “Harper Government”, also showboating on a snowmobile in the northern canadian territories, and when addressed by a village elder and was told that his behaviour showed disrespect, and was against the rules there, he replied by smugly stating something to the effect of –I am Harper, PM of this country. >I< make the rules. there is a long list of things he has done that do not reflect the wishes of the majority in this country.
    I had no idea he was found in contempt of parliment and if that is the case, why is he still PM??? why is he running again? I will tell you why. He figures he makes the rules, so any rule that doesnt suit him does not apply to him. I fear that it will require force to remove him from Parliament, and now WHO will step up and do the job?
    And they wonder why Canadians are not voting. Its hopeless, thats why

    • and then there are those canadians like a close relative of mine who told me when I asked her before the may 2nd election who she would be voting for that she would vote for ‘stephen harper because he looks better in a suit than any of the other candidates…” so I’m sure the election fraud issue had a major impact on the results, but it is appalling to me to hear someone I once thought of as being intelligent tell me something like that and then wonder how many others base their votes on stupid reasons like that? Like a friend of mine told me she has to vote conservative because her entire family is employed by the oil industry in fort mcmurray and to vote against the conservatives would be like voting to take her parent’s and siblings jobs away… once again someone I had thought of as a very intelligent person, who is highly intelligent, yet lets stupid personal bias’s influence her political decisions. In my opinion the world of government needs to be removed from the hands of politicians and should involve more greatly the input of the esteemed scientists whom harper government has been actively silencing for years now.

      • Hi Dawn –
        The most important thing to do, I believe, is to take the steps that you can as an individual to make change. That doesn’t guarantee that Harper will be gone in 2015 – although he seems to be getting shakier by the day, thanks to questionable/possibly illegal steps by his govt that are now seeing the light of day. While the problems can seem overwhelming, and it can feel easy to shrug one’s shoulders and not even try to work for change, in my experience the truth is that when you start working for positive change the most important thing that changes is you! Vandana Shiva has said – and I’m paraphrasing that we shouldn’t weigh our chances of success before taking action, but rather the moral imperative to act.
        Thank you for caring!

  11. I am not a CPC supporter nor a supporter of the current prime minister.
    Someone help me understand how this article (without, near as I can tell) a current (2015) comment from the writer offering the proof that would force media to cover it across Canada. Wouldn’t that have been more impactful?
    As it is, there seems to be some missing information.

    • Layne – please check out the links at the bottom of the article.

      This is posted with a link to the original article, as well as to The Yes Men spoofs, and is meant to be read with a grain of salt. Clearly, Harper has continued in the position of PM even after being found in contempt of parliament. What that says is that parliamentary rules seem to be more gentleman’s agreements than actual rule of law. Otherwise he would be behind bars.


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