Deployment votes: a short Twitter rant in response to At Issue, 25 Sept 2014

on military deployment votes: covers govt politically, co-opt the Commons, silences the opposition. Yet votes are the way to go.

‘Respecting’ Parliament by undermining the ability of the House and opposition to perform their essential functions. Hmm.

Why didn’t govt hold a vote despite political advantages? Perhaps because exec realizes it needs some leeway and discretion in intl affairs.

As with treaty policy, govt has been careful to involve Parl to some extent, but to preserve prerogative discretion for when its needed.

Practice of Liberal govts was to preserve prerogative discretion entirely without the parliamentary pretence. ½

No qualms or apologies regarding the need and logic of discretionary executive authority from the Liberals of yore. 2/2

To wrap up: it’s not all that surprising that govts will occasionally do things that are not to their short-term political advantage…

…if they come to appreciate the importance of executive discretion over certain matters and don’t want to overly dilute it.

The longer govts shoulder the responsibility of executive authority, the greater appreciation they may have of why discretion matters.

Moreover, ministries are surrounded by a permanent bureaucracy that reminds them of the importance of executive discretion and authority.

So, sometimes govts don’t follow short term political gains because they realize how it might hurt their ability to govern well later.

As a bonus, here’s the exchange Wherry and I had about deployment votes versus voting on legislation:

Did we ever resolve my conundrum? If vote on mission dilutes accountability, should opposition always vote against legislation?

we did in fact. legislating isn’t a ministerial responsibility; it’s a parliamentary one. responsibility begets accountability.

likewise, when an opposition party votes for a govt budget during a minority, it is effectively shouldering responsibility…

for allowing that government to remain in power. And we’d expect them to withdraw confidence if they no longer believed it shld

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