When one is so intent to building a blogging career (however far as one would consider blogging a "career") on nitpicking, it's only inevitable that this practice is going to get one burned.
Especially when one isn't terribly bright.
Such is the case for Audrey of Enormous Thriving Plants, whose efforts at nit-picking recently resulted in what is going to be a very humilating experience for her.
It isn't her first tragic experience trying to argue over Canadian political science.
In an earlier attempt at nitpicking, Audrey objected to the notion that Canadians vote for their Prime Minister. Instead, Audrey decided to argue the matter from the perspective of a 19th century-era political theory that allowed Canadians to elect Members of Parliament, then the Governor General to select the Prime Minister according to their unencumbered judgement.
Audrey's argument overlooked more than a century of Constitutional convention which has clearly impressed upon the office of the Governor General that whichever party wins a plurality in an election is expected to be designated as the government.
(A clear exception was the King-Byng affair, wherein William Lyon MacKenzie King, having failed to win such a plurality, approached the Governor General before a government was appointed with a temporarily-workable coalition with the Progressive Party. It helped that Mackenzie King declined to resign as Prime Minister following the election.)
Audrey failed to recognize the statement as one that was simultaneously positive -- reflecting the effect that an individual's vote has on the selection of the government through their effect on the formation of Parliamentary caucus -- and also normative -- reflecting the understanding Canadians have about this process when they cast their vote.
Audrey failed to recognize that, however indirectly, Canadians do get to elect their Prime Minister -- unless one is living in the 19th century.
Recent attempts at nitpicking, however, have revealed that Audrey very much is living in the 19th century -- although living in it as if she knows nothing about what actually happened at that time.
Audrey's ill-conceived attempt at nitpicking was based on a number of assertions:
-That Canada is not formally a confederacy.
-That Canada is a decentralized constitutional monarchy.
One of these statements is actually true in the sense that Audrey asserts.
Oddly enough, it's the one concerning an argument that was never in place. (A search of the post in question for the word "confederacy" yields interesting results.)
Audrey would, of course, be correct to suggest that Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy. She is actually correct to state that Canada is highly decentralized.
However, Audrey's argument fails on a crucial point: in 1867 the provinces that joined to form the Dominion of Canada -- Eastern Canada (Quebec), Western Canada (Ontario), New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island -- were colonies of an entity that no longer exists. Moreover, the federal state that was established was also a colony.
But this is no longer the case.
The British Empire has long been dismantled. Canada attained full sovereignty over a period of 115 years. Among the key milestones were the Balfour Declaration of 1926, the Citizenship Act (1946), and the re-patriation of the Constitution in 1982.
If Canadian Confederation -- the agreement under which the country was established -- were dissolved, sovereignty could not be retained by a federal government that would cease to exist. Furthermore, there is no British Empire to recover sovereignty that was conclusively ceded in 1982.
The only political entities to which full sovereignty could revert under such conditions is to each province. (The Territories are a much more arguable point.)
As a result, a Canadian state that is not a Confederacy by nature of its creation has effectively become a Confederacy by nature of its function, and as a consequence of historical circumstance.
Unless, of course, Audrey would like to argue that the federal government has the power to unilaterally re-draw the boundaries of each province and force them to unify with a foreign country.
Which would make the idea of Audrey as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister an intriguing prospect:
"Guess what, provinces? You're our bitches. That's right."