The Parliamentary System
Bob Wakeham, his bio says, "has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador".
Not much of those three decades has been spent learning about the niceties of the Westminster model and the Canadian constitution:
The Liberals then launched a decade-long reign of power (under Wells, his legacy dominated by a national issue, the scuttling of the Meech Lake Accord; then Brian Tobin, the mouth, and the most unabashedly ambitious politician this province has ever seen, Confederation Building a pad to launch himself upalong into politics and business; and then Roger Grimes, the winner of a nasty leadership race who'll always be remembered for manipulating the parliamentary system to stay in power much longer than he had a right to).This corner is no great defender of Roger Grimes, but this is absolute hogwash on Wakeham's part.
Under "the parliamentary system", the Premier is the person who has the confidence of the House. In more manageable, real-world terms, that is the person who leads the majority, or at least largest, party caucus. After he won the leadership of his party, that person, the person with "the right" to be in power, was Roger Grimes. End of Chapter One.
Chapter Two: The Constitution Act, 1982, provides:
4. (1) No House of Commons and no legislative assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs at a general election of its members.Roger Grimes had the "right", under the constitution, to stay in power until February 2004. Exceptionally for a "pallbearer" government, federal or provincial, of any stripe, he went to the polls earlier than he was constitutionally required to. Nothing in the parliamentary system was "manipulated".*
(2) In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.
End of chapter. End of story.
* Well, not until the "fixed election date" bill came in, but that's another story altogether.