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Canada’s ‘caretaker convention’ offers blueprint for containing an unbridled POTUS

Canada's "principle of restraint," also called the "caretaker convention," has been tempering Canada's outgoing governments for nearly 150 years

November 11, 2020  The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Right now, the United States could use some long-established guiding principles for how disgruntled leaders should behave after losing an election, and Canada might have just the thing.

Canada’s “principle of restraint,” also called the “caretaker convention,” has been tempering Canada’s outgoing governments for nearly 150 years.

It enforces the constitutional norm of responsible government, preventing drastic action during or immediately after an election period, except in emergencies.

University of Ottawa constitutional scholar Errol Mendes says while the convention is not a law, it would likely stand up in court given how long it has been the norm in Canada.


The U.S. is on edge following President Donald Trump’s decision to replace senior Defence Department leaders and his administration’s refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect.

Canadian Sen. Murray Sinclair has suggested Canada should get ready for civil unrest south of the border.

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