How could Martin not go the GG immediately afterwards? Would that not be a clear indication that he has lost the confidence in the House?
It'll be interesting to see the reaction from the other leaders and constitutional 'experts'.
UPDATE: He's not a constitutional expert but here's Spector's take (hattip to Political Staples):
Jack Layton has every right to propose any motion he wishes--including the one he outlined today. And, as has been observed, Parliament has the power to move Christmas to July.
Parliament does not, however, have the power to dissolve Parliament. And the Governor-General, who does have that power, takes advice from the Prime Minister and only from the PM.
To be sure, this dictum applies only when the PM has the confidence of the House. So far, there's no indication that the Opposition parties will get it together and propose a non-confidence motion, and there is every indication that Parliament will adopt the Estimates, which traditionally is a confidence measure.
Layton's motion is primarily about politics, about face-saving and about getting him out of the corner into which he has painted himself.
UPDATE2: Harper supports the proposal in principle and will meet with Layton and Duceppe. He admits the three parties don't have the ability to set the election date but that they have the power to control the agenda of the HoC.
I really want to hear some experts on this. I would think that proving that the government doesn't control the agenda of the HoC or passing a motion like this should finish this parliament.
Martin stretched the limit of responsible government for weeks last spring - now it seems normal to stretch it a month and a half?