I do not envy the Governor General this decision - in granting Harper's request,she placed herself firmly in a partisan position backing a Prime Minister who, it seems, has lost the confidence of the house. But, had she flat out denied the request, the HarperCon$ would have been screaming about her in the same manner, complaining that she had tacitly supported a "separatist coalition" through her actions.
Harper is now damaged goods as a Prime Minister. Not only has Harper abused our parliamentary processes by running like a coward from a confidence motion, but his actions themselves are fundamentally contrary to the notion of an elected, parliamentary democracy. Not only has Harper dodged a confidence vote next week, but in doing so he has silenced the voices of all of our elected representatives in government and he has demolished any possible credibility he would have to claim that his government is in any respect accountable to the people.
If the Liberals are smart, they will move quickly to replace Dion before Parliament reconvenes. This is no time to sit back and allow another drawn out leadership campaign - pick a new leader, swear them in and gird for battle. A Harper-led government should not be allowed to stand any longer than absolutely necessary.
As this blogger points out, in Harper's own words, he has lost his moral authority to govern:
“When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is when it’s rapidly losing its moral authority to govern.”- Stephen Harper, 2005