That was some drama on Parliament Hill the other night. The Liberals teamed up with the NDP and the Bloc and used an obscure rule that allows parties to cut off debate when they feel one party is obstructing the business of Parliament. It was quite the gamble, but a successful one as the budget passed by a 152-147 vote.
Since the Conservatives were outsmarted that Thursday night, it's been all sour grapes. Peter MacKay compared the Liberals to Hannibal Lecter, others called it sneaky and Harper called it undemocratic. What's killing me is the hypocrisy of it all. The Conservatives have been very vocal for months that they would do whatever it takes to bring down this government and defeat this budget. They would resort to any loop hole in the book, bragging about how they intended to stall Parliament and force an election. The Liberals fight back and are suddenly sneaky?
Harper thought he sensed a moment during the public outcry resulting from Gomery and he went for the juggular. Harper failed and is only losing popularity in this country. Watching him drop in the polls reaffirms my belief that this is the greatest nation in the world.
Next we legalize same-sex marriage. Harper will lose this battle too, and that's a good thing for everyone.
Word has it a group of Liberal MPs may vote against the budget as a way to prevent the same sex marriage act from being passed. Just yesterday, Pat O'Brien quit the party for the same reason.
I just don't understand how so many people could fight this passionately against an issue such as this. It's a sensible bill that simply ensures the equality of all Canadians. To think the government might fall over such a humane, decent and progressive bill infuriates me to no end.
When Belinda defected, it created a virtual tie, broken by the speaker of the house. Then, the Liberals got some breathing room, when they won the seat in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland. Today, that breathing room disappeared when MP Pat O'Brien, who opposes the government's position on gay marriage, quit the Liberals to sit as an Independent.
I'm telling you, this is the best game in town.
They're voting in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland today. The byelection will determine a successor to MP Lawrence O'Brien who passed away late last year.
We've all seen the numbers. We were on the edge of our seats recently watching The Thrilla on Parliament Hilla. The entire balance of power depends upon this Labrador riding and all eyes are on Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
It's worth noting that since joining Canada in 1949, Labrador has sent just one Conservative to Ottawa, for one term in 1968. I'm betting on red. If you're following along at home, that makes the score 153-152 without need for a tie-breaking vote by the Speaker of the House.
Whoa doggies, that was some exciting shite goin' down in Ottawa today. Our minority Liberal government survived a confidence motion by a single vote, 153 to 152.
When Independent Chuck Cadman sided with the Liberals, it completed Paul Martin's Hulk Hogan-like rebound from certain defeat. When Hulk Hogan wrestled, there was always a part of the match when he was getting pummelled and appeared certain to lose. Then, with each punch, slap and kick, he'd shake as if his body was being shocked and he'd start to get stronger and stronger until he was able to block a punch and return the favour. Hogan would win in the end, much like Martin has won today. Martin appeared certain to fall until Belinda's epithany and Cadman's last second surprise.
Defections, possible heart attacks, potential appendicitis, broken hearts, broken dreams, heart-stopping votes, what a week! Who needs the NHL playoffs when you have this fast and furious edge of your seat action from Parliament Hill?
It's fitting that in a week in which we await Anakin's turn to the dark side we witness Belinda Stronach's side step into the light.
Stronach always has been a social liberal who seemed too enlightened to be a part of the Conservative agenda, especially on the issue of same-sex marriage. This dramatic turn of events means the Liberal budget will probably pass the vote on Thursday and the Liberals have dodged yet another bullet. I would have loved to see the look on Harper's face when he learned about Belinda's switcheroo. On second thought, I doubt his expression would have changed one iota. The man is an emotionless robot.
You know what will be fun? Those future summits between Prime Minister Belinda and President Hillary. To be a fly on the wall...
As previously discussed, the House of Commons in Ottawa held an interesting vote the other day. Monte Solberg, an M.P. from Medicine Hat, blogged the event from the House of Commons during the vote via his BlackBerry Wireless Handheld. Here's his entry:
I hope this posts. Am blogging from my blackberry in the House where I have just voted for our non-confidence motion. The Libs are trying hard to play this down. They have two cabinet ministers out, Efford and Cotler. We'll win, but they'll claim it's non confidence.
Pretty unhappy campers over there! They can't believe that their iron-grip on power and pocketnooks might be loosed. Kilgour just voted with the Libs. Hmmm. 153 to 150. We win!
This is no small event. This is a significant first as far as I can tell. Solberg relayed his opinions and observations to his constituents and everyone else in the world in real-time as it happened. I see this as the future of communication, instant access to information, opinion, and historic occurrences. It's awesome and this is just the beginning.
Unfortunately, Solberg is a member of the Conservative Party, but even that won't stop me from giving him his props.
I majored in history with a focus on Canadian history, but even I find our parliamentary system awfully confusing at times. This is one such instance.
The House of Commons passed a motion by 153 votes to 150 tonight that calls on the public accounts committee "to recommend that the government resign." That's rather loose language, isn't it? There certainly isn't anything binding there. If my knowledge is correct, a minority government falls when it loses a vote of confidence. The Liberals lost tonight's vote, but this vote wasn't a vote of confidence. The Conservative party can introduce such a vote on an opposition day, the next ones being three days at the end of this month.
So, the House has voted "to recommend that the government resign" and the Prime Minister is choosing to ignore the vote. No doubt, on the next opposition day, Stephen Harper will introduce a formal vote of confidence that would force an election. We could be back at the polls this summer and you know this one is going to be a nail biter.
Who says Canadian politics is boring?
Not since Maggie Trudeau and The Rolling Stones hooked up has Canadian politics been this sexy. Coverage of Ottawa politics these days should be rated AA.
"Who's sleeping with whom: parties trade barbs over political bedfellows". That's the CP headline I just read. Jack Layton is accusing Stephen Harper of getting into bed with Gilles Duceppe, Harper is accusing Layton of jumping into bed with Paul Martin and Martin will take any love he can get.
It's getting awfully steamy... it looks like it will be a long, hot, sticky summer.
As if Paul Martin's troubles couldn't get any worse, he's now angered Bono. In an interview that airs this morning on CBC Radio's "The House", the singer blasts Martin for reneging on a promise to reach a foreign aid goal of 0.7% of GDP.
"We were looking for Canada to lead rather than be a laggard...It's not just about me being a nuisance, this is about Canada's identity in the world...This is what's upsetting about this, is it feels like business as usual."
Accusing Martin of trying to "hold up history," Bono wants us to call the Prime Minister's Office to complain. That number, if you don't already have it on speed dial, is 613.992.4211.
One love, One blood, One life, You got to do what you should.
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