Thursday, May 19, 2005

A real question of confidence? Or a Polaroid snapshot thereof?

Calling tonight's votes a pair of confidence motions really is rather rich, isn't it? After all, the original budget bill, C-43, is now going to receive the support of the Conservatives, who until two days ago were committed to defeating the government at the first opportunity. Had the decision to support the original budget been made clear a month ago, there would never have been a Bill C-48 (the NDP compromise). So does it really show that the Liberals have lost the confidence of the house if only one of the two passes (assuming this scenario plays out)?

I think that all this really would show is that the Liberals did not have the full confidence of the House at precisely 6:00 pm on 19 May 2005. But there is nothing to demonstrate that they had utterly lost the ability to govern, since their original budget would have passed.

One other fact that seems to have become lost in all this fixation on Kilgour, Cadman, et al., amidst the allegations that the votes are being held on days when MPs are sick, is that the only reason that the Liberals are vulnerable to the votes of the independents is that the by-election in Labrador has not yet occurred, which they are highly likely to win. Wait about two more weeks, and the Liberals (with Stronach and Parrish), will again have a working majority with the NDP.

On Grewal's mystery tape - what a load of hooey! This sort of cloak-and-dagger sting operation is not going to be very convincing. Did he really think that senior Liberal advisors would be stupid enough to make a firm commitment without one on his part? I mean, they may not be the best and the brightest, but they're not that dumb.

I really hope that the budget passes tonight, and we can get through to the fall without an election. There are some pieces of legislation (particularly gay marriage) that I'd like to see passed before the summer. After that, the parties can get back to campaigning for the winter election.

Incidentally, the worst thing that any party could do for their own self-interest, assuming the budget passes, is to trigger an election in the fall before Gomery reports. That would completely let Paul Martin off the hook, and give him tons of ammunition to lob back at the inevitable allegations of Liberal party corruption.

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