OTTAWA - The Conservatives say they're outraged at the Liberals' latest tactic to prevent the opposition from toppling the government – so upset, they say, that they may defeat the budget legislation and trigger an election.
At issue is a move by the Liberals' decision to postpone an opposition day on Wednesday.
The day was set aside for the official Opposition to debate any motion it wanted to put forward. By cancelling the day, the Conservatives say the Liberals have now lost the moral authority to govern.
Government House leader Tony Valeri said he was told the Conservatives wanted to use the day in "a clear attempt to hijack the House. As a government, we could simply not allow that to happen."
But the motion has not been released and Valeri admitted he never actually never saw it.
The Grits are likely playing several games at once, all of them aimed at keeping the government alive for the next month. If they can get over this hump, they figure that the anger over Adscam will die down over the summer, same-sex marriage will pass and they can demonize the Tories in a fall election and an overwhelming majority.
So this leaves the Liberals with this:
Delay all of the opposition days until late June. This is not likely to happen, since this would require unanimous opposition consent. But it would force the Tories to defeat the budget if they want an election now, allowing the Grits to blast the Tories for sinking the "new deal for cities" and the offshore deal. Moreover, they could blame the Tories for sinking the same-sex marriage bill, thus shoring up the progressive urban vote which might otherwise go NDP.
Whatever happens, the Liberals are now ready to have an election forced on them, and meet it.