Thursday, November 10, 2005

Confidence Tricks

Jack Layton's proposal to hold a non-confidence vote on November 24 calling for a February election sounds reasonable on its face, but is too clever by half, as the Globe and Mail reports:

There is, however, no guarantee that the opposition could determine the date of the election. The motion would firstly be non-binding. But if the government chose to ignore it and carry on with it's original plan to call an election 30 days after the second Gomery report, it would run the risk of ignoring the will of the majority in Parliament.

However Government House leader Tony Valeri quickly rejected the request yesterday, saying the Prime Minister intends to keep his promise to call an election within 30 days of the release of the second report on the sponsorship program.

If the opposition wants to use procedural moves to defeat the government, then "that will be something the opposition parties will have to explain to Canadians," he said.

In the first place, Parliament cannot set the date of the election itself. Only the governor general can, acting on the advice of the prime minister to dissolve Parliament.

Secondly, the Liberals have already demonstrated that they will ignore any non-confidence motion whose language they don't approve of.

Finally, such a motion would buy the Liberals further time to try and strike a deal with the NDP again. If Jack Layton accepted such a deal, he'd look like a fool, but apparently he's prepared to sacrifice his credibility to protect the public health care monopoly or get a few shekels for some other social program.

But above all else, it gives the Liberals time to prorogue Parliament to avoid such a vote, possibly for up to a year.

The time for playing games is over with this government.It will squeeze itself through the smallest loophole to cling to power.

Nothing less than an unambigious vote of non-confidence, with no provisos or riders, will do.

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