Sunday, January 29, 2006

Vellacott: A Modest Refusal

Speculation, informed or otherwise, did not have Maurice Vellacott going into Cabinet. But now he's gone public asking Stephen Harper not to put him in it lest Cabinet solidarity should force him to shut up:

It's not unusual for members of a new government to publicly seek their desired roles as the cabinet is being built, but Vellacott has taken it one step further by putting his requests on paper and distributing it publicly.

In his two-page letter, Vellacott says he'd prefer to be appointed either a vice-chair or chair of the human resources, aboriginal affairs, foreign affairs or health committees.

He also says he's concerned that if he were appointed to a senior cabinet role, he would be prevented from speaking his mind on certain issues, such as "ethnic outreach, marriage, family and life."

"Because I'm an avowed fiscal conservative, but also a social conservative ... I don't know to what extent a more senior role would tie my hands on certain foundational issues for our country," Vellacott writes.

Does Vellacott fear that a Harper cabinet will be whipped on contentious moral issues the way that the Liberals whipped their cabinets? Probably not.

Does he suspect that so-cons will be expected to hold their tongues a little longer until a majority, or a working day-to-day informal coalition, can be secured? Perhaps.

Does he believe that backbench MPs will be given greater liberty than Liberal backbenchers were? Very likely.

How the more outspoken MPs get treated will be an indication of whether the heavy hand of the whip and PMO really is going to be relaxed.

Source: Yahoo

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