Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What Now?

What's the difference between China and Canada? China keeps its currency down vs. the American dollar by legislative fiat, while Canada does it by making the markets nervous with endless political shenanigans.

More seriously, in the aftermath of yesterday's dress rehearsal for a vote of non-confidence in the House of Commons, I thought the clearest commentary came from Chantal Hebert in the Star who wrote,

"This morning, more than ever, Canadians are presented with two competing narratives.

The first, put forward by the Liberals, depicts the Conservatives as a power-hungry, opportunistic opposition willing to make a pact with the devil - in this case the sovereignist Bloc Québécois - to precipitate a premature election before all the facts on the sponsorship scandals are in.

The second, put forward by the Tories and the Bloc, features a Prime Minister so desperate to cling to power and escape the wrath of voters that he is willing to milk the public treasury and subvert the democratic will of Parliament to do so."

It seems pretty clear to me that both narratives are true, which doesn't speak too well of any of the major political parties.

I guess the question now is, what's next? Prime Minister Paul Martin has committed to having a vote on the budget next Thursday (the 19th), no doubt out of a desire to let the B.C. election get completed before the Federal government steal the spotlight.

So one of two things will happen:

1) If the vote on the budget is defeated then we'll have an election this summer. This would be good for political junkies like me, and (hopefully) also for the Green Party which should benefit simply by virtue of not being a part of the current parliament, but I'm not sure it would lead to a government any less dysfunctional than the current one.

2) If the budget passes then it's not so clear what happens next. Will the Conservatives/Bloc admit defeat and stop trying to bring down the government, or will they continue to try to topple the government at every opportunity hoping to sway the one or two MP's whose support they need to get a vote of non-confidence passed? It seems as though, even if the Liberals get the budget passed, the government is not likely to make it too much further or accomplish too much between now and the fall (when Martin has already promised to hold an election after the Gomery Inquiry wraps up), but I'm no political insider so your guess is probably better than mine.

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  • It really depends.

    If the budget is passed by the full house over the objections of the Conservatives and the Bloc, they should probably back off for a while until they get another excuse to pull the plug.

    If it were passed because the Bloc and Conservatives let it go through, they could probably bring in a motion very quickly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 AM  

  • yeah, I wasn't considering that the Bloc/CPC might let the budget pass and then introduce another non-confidence motion.

    Really, I was asking what happens when/if the Bloc/CPC *do* decide to vote against the government on a confidence motion and lose (by one or two votes presumably).

    By Blogger Declan, at 3:59 PM  

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