Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Canada in Crisis

The Canadian House of Commons voted today to ask the Public Accounts Committee to amend its report of 28-Oct-04, to recommend that the government resign. The opposition is claiming that this is as good as a vote of no confidence, and the government must accordingly resign. The Liberal House leader, Tony Valeri, says that it's not a vote of no confidence, and it has no legal effect until it is adopted by the Public Accounts committee, the committee amends the report, pursuant to the opposition directive, and the report is adopted by the House of Commons.

I hate to say this, but I think Valeri's right on this one. The motion that passed did not express the House's lack of confidence in the government, it merely asked a committee of the House to recommend that the government resign. An MP could claim with a straight face that while he still has every confidence in the gov't, they're clearly in trouble, and he thinks it would be a good idea for them to resign and take the mess to the people, and he thinks the Public Accounts committee should recommend that course of action to the gov't. If the c'tee did so, it would then be up to the gov't to decide whether to act on the recommendation or to ignore it. It's not unreasonable to suggest that at least three MPs were thinking along those lines, and therefore that this vote doesn't prove the gov't has lost the House's confidence.

Of course, if the gov't were sure of winning a confidence motion, they would have made one. But not being sure of winning isn't the same as being sure of losing. They didn't want to take the chance, and there's no legal or consittutional reason why they should.

We'll just have to wait until there's a real confidence motion. And then hope against hope that the voters won't just return the crooks, as they've done before.


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