This sounds like a really bad idea. Doesn't bode well for the more open and collegial style of leadership I was hoping for.
Now, I certainly understand the desire to demonstrate some strong, decisive leadership on Dion's part, particularly given the recent leadership polling from SES and Strategic Counsel. And I think the criticism on the terror laws file from some corners has been over the line. Also, given that most of the caucus supported other people in the leadership he has an uphill battle winning them onside. Interesting though that Jennings was a supporter, and as justice critic she really should have been onside here from the start.
Anyway, whipping the vote and punishing dissenters? That's a crazy-bad idea. I agree Dion needs to start taking a firmer hand, but sharply dividing the caucus along ideological lines isn't the way to do it. Particularly when you're not coming from a position of strength. What's he going to do, suspend a quarter of the caucus?And how can he justify whipping this vote but not the one to reopen SSM?
Find a compromise position on this sunset clause issue or, if one can be found, let it be a free vote and move the attention and the focus to issues that we can agree on, issues that unite us, issues that are important to Canadians. Throwing gasoline on this fire isn't going to help our fortunes at all.
Dion to punish MPs who back anti-terror measures in voteRecommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
Leader tested by splits in caucus on issue
BILL CURRY AND DANIEL LEBLANC
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
OTTAWA — Stéphane Dion is threatening to punish any Liberal MP who supports the government's plan to extend two controversial anti-terrorism measures.
The Liberal Leader confirmed in an interview yesterday that his party will oppose efforts to maintain those never-used sections of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act and that it would be a whipped vote, in which MPs are told how to vote.
Although he did not outline the consequences, MPs who defy whipped votes are usually suspended from their caucus. Sometimes less severe penalties are invoked such as stripping an MP of critic responsibilities.