Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is too funny, and nice strategy too

I’ve been lamenting lately the LPC’s lack of communications acumen. Well, to give them credit, I think they came up with a great way to expose Stephen Harper’s posturing and chest thumping when it comes to that ridiculous and unconstitutional force the Senate to pass the crime bill motion, which came to a vote today:

The Liberals have walked out of the Commons en masse rather than vote on a government motion demanding that the Senate to pass an omnibus crime bill by March 1.

In their absence, the motion passed easily, 172-27.


Stephane Dion led his caucus out of the chamber before the vote began.


The government said it considered the vote a matter of confidence, meaning its defeat would have toppled the government and triggered an election.


The Liberals have dismissed the vote as a political stunt, pointing out that the Commons has no say in how the Senate conducts its business.

If they’d just voted yes it’s a minor story quickly forgotten. If they'd abstained but stayed in their seats, dido. But now all the coverage will centre on the walkout, and the coverage will have to explain why they walked out: because it was a meaningless motion of no force and effect that had nothing to do with fighting crime and everything to do with political posturing by the Harper Conservaitives.

Bravo.

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10 comments:

Loraine Lamontagne said...

I agree with you on the facts. However, and it's sad to have to say this, too many citizens do not understand the workings of our institutions. The Cons have hit the Senate = bad button. Dion did not vote = impotent (Conservatives push that one - I find it revolting) button. They had made a scandal over a receipt for $1.29 for a pack of gum for which they knew a claim was never made nor payment received. They made a big deal during the election campaign over their same-sex marriage motion, a totally useless proposal. The Conservatives make big deals out of nothing, and they are unable to deal with important issues. Stephen Harper is not a prime minister.

ALW said...

Well of course this is political posturing. It's about the frickin' Senate!

It's certainly true that the House can't pass a motion to tell the Senate what to do, but it's not "unconstitional". It's just meaningless.

I am not sure that the optics of the Liberals walking out on a vote designed to speed up the passing of a bill tacking crime is something that will be good for Stephane Dion.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Loraine,

However, and it's sad to have to say this, too many citizens do not understand the workings of our institutions.

I agree. That's why we have to do a better job of getting our message out. And that's why I think walking out, rather than just abstaining, helps. It's a pretty dramatic thing to do. It raises the question, why? Which gives us a chance to answer. Hopefully.

Alw,

It's meaningless because it's not allowed by the constitution.

I am not sure that the optics of the Liberals walking out on a vote designed to speed up the passing of a bill tacking crime

Let's be serious for a moment. We both know that's really not what this motion was about. As you admitted, it was about political posturing.

If the Cons were really serious about passing this bill, they could have done any number of things, from agreeing to the Liberals' offer to fast track it, to not proroguing Parliament last fall. Harper really doesn't want the legislation, he wants the issue.

A BCer in Toronto said...

*I'm sorry, I meant to say fast track the bulk of it.

Kingston said...

Come on BCer, you know as well as I do, Politics are perception to the vast vast majority of Canadians and the perception of this is not good. No one cares that the bill was political posturing except for us junkies. Now how the undecided voter who is not part the hard base of either of the major parties take this is another problem how all together. Time will tell I guess. But on the positive side, if the LPC is going to abstain at least this way they got some exercise vice just sitting there.
Sorry Coudln't help myself. LMAO

Mike said...

alw,

It is ultra vires of the powers of Parliament to instruct the Senate to do anything. They could have declared a motion refuting the law of gravity as a confidence motion, but it is no less foolish.

I'd be shocked if the GG accepted the request to dissolve Parliament under such circumstances.

BTW, a bill tackling crime? Nothing in that bill will have any effect on the crime rate. Indeed, we could do nothing and it would still drop - again - as it has nearly non-stop since 1990. The entire bill is nothing but political posturing from the day it was introduced. that the Libs and the NDP happen to like some of the measures in it (mandatory minimum for gun crimes) doesn't change the fact it is wholly unneeded and unnecessary legislation, from a crime perspective.

janfromthebruce said...

Fine day in parliament to see libs NOT VOTE on this stupid motion, considering they had nothing to loss (BLOC propped up the Cons), and just showed the libs as not standing up Canada - again.
The motion would have passed anyhow with the Bloc support, so the real show was libs 'cutting and running.'
Why or why to libs keep giving Harper and his Cons a 'defacto majority' by either sitting on their hands or abscent from votes.
This is not leadership!

A BCer in Toronto said...

kingston,

Politics are perception to the vast vast majority of Canadians and the perception of this is not good. No one cares that the bill was political posturing except for us junkies.

Trying to shape the perception a certain way is what all parties seek to do. Walking-out was an attempt to get through to those non-junkies. Will it work? Time will tell.

jan,

not standing up Canada...libs 'cutting and running.'

Nice recesetation of Con talking points. You missed "with us or with the terrorists" though, so only partial credit.

And just how would it be standing-up for Canada by dignifying a ridiculous farce of a meaningless motion by bothering to vote yay or nay? How did not voting in what you yourself call a stupid motion, which you admit was going to pass anyway, prop-up Harper or give him a defacto majority exactly?

Seriously.

900 ft Jesus said...

the Liberals didn't have much choice. Voting in support of this ridiculous bullying motion was out of the question. Voting against it would have made no difference in the outcome but would have validated the motion as worthy of a vote. Waling out was the best thing to do since it showed clear contempt for the contemptible ploy.

Of course the CONs will play up the cut-and-run crap, but they would have been ignorant pricks regardless. This way, at least, the Libs showed a united front and made what even the media called a "dramatic" move.

RuralSandi said...

Isn't trying to control all Houses, etc. called dictatorship?

I believe it's against the Constitution.

They can't whine about the unelected senate either. What if, for example, there was an elected senate and it happened that a majority of Liberals were elected? What would they cry about then?

This is not done in the US or Britain or any other democratic country - why? Because it's called a democracy.

Gee, I remember Harper promising Canadians that they were safe in electing him because the Upper Chamber would keep him in line - how soon he forgets his promises. Another promise made, another promise broken. They're sure adding up.