Liberal MPs familiar with justice issues have been talking tough lately about not being willing to take a potential draconian Conservative crime agenda laying down:
Three Liberal members of the Commons justice committee are among the most adamant that the party will not stand by as the Conservative measures roll through the House.
Brian Murphy, a Liberal from New Brunswick, said it would be wrong to oppose bills that have not yet been seen by Parliament and they could be crafted in a way that the Liberals support.
But "I would say very clearly that abstaining as we did was not helpful in this election for me," he said. "And I would be very reluctant - given that I ran on the idea of being a fighter, being very strident, and having 16 years of always standing up for people - I would be very reluctant to abstain."
Larry Bagnell, a Liberal MP from the Yukon, said the question for both his party and the Conservative government will be whether these issues are serious enough to fight another election over.
"I can say that we will be making a strong case in our caucus against this bill, for sure," Mr. Bagnell said.
Derek Lee, a Toronto-area Liberal, said "there is no way I am going to sit on my hands. There is no way that these guys are going to get their way."
The Conservative plan is "an ignorant, uninformed vision" of the justice system and how it works, said Mr. Lee, adding that harsher penalties don't work because criminals don't know the precise sentences for the crimes they commit.
"I couldn't allow myself to vote in favour of such ill-advised legislation, whether they call it confidence or not."
It remains to be seen how the dynamic of this parliament will play out. If Harper decides to take a conciliatory approach, and show some willingness to give a little to get a little, then I think all the parties can work together to pass some good legislation on a number of issues. If he decides to be a jerk, and push through draconian crap we can’t support betting we’ll swallow it to avoid an election, then we’ll have some issues.
I think there is a thorough lack of appetite within Liberal circles for more abstention nonsense, no matter what the leadership situation. We should be willing to work with the other parties to improve and pass considered legislation. But if Harper tries to play games again, we should throw them back and his face and make clear we’ll vote no, confidence matter or not.
If it means an election, so be it. Coming so soon after an election though, one wonders if the GG would be so willing to grant a speedy dissolution…
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. More piss and vinegar like this from our caucus would be desirable. Ralph Goodale, I’m looking at you buddy. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers