Tuesday, February 20, 2007


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 vote
Leader tested by splits in caucus on issue

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — St├ęphane 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.

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Anonymous said...

First of all, we know the Stratetic counsel is usually way off the mark and pro-conservative.

Next - why is nobody paying attention to the comparisons - they are comparing it to Martin's polls?

And, why aren't they curious about the "large percentage of undecided"?

And, why is it OK for Harper to order what votes on "every" issue his caucus will make and not Dion occasionally?

And why weren't people complaining that Ann McLellan got too much attention when she was deputy minister?

petroom said...

Where are the votes going to come from to win the Liberals the next election?

Red Tories, Centrists, Lefties and Libertarians.

As far as I know, these people do not much care for "Anti-terror" legislation.

In articles I've read, they quote "maybe a dozen" MPs who oppose Lib party line on the vote. That is in no way a majority and surely Dion and his caucus aren't having too much trouble getting them in line.

Personally, I would side with Lloyd Axworthy over McLellan and Manley any day. Some might have seen Mr. Axworthy's piece on Macleans.ca

Also, to comment:

In the recent poll, the margin of error was 3.1% and the Libs lost 3% to the Tories. There is no change.

More importantly, the Liberals bleed votes to the GREEN party, 5%. THAT MATTERS!

It seems voters care about the environment and are not yet buying the Liberal party's plan. Thankfully, they are also not buying the Tory plan.

It is interesting how the polling numbers given in the news do NOT include UNDECIDED votes.

If the undecided were included, the Tory gain of 3% would be even further below the 3.1% margin of error.

bigcitylib said...

I think I agree with Petroom, in that there doesn't seem to be a real split in the party over this and that none of the dozen or so rebels has been really defiant over the issue. In other words,it might be just the occasion for a display of authority on the part of Dion.

That said, why didn't someone figure out that killing these provisions might screw up the air-India inquiry?

Anonymous said...

Looks more like Harper's "blacked out" info is killing the Air India inquiry.

Could it be that the Mulroney government might be implicated - they knew about the terrorist cell apparently 3 months prior to the Air India issue????hmmm....?????

Also, why didn't Mulroney deal with it then (21 years ago it happened) when evidence and memories were fresh?

Anonymous said...

Just curious, what were the undecided % that wasn't included in the top-line party support numbers?

I keep hearing that referenced, but haven't seen the number anywhere.


Jeff said...

Petroom, while I agree that I would like to see the LPC taking a more left of centre position on some issues, the fact is we are a big tent and I'm not sure punishing 12+ caucus members is the way to put the house in order. A move to the left while alienating centre/right supporters would be counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

Anon, if you werent so blinded by your rabid anti-consevative stance you'd see that Harper has already ordered all classified documents related to Air India released.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Dion. He's fighting for Canada and for Canadians. When is the last time you found a politician doing that?

And it shows that he's got principles. Unlike Harper, he is not willing to sacrifice those for poll numbers although I would agree that he needs to do a better job at explaining his position to Canadians.

Besides, if we think Harper is now all goo-goo, wait until he has a majority!

Anonymous said...

The "undecided" range between 21% and 31%, depending on the question. That's a lot of undecided.

Anonymous said...

"tory@york" - yes, now that he's under pressured and given an ultimatum by the judge.