Hey Marbles, looks like Martin is safe for now

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Said1, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    By JANE TABER
    With reports from Graeme Smith and Drew Fagan
    Friday, October 8, 2004 - Page A1 O

    OTTAWA -- It was a day of high drama and intrigue on Parliament Hill yesterday in which a private plane was dispatched to deliver an ailing MP from Labrador to Ottawa so he could cast a vote to ensure his government did not fall.

    It was a day when the political spies were watching their opponents' every move, with the Liberals gleefully spotting the departure of a Conservative MP from the Hill late yesterday afternoon.

    He was headed to the airport and they knew he was not going to vote.

    That meant the Liberals were one vote closer to staying in office.

    And it was a day that began with early morning phone calls from reporters to the Ottawa apartment of B.C. independent MP Chuck Cadman who, for several hours, appeared to control the fate of the Martin government.

    How was he going to vote? No comment, Mr. Cadman said.

    In the end, the MP never had to exercise that power because of an 11th-hour deal struck between Prime Minister Paul Martin, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe.

    Last night, Mr. Cadman would not reveal how he had planned to vote. He says he never will.

    A unanimous vote in favour of a Bloc amendment to the Throne Speech last night hardly did justice to the backroom, back channel and behind-the-scenes scheming that has consumed the corridors of official Ottawa for more than 48 hours.

    Consider the private plane that the Liberals dispatched to pick up Labrador MP Lawrence O'Brien, who had just undergone cancer treatment. A medical professional accompanied him onboard, sources said, and Mr. O'Brien arrived just 45 minutes before the scheduled vote.

    Consider that a taxi driver spotted Manitoba Tory MP Brian Pallister at the airport late yesterday afternoon, called that information in to a political friend, who then alerted a reporter.

    Liberal officials had also seen Mr. Pallister leaving the Hill, provoking rumours that he was bolting and uncomfortable with Mr. Harper's decision to challenge the government's minority status.

    However, it was a family crisis, not a personal political crisis, that had Mr. Pallister jumping on a plane home. His 80-year-old uncle was seriously ill and died later that night.

    The battle lines were drawn on Wednesday with Mr. Harper and his MPs indicating their support for the Bloc amendment on the so-called fiscal imbalance. The two caucuses would have had about 152 votes, if everyone showed up.

    Meanwhile, the 19-member NDP caucus said it would support the Liberals. Between those two caucuses there were also about 152 votes. Mr. Cadman could break the tie. With all this to consider, Mr. Martin spent several hours that night holed up in his Centre Block office with Government House Leader Tony Valeri and Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, plotting the government's strategy.

    Mr. Valeri chaired the meeting.

    At the same time, across Wellington Street from Parliament Hill, Privy Council officials were busily analyzing the implications of the Bloc amendment.

    The next morning, Mr. Martin met with his cabinet and, having debated and studied the issue, emerged to tell reporters the vote on the amendment would be one of confidence. If the government did not defeat it, it would consider itself defeated -- just four months into its mandate and only four days since the opening of Parliament.

    Still, Mr. Valeri tried to keep channels open. He telephoned Tory House Leader John Reynolds just after noon yesterday and told him about the confidence vote.

    It was not the friendliest of calls, with the Liberals describing Mr. Reynolds as "aggressive."

    Mr. Reynolds told Mr. Valeri he had already watched him on television making the announcement. He said he told him that the Liberal interpretation of the Bloc amendment was "bullshit."

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  2. MrMarbles
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    Shaky. No one seems to want to be responsible for another election, but they all want there way. They're playing chicken.
     
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  3. rtwngAvngr
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    Could one of you bottom line what this post was all about. I admit I am woefully ignorant of canadian politics, except to know most of them are insane libs!
     
  4. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    Sneaky move on the part of the bloc.


    Throne speech written by PM basically explains how the PM will follow through on agenda/promises as presented during campaign or first throne speech (where the money will come from more or less).

    As of last election, libs are in power, but hold minority government.

    Opposition can hold a confidence vote (or in this case threaten) based on the speech. If they vote against it, the libs fall and new fed elections are held. As Marbles stated, it's a good way to get what you want.
     
  5. Intrepid
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    Too true, MrMarbles.

    I am curious, though. What do you predict the outcome to be? In this particular game of stale mate, I think that the Liberals will be able to really enough support to overcome the opposition. I don't think that anyone in the Government wants another election, nor do Canadians. With the US elections at the door, it would be a VERY dangerous time for the Liberals to call an election considering the weight of the debated issues happening in the US.
     
  6. MrMarbles
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    I'm not sure. The Conservatives will probaby cooperate untill they believe an election will favour them. The Bloc will just try and mess with the Feds. The NDP will use this oppourtunity to get they're own agenda pushed through. I don't think it will last the whole four years.

    It's funny though, our Conservatives are following the lead of the Republican party, they seem to be trying to paint a mor compassionate and central picture of themselves.
     
  7. Said1
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    \

    Can't argue with that. I think it's just as you said, a political game of chicken. Another election would bring about the same results more or less, kinda pointless at this time.
     

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