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When you don’t get your way, threaten to make bills confidence motions. Why not call the Cons. bluff?

There’s been a fair bit of controversy about Bill C-10, the bill that would give the Conservatives censorship power over films that apply for a tax credit. If it offends their sense of morality, they would refuse the film’s application. So out of the blue after his testimony to the Senate yesterday, Jim Flaherty threatens that if Bill C-10 gets amended, the Cons. will consider it a matter of confidence.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Under the circumstances, when you have the Liberals undecided on what course of action to take on when to force an election, why not threaten votes of confidence on items of your agenda that may have trouble otherwise passing?

Is Bill C-10 what you force an election over? I don’t have an issue with forcing an election over censorship, but I anticipate Liberal advisers and the leadership are going to decide this issue isn’t what will turn an election in their favour. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only factor about whether to go or not to an election amongst the Liberal braintrust – forcing an election because it’s against Liberal principles isn’t apparently entering into the equation up there in Liberal circles of Ottawa yet. So, count me as pessimistic this will change anyone’s minds up there either, though I will continue to advocate like other Liberal bloggers we should be forcing an election.

Between this bill of imposing their standards of morality on Canadians, plus the proposed immigration changes and of course the “in and out” scandal, and a slew of other things like the environment and the interference in independent government agencies, I would argue to the Liberal advisers a powerful case can be made to the Canadian people that Harper and the Cons. are the wrong government with the wrong policies for Canada. If they are waiting for “favourable numbers” before you go to an election , I don’t believe you’re going to get that without an election campaign as the catalyst. An election campaign to make that case is what will be needed to get “favourable numbers”, not Question Period, and not waiting for the Cons. to self-destruct.

In this deadlocked environment, I think a party needs to give the Canadian electorate a reason to vote for them – and I believe they are waiting for that reason and for that case to be made. I believe the Liberals have that case. Do so in an election campaign now.. not down the road at some undetermined date when “hopefully, the numbers are more in our favour”.

Call the Conservatives and Flaherty’s bluff.

[email protected]:57am: Another Liberal blogger thinks we should call the bluff


14 comments to When you don’t get your way, threaten to make bills confidence motions. Why not call the Cons. bluff?

  • Instigator

    byahhhh, give’r dion!

  • Brammer

    Only way to break the logjam is for the Cons or the Libs to elect a new leader. First one to do so is almost guaranteed a majority against the other party’s incumbent.


    In the case of the Cons, the new leader will be the polar opposite of Harper. In the case of the Libs, well, the new leader would actually lead.

  • Ted Betts

    You are missing the other half of the story on this: yet another broken Tory promise.

    Page 44 of the 2006 Conservative Party Election Platform:

    “Make all votes in Parliament, except the budget and main estimates, “free votes” for ordinary Members of Parliament.”

  • Why anyone would vote Liberal or Conservaative is beyond my comprehension. Even if one chose to vote for the lesser evil of the two main parties it is hard to see that there is enough difference for that to make sense. The Liberals on Afghanistan are little better than the Conservatives and got us into the mess in the first place. On the environment they had progressive rhetoric but regressive actions. At least we have third parties to vote for so why waste our votes.
    Dion can’t vote against the Conservatives anyway. Dion cannot get permission from Rae or Ignatieff to vote against them.

  • Joseph

    Well, Colin, your last comments actually do have a ring of truth to them. So maybe you did take your meds since earlier, because the first post was pure malarkey.

  • Colin

    Yes clearly I need medication.

    Without it I can see that Dion owes approximately 800k from his leadership run. EC is going to get on his case to retire that debt come summer, but Iggy just vacuumed up all the donor dollars that were floating around.

    If as expected Dion crashes the party into the historic lows, he gets punted back to private life and probably bankruptcy court.

    Yet another reason why there will not be an election this spring.

  • wilson

    ‘… this is clearly not a matter of confidence, the Tories are just using so-called “confidence motions” to bully the Liberals into supporting legislation they don’t support…’

    The bill in in the Senate, Libs/Dippers and the Bloc sent it there, with their support.

    ‘the devil made me do it’ mentality of the LPC is pathetic.
    If you ‘feel’ bullied, it is because you are a wimp.

  • Joseph

    Colin needs to take his meds.

  • Colin

    If the situation was really as the polls suggest that would give the Liberals a 50-50 shot at a minority govt.

    Dion would take that bet in a second.

    The fact is that internal polling is showing an impending disaster for the grits.

    Harper is making every bill a confidence motion because he is confident he will increase his seat count and possibly grab a majority.

  • Whooee! I keep hearin’ how smart Dion was not to force an election earlier. The in-and-out wouldn’t have been on the radar. Now, some of those same nervousnellies are saying Dion needs to hold off a bit longer because the economy is going down the tubes. When the economy’s in the dumper, the incumbents are punished — or, so goes the logic.

    Now, if the Grits see the economy goin’ fer a crap and they think they got a better idea on how to prevent that, waiting for increased economic suffering before offering the Liberal vision is hard to justify. If the good of all Canadians is at heart, waiting until we are suffering sufficiently enough to deliver more Liberal votes is a cynical and uncaring approach.

    I’m with you, Scottie. Let’s get these nincompoops out of office ASAP.


  • Lord Kitchener's Own

    You know, it seems to me that the government can call anything it likes a “confidence motion” but doesn’t that mean that the GOVERNMENT should take responsibility if an election is forced over it? After all, in a traditional parliamentary sense, this is clearly not a matter of confidence, the Tories are just using so-called “confidence motions” to bully the Liberals into supporting legislation they don’t support.

    I say, at a certain point you have to acknowledge that the Tories are holding a gun to your head and that if they’re just going to call anything they want to pass a “matter of confidence” and you’re not going to vote them down on any “matters of confidence” then you’ve already ceded majority power to them.

    If the Tories are going to force the Liberals into giving in on any bill they want to pass (and they are, and it’s working) then what are the Liberals preventing by not voting against the government???

    Increasingly, it seem to me that the Liberals are preventing the Tories form being elected to a majority position by just giving them majority power without forcing them to fight an election for it. It’s like they’re saying “we have to give the Tories majority power, or we risk the Tories getting majority power”.

    Enough already.

    It’s a farce, and everyone knows it.

  • Kai Wolf

    Well here is the Liberals chance AGAIN to defeat this Tory government that they claim is so bad, so utterly terrible for Canadians – a confidence vote on immigration, an issue that is supposedly a core principle of the Liberal Party.

    Now whats that? Dion and the Liberals are going to abstain again? They are going to let this government that they say is so bad for this country keep governing?

    Man I can’t wait to see Dion stumbling around the summer BBQ circuit.

  • And Dion will shake his fist at the government, too! That’ll fix ’em.

  • Francis

    Don’t worry Scott, Stephane Dion will just pull out his marker (a red sharpie) and circle this as a ‘bad policy’ the Liberal government will change.

    That’ll show the Conservatives!

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