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Some more cracks appear internally in the Conservative Party

There are some Conservative Senators who apparently don’t like being parrots for Harper all the time, but I didn’t expect to see a split like this over unions:

The already testy relationship between Conservative MPs and the Senate hit more rocks Wednesday, as a group of Tory senators helped to gut a bill backed by their colleagues in the House of Commons. The private member’s bill would have forced unions to file financial statements, making public any expenses over $5,000, along with the salaries of their employees making more than $100,000…More than a third of the Conservative caucus in the Senate helped to pass a radical amendment to the bill by Tory Senator Hugh Segal, by either voting for it or abstaining from the vote. Segal’s amendment, among other measures, would have raised the threshold to $150,000 for union expenses to be made public.

I would assume this bloc of Conservative Senators that did this is part of the what’s left of the old Progressive Conservative “Red Tories” wing of the party (not all appointed by Harper, perhaps? I’d like to see the roll call though). They were very uneasy with this law they feel infringes on provincial jurisdiction and probably will be struck down in court. The government’s response shows they weren’t exactly pleased:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to abandon the gutted bill and re-introduce it as government legislation, possibly in a new parliamentary session, a Conservative caucus source told The Canadian Press. That would represent a direct a challenge to Conservative senators since they are expected to support government legislation. Votes on private member’s bills don’t carry such an explicit expectation.

It will be interesting/amusing/fun to watch whether those 16-20 Conservative Senators will still defy Harper or not. It does make me wonder though why Harper didn’t do this from the start with this bill and make it government legislation, rather then try to hide behind a Private Members Bill and allow his Conservative Senate caucus the ability to do this and cause his government unexpected embarrassment. Perhaps he didnt realize his caucus up there weren’t as all ideologically on the same page as him and his MP’s on this particular issue?

EDIT – this is definitely the sober second thought the Senate should be playing, and why it still can have a role as a second chamber, rather then be abolished. If it was elected, it would have more ‘legitimacy’ in doing this, however (though I’ll note it is performing its constitutionally designed role)


1 comment to Some more cracks appear internally in the Conservative Party

  • anonymous

    The Reform coalition is beginning to fall apart. The pro-corporate faction have gotten everything they want (hell, they wrote the legislation), the pro-gun lobby got most of what they wanted, but the social conservatives got nothing. So over a half of the core base will be asking Harper and the Reformers for some kind of action. Rock, meet hard place.

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