Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Having entire caucus sit a bad idea?

I think we might have reached a point where most observers would concur that having an entire party caucus sit through important House votes maybe wasn't such a hot idea after all.

I'm not sure what Liberal leader Stephane Dion's thinking behind the strategy was. I suppose it was seen as some kind of a protest of the throne speech. Yet the Liberals have been using it for all confidence measures in Parliament. It's become a source for ridicule and embarrassment for the party.

I like to call it the bend over strategy. The Conservatives have called it "sitting down for Canada." Whatever you want to call it, having every single one of your MPs sit out votes is material that even political humorists will probably have a difficult time resisting.

Just when you think it can only get better for Dion, it gets worse. It has been getting worse for quite some time, and shows no sign of reversing itself any time soon, folks.

As I understand it, the reasoning behind having everyone abstain was because that was the only way to control the numbers.

There is apparently a considerable split in the party between those who want an early election, and those who don't. The party was worried that if, say a dozen MPs stood to vote against the bills, more MPs (for instance the Quebec caucus) might stand and vote also. They then risked defeating the bill by mistake and causing an election. The only way to avoid this seemed to be a 3-line whip abstention.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, there seems to be no other solution, although the optics of having the entire party show up and sit on their hands is pretty dreadful. On the other hand if they tried to whip MPs NOT to show up, that would look even worse.


In other words, it doesn't matter how you look at it, Dion's weakness continues to bring the party down. And it doesn't look to be turning around any time soon.


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