Saturday, October 25, 2008

Abstaining no longer a Liberal option.

This is from the Globe and Mail.
So it seems that the Liberals expect the NDP or Bloc to sit on their hands and let Conservative legislation through. But what if they refuse to do that and force the Liberal hands to be sat upon. You mean to say the Liberals will help bring down the minority government soon? Somehow I doubt it. A better headline would read: The Liberals have no option but to abstain! This article makes it sound as if abstaining were Dion's idea. At at some times I think that abstaining was exactly what Dion did not want to do but he gave in to others who advised him not to bring down the government.



Abstaining no longer a Liberal option

JANE TABER
From Friday's Globe and Mail
October 23, 2008 at 8:52 PM EDT
St├ęphane Dion was told by his caucus Thursday that propping up the Harper government is no longer an option.
The Liberal Leader, facing his national caucus for the first time since the election in which he lost 19 seats, apologized to his defeated MPs but then made another pitch for his carbon tax scheme that contributed to their loss.
It was an emotional caucus, insiders say, and there were some tender moments, which even left Mr. Dion teary-eyed as he met with the 75 others who were elected with him last Tuesday and those who were defeated.
“Dion said, ‘Look, I'm sorry … I've spoken to some of you and I'm profoundly sad having to say goodbye,' ” according to an insider.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion speaks to caucus members following the Liberal caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday Oct. 23, 2008. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

There was no backstabbing, despite rumours that some MPs would challenge Mr. Dion and his decision to remain leader until his successor is chosen at a leadership convention, likely in April or May.
“It was zero confrontation,” one MP said. “If anything, people were gracious. Not one hint, not a whiff of dissension.”
Another MP said he was “frankly, waiting for somebody to try it.”
Instead, the caucus was “pretty classy” with both defeated and sitting MPs paying tribute to Mr. Dion's “courage, integrity and decency.”
Mr. Dion, himself, told reporters there was “not an inch of dissension.”
One insider described the caucus as upbeat.
“People were feisty and determined not to be sitting on their hands,” the source said.
Indeed, the Dion Liberal strategy of abstaining on confidence votes to ensure the Harper government's survival was thrown back at the Liberals during the election campaign. NDP Leader Jack Layton characterized “Stephen and St├ęphane” as “best friends” because of the Liberal strategy of supporting the government on budgets and other confidence matters. He accused Mr. Dion of failing “the test of leadership.”
The strategy also proved demoralizing for many of the Liberal MPs, who questioned their role as legislators.
“Yeah, it was very clear from everybody at the microphone that abstaining is no longer an option and so, therefore, we will let the third parties, who hold the balance of power, decide. It's not viable [for the Liberals],” one MP said.
As well as the emotion, as defeated MPs described their triumphs and challenges in political Ottawa, there was humour.
Mr. Dion joked that he had a five-point plan to outline to the caucus. He was referring, of course, to the five-point economic action plan that he had put forward during the French-language debate.
And that's when he went into his pitch for his Green Shift plan that would put a tax on carbon fuels and shift the profits to income tax cuts for Canadians. He argued, said the insider, that his plan “may have been more complicated or more difficult to sell … but notwithstanding that, we still have a climate change problem.
“Whether a new leader understands that or accepts it, they are still going to have to deal with that …,” he said, according to the insider, arguing that the media didn't “get it yet” but once they do, “watch out.”
He also spoke about poverty as another key issue for him. And he indicated he doesn't want to give up the fight on this and climate change, an Ontario MP said.

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