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Parliament working for a change? Shocking

September 17, 2009

Just a quick note to point out to proof to make any longterm predictions in Canadian politics. If you last tuned in a week ago you’d still be certain that Canadians were headed for a fall election since the Liberals have vowed not to support the Conservative government any longer.  The opening bill for this parliamentary session is an EI bill that extends more coverage to workers who haven’t used EI much in the past and now find themselves unemployed.  Since this involves money, passing it would be a confidence issue.

First we had the Bloc announcing they would support it, reducing the chance of an election on that issue. Then we had the NDP announcing they would support the bill with modifications and furthermore they would support the government until it passes through to become law.  This would encourage the Conservatives to drag it out and make for a very awkward confidence motion if the Liberals put one forward in October.

So today we hear that the Liberals will assist in getting the bill quickly through committees. In case you’re getting confused this doesn’t mean the Liberals will support the final bill, they don’t need to, they can oppose it on principal and it will still pass if the NDP or the Bloc support it.  But its a calculation by the Liberals that counters the original Conservative tactic of placing out an attractive bill that requires a confidence vote. If it gets through quickly and passes they can still have their confidence motion and an election in the fall.

I suppose if the Conservatives were really smart they’d put forward another attractive bill that its hard to vote against and the NDP could support. Then we’d play this game all over again and pass another bill with wide support through mutual discussion between the government and its opposition.  Almost like a functioning, co-operative government. Ya, we could call it “Parliamentary Democracy”.  It might just work.

If this plays out as it seem to them it really seems our MPs are starting to figure out this minority government co-operation thing despite themselves. Lets hope they keep it up or else re-elect a government that can do it on purpose rather than by accident.

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