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May 9, 2005
BQ Will Demand Action If Liberals Ignore No-Confidence Motion

Bloc Quebecois made its intentions clear today in response to an assertion by Liberal Party leader Tony Valeri last week that the Grits can ignore a no-confidence rider on a budget amendment. BQ party leader Gilles Duceppe warned that such a blatant disregard for protocol will result in a demand to Canada's governor-general to dissolve the Liberal government by decree:

The opposition will ask Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson to intervene if the Liberals lose a coming vote and won't resign, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe says.

"That would be the duty of the Governor General to call Paul Martin and to tell him a few things about democracy,'' Duceppe said Monday as the country's federal political leaders attended VE-Day ceremonies in Holland.

Nor is BQ alone in its ire. Stephen Harper, the Tory leader in Parliament who will likely force the issue on the amendment, warns of severe and immediate consequences for such "attitude":

Tory Leader Stephen Harper said there will be consequences for the Liberals after the politicians return home Tuesday. He didn't say what those consequences would be.

"The government cannot decide whether it has or doesn't have the confidence of the House. Only members of Parliament can decide that,'' Harper said.

"That (Liberal) decision is unacceptable now, and there will be consequences as soon as we return for that kind of attitude.

"Don't think we're going to wait until the 18th or 19th to deal with that problem.''

The NDP has also said the coming vote seems like a matter of confidence. But unlike the other parties, the NDP will not vote to bring down the government.

The key on this issue may still be the NDP. If Jack Layton's caucus believes that Paul Martin and Tony Valeri have truly abused their power by ignoring a no-confidence vote, it's possible that the NDP may split their votes, or that Harper can peel off the one or two MPs necessary to table a separate no-confidence motion. It won't take much, and in the current political climate, Harper may even be able to get a couple of Liberals outside of Ontario to consider a switch.

However, the one complicating factor is the Canadian electorate. After a surge of disgust at Adscam and the Liberal Party machinations drove the Grits' polling numbers near to NDP levels, they have rebounded in recent polling to once again surpass the Tories. Whether or not these polls accurately reflect voter anger or apathy, their existence will probably convince Liberal and NDP MPs to stick to the party line and ride out the damage. Unfortunately for Harper, unless a huge break in Adscam erupts that ties the money and/or the corruption directly to Paul Martin, the chances of winning a no-confidence vote under any circumstances appear smaller every day.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 9, 2005 1:04 PM

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» Pre-emptive Strike from Angry in the Great White North
A look at the numbers, using the latest information, on a potential non-confidence motion. And what is in store for tomorrow? [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 2:05 PM

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