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May 11, 2005
The Liberal Catch-22

Now that the Liberals have defied a no-confidence motion passed by Parliament, their next step may well be tabling their own motion of confidence soon to try to assure the public that the Liberals still have a right to govern. John Ward of the Canadian Press explains that without some sort of explicit act that shows yesterday's no-confidence vote as a fluke or a trick, the nation will reject the Liberal explanation for why they have not yet left office:

xOpposition procedural manoeuvres may not topple the minority Liberals, but experts are predicting the government will likely have to bring forward its own confidence motion soon.

Without a demonstration that it actually does have the confidence of the Commons, the government could find itself unable to govern.

The problem that leads to all of this uncertainty is a lack of explicit rules dictating parliamentary procedure. A minority government which loses a motion on a budget agreement or tax levies is considered to have lost the confidence of Parliament, as those are two primary functions of governing. Without that ability, a government can do nothing. However, that has been a 'convention', not a law, and technically speaking there is nothing which forces the Grits to give up power after yesterday's vote. Nothing, that is, except tradition, history, and common sense.

Ward has it right. In order to reverse the damage from yesterday's vote, the Liberals have to get a confidence motion passed in the lower house, and fast. The longer they wait, the more they look greedy, grasping, and anti-democratic. The sooner they table a confidence motion, though, the stronger Harper will be in defeating it. The Liberals may not have any better options than that left to them after the vote yesterday.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 11, 2005 6:55 AM

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» Was it a confidence vote? from Angry in the Great White North
Was it a confidence vote? This professor says, yes, absolutely. If he's right, Canada is being ruled by an illegitimate government. [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 9:02 AM

» Trouble in Maple Syrup Land from hubs and spokes
The corrupt Liberal government in Canada lost a no confidence vote in parliament the other day, but they're not leaving. Power is cool, see, and if you can cling to it on a technicality, then DIG IN THOSE CLAWS... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 11:05 AM

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