Horse trading North of the border
May 18, 2005 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Horse trading North of the border. With the vote of non-confidence looming today, Canada may find itself facing another election this summer. Today's vote is result of the Liberal's weak position and the still continuing Gomery commission - charged with investigating the Liberal Party's sponsorship scandal. This last month, every action coming out of the PMO has been seen as being inherently realpolitik. With each side being close to holding the crucial 150 odd votes needed, this week's defection of Belinda Stronach has also caused broken hearts, harsh criticisms and created a hero. Canadian politics hasn't been this exciting since it saw the fall of one of Canada's youngest pm. What will happen this afternoon is anyone's guess.
posted by phyrewerx (47 comments total)
Uhh... the non confidence vote is likeky to be a no-brainer.

The Liberals will all vote to support the government, of course. The NDP would be foolish not to (and I believe have already pledged support), and so on. With Stronach having crossed the floor, the House is divided (depending on how the independents vote, but it seems likely it'll be one on each side), 50-50.

With the tie vite being cast by the Liberal Speaker of the House.

Givernment's fine. The fireworks, I think, are over; the election will be called sometime in December, after the Gomery inquiry results are tabled. Given what I know of Martin, both publicly and from people who actually know him, I find it likely that he has just enough integrity to hold to that promise.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:40 PM on May 18, 2005

People who don't understand the threats to this country are being naive.
A few polite people living in the midst of a huge expanse of forest, water, minerals, and oil? Shucks, who would interfere with us?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:45 PM on May 18, 2005

I can't help wondering if Belinda Stronach's crossing the floor is indicative of some greater schism in the Conservative party. The media portrayed her as the choice of the PC old-guard--among the board members of her family's company, Magna, sits a certain Mr. Brian Mulroney, who you might have heard of--and with the glue between the Reform and PC factions in the party perhaps not dry yet, suddenly Stephen Harper's future prospects look nearly as sketchy as Paul Martin's. If there is an election called, I don't see anybody as obvious choice for PM. The Liberals are apparently up in the polls again, but running a campaign with daily revelations from the Gomery inquiry has to be their worst-case scenario, I highly doubt Harper has much standing east of Saskatchewan, Jack Layton seems more intent on playing kingmaker than betting all-or-nothing, and Duceppe... well, I don't have to explain, do I?

On the other hand, a December election will probably give the Liberal spin machine time to make Paul Martin seem, if not exactly innocent, at least legally non-culpable. Unless, of course, he gets called to testify...
posted by arto at 10:50 PM on May 18, 2005

"... depending on how the independents vote, but it seems likely it'll be one on each side...."

I'm not so sure. It could go either way. Parrish has said she'll vote with the government; if both Kilgour and Cadman vote against, the government falls.
posted by russilwvong at 11:18 PM on May 18, 2005

The best part about this whole thing was yesterday's press conference with the PM and the press gallery in Ottawa. He was saying that the crossing had nothing to do with Thursday's vote, and the press gallery started cracking up rather loudly. He told them to quiet down (I'm paraphrasing here) and that it wasn't about politics, it was about morals or something to that effect. They continued to crack up. Best clip I've heard on the radio in ages. The more unfortunate aspect about this is how a few of the MPs degraded (continued?) into overt sexism, calling her a whore among other lame names. I mean, seriously: criticize her for loyalty, politiking, breaking her MP boyfriend's heart, or something else interesting, but shooting off words like that isn't going to win that much sympathy from me.

However, there was a rather good comic featuring Belinda Stronach and Paul Martin, all cozy in bed. The caption read something like: I like the leader with the biggest caucus!

By the way, does someone have good info on the independents? How do they get elected as independents?
posted by fionab at 11:23 PM on May 18, 2005

Usually independents leave the party or get kicked out.

I'm pretty sure one from the last election ran for the PC nomination, lost, but who a seat regardless.
posted by yupislyr at 11:27 PM on May 18, 2005

Won a seat rather...
posted by yupislyr at 11:27 PM on May 18, 2005

I think the principled thing would have been to sit as an independent and vote with the budget if that's how she felt. But accepting the cabinet position is giving the whole affair a nasty aftertaste.

Also, Peter MacKay talking about betrayal made me laugh out loud at work.

And the 'north of the border' thing struck me as odd, since North of the border is Greenland
posted by Space Coyote at 11:28 PM on May 18, 2005

fionab writes " calling her a whore among other lame names."

One of the linked articles has an undetermined man calling her a "political harlot". That's still quite sexist, but a little better than plain old "whore".
posted by nkyad at 11:46 PM on May 18, 2005

Chuck Cadman was previously a Conservative MP; his riding association was taken over and he lost the nomination for the 2004 election. He ran as an independent and won easily. (According to the CBC, he's now leaning towards supporting the government.)

Carolyn Parrish was kicked out of the Liberal Party for anti-Americanism (she stomped on a Bush doll on a Canadian comedy program).

David Kilgour left the Liberal Party after Jean Brault's testimony at the Gomery inquiry. He previously left the Conservative Party because of the much-hated GST (national value-added tax).


"To me, what it is, it's a little rich girl basically whoring herself out to the Liberals."
posted by russilwvong at 12:01 AM on May 19, 2005

The conservatives are fucking it all up. Sounds like they've thrown in the towel and are now going to support the budget. They misplayed their cards and are getting the shaft now.
posted by blacklite at 12:24 AM on May 19, 2005

Yeah Paul Martin! I love the man. Keep it up Paul. WOo-hooo! It's wonderful to see some deft last minute political manoevering, especially in the cause of outwitting clumsy conservatives. I think Paul Martin should be Prime Minister of North America.
posted by mert at 3:39 AM on May 19, 2005

The funny part is that many right wingers in the U.S. point to Canada as an example of the rising tide of Conservativism. If only they could read the papers they would see a Conservative party that routinely tears itself apart over whether it is fiscally conservative and socially liberal (Progressive Conservative) or religiously driven and populist (Reform Party).

As for Stronach whoring herself out to liberals ...well she left a party that makes strategically suicidal deals with the Bloc in order to topple a government. That's like a heroin junkie crack addict HIV positive Hepatitis infected whore calling a teenager with two boyfriends a slut.

I wish we had a viable opposition party or two so that we could have some pressure on the government to clean up its act. The problem is that Conservatives are not it as the Religious side of the Reform party will cripple their chances in Ontario and kill any chance of a secular Conservative party out West.

What we have in Canada is an American Republican party nightmare where the electoral base has fragmented conservativism.
posted by srboisvert at 4:45 AM on May 19, 2005

The lastest twist is that Parrish is apparantly suffering appendicitis and may not make the vote today (CTV).

Since there is no pairing system in place for Independents the vote would drop down to 153-152 for the Conservatives/Bloc. But then the 2 NF Conservatives are wavering in their resolve.

The conservatives are having their own John Kerry "moment" voting for the budget before they vote against it. It's likely that the original budget bill will pass easily, but the NDP-backed amendment will fail and cause the government to fall (if Parrish doesn't make the vote tonight).

This is more exciting than Survivor!!
posted by smcniven at 6:05 AM on May 19, 2005

It may well be a moral issue. Belinda Stronach is a strong supporter of gay rights and gay marriage... it's possible that she could no longer stomach the bile spewed by Harper, or (more likely) she realized that if an election happens now, gay marriage dies on the order table, or (even more likely) there's a bit of that, and Martin said "hey, save my government and you get a cabinet position."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2005

I say go Belinda.

Did anyone catch Peter Mckay on CTV news last night? The poor guy, in his words, "got dumped in front of Canada," and looked fairly heartbroken.
posted by Quartermass at 8:05 AM on May 19, 2005

Parrish doesn't have appendicitis. It might be an ovarian cyst or a kidney stone, but she will be able to attend tonight even if she has to crawl.

You can't make this stuff up. I'm thrilled that I have something to replace Survivor. Hmmm ... Paul Martin = Tom, Belinda Stronach = Steph, Carolyn Parrish != Janu, Stephen Harper = dead shark?

I don't care much for The Bachelor parallels. The National Post had McKay's "heartbreak" plastered on the front page today. It feels more like high school gossip than real news.
posted by maudlin at 8:08 AM on May 19, 2005

I don't know maudlin. Even though it is fairly tabloid, the interview I saw with him was heart-wrenching. I think it is real news, in that they were billed as the conservative "power couple" who were set to guide the party into mainstream success. Belinda breaking up with McKay by going to the Liberals is definately newsworthy.
posted by Quartermass at 8:12 AM on May 19, 2005

...Peter MacKay talking about betrayal made me laugh out loud.
Me, too, Space Coyote. Wouldn't it be sweet if Belinda was a double agent all along?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:28 AM on May 19, 2005

Wouldn't it be sweet if Belinda was a double agent all along?
Ugh. Must. Resist. Skyrocketing. Cynicism.
Stupid reality TV leaking into my reality.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2005

Quartermass, I feel bad for McKay as a person. A nicer person would at least given him a warning of her leap, but effective politicians aren't always nice people. It just makes me feel squicky to see someone's personal life made part of this story, even if they're volunteering the info.
posted by maudlin at 8:54 AM on May 19, 2005

Any particular reason why proxy votes aren't allowed? Why is the physical presence of the MP required (besides tradition, of course)?
posted by russilwvong at 9:54 AM on May 19, 2005

Damn. Sorry, I didn't realize the Globe & Mail was locking out non-subscribers. The relevant bit:

A spokesman later insisted that she intended to vote in the House, even if she had to get their on her hands and knees.

"You can quote me on this, she's going to make the vote if she has to crawl," spokesman Brian MacDonald told, adding that she is in "a hell of a lot of pain" as result of either a ovarian cyst or kidney stones.

Ms. Parrish herself later said: "Come hell or high water, there's no frigging way I'm going to let one ovary bring the government down."

posted by maudlin at 10:04 AM on May 19, 2005

I am disgusted with our media and with our opposition parties for their uncouth and even vulgar descriptions of Stronach. Some of the language has been absolutely vile. I am frustrated that there is no means by which to publicly and widely upbraid the jerks who have participated in this.

As for this circus we call our federal government, I'm so beyond caring what they do -- for they do nothing useful these days -- that it matters not one eensy little bit whether they stand or fall. Fuck 'em all.

Let's contract our government out to a reputable, hard-working project management firm, with a citizens' best-interests advisory panel guiding it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:15 AM on May 19, 2005

Don't trust Mackay - and, please, the whole broken-hearted interview in the garden? I call bullshit. He'd been coached on his responses, returning to talking points (he must have said "committed" 20 times) every chance he got. It's political theatre. He lied to us before, he'll lie to us again. This is an all or nothing game for the Conservatives. To hell with them.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 10:18 AM on May 19, 2005

Bwahaha! Parrish rules. (And may well have to crawl, I've had ovarian cysts, hellishly painful to move around before they burst).

This whole thing is ridiculous. Personally, I can't stop laughing at Peter MacKay, just because his quotes are so soppy - from the Globe this morning, where we were also treated to a full colour, huge photo of him petting his dog and making a face at his family farm (possibly pondering the ugly boots he's wearing): "I was completely surprised," he said softly. "I knew she'd been troubled and had a lot on her mind, but I didn't see this coming. I didn't see it coming."

Call me a heartless bastard, but to me, that's comedy gold. Not in the least that WTF are we doing caring about this sort of thing - it's so non-Canadian and I feel like we're in bizarro world.

If the government falls tonight, I hope the Tories and Bloc choke on it, though, and I won't be laughing anymore. I'm beyond pissed at the independents who are going to decide "at the last minute." You want to talk about whores? Fuck.
posted by livii at 10:22 AM on May 19, 2005

I think CPAC will pull some great ratings tonight. I know I'm making popcorn.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:35 AM on May 19, 2005

nkyad writes: fionab writes "calling her a whore among other lame names." One of the linked articles has an undetermined man calling her a "political harlot". That's still quite sexist, but a little better than plain old "whore".

Well, she was a called a political harlot, another said that she was prostituting herself for political power, another that she was whoring herself out, and yet another "a dipstick - an attractive dipstick - but still a dipstick." One MP apologized, another said his comments stand and could have been referring to either a man or a woman, thus are not sexist.

I'm with five fresh fish - watching the federal government from the far West just feels like a joke. It's like watching a car crash in slow motion - you can see all of the wrong turns, errors in judgement, and then the back-pedaling and trying to get the most out of the insurance agent, all from afar. And you guys forgot the best part about Mackay - those interviews were from a potato patch on his father's farm in Nova Scotia! That cracked me up to no end - if he had been from PEI they would have hauled out Anne of Green Gables. As long as this mess doesn't interfere with my season finale of The O.C., I'll watch it for a while. I don't know why, but this whole mess just makes me laugh. Why am I amused rather than annoyed?
posted by fionab at 10:42 AM on May 19, 2005

>I think CPAC will pull some great ratings tonight. I know I'm making popcorn.
And I have a class tonight
*mutters under breath*

re: killing Westminster MPs:
Apparently Ed Broadbent offered to vote-pair for a Reform MP who could not make it to the House and it has developed to this. (A lot of illness in Ottawa these days.)
> Suffering from a worsening diabetes condition, Efford had agreed to sit out the vote as a courtesy because cancer surgery was keeping Conservative MP Darrel Stinson away from the House of Commons.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:48 AM on May 19, 2005

This would be 1000 times better than any reality show. I'd love to watch it go down live. But as usual, the west gets ignored. 5 eastern makes it 3 central, and even earlier on the west coast. So we'll all have to find out on the radio during the drive home. (Unless I can find time to sneak around online and see what happened. But where do you suppose the results would be updated first? I'm betting on cbc news, but whoknows.)
posted by raedyn at 11:44 AM on May 19, 2005 has live streaming video of it's programming
posted by yupislyr at 12:21 PM on May 19, 2005

Harper just voted for the budget.
posted by carmen at 2:52 PM on May 19, 2005

They already agreed to pass the budget itself. It's the 2nd vote on a budget amendment that is at risk of falling to defeat.
posted by yupislyr at 2:55 PM on May 19, 2005

152 ... Cadman and Parrish voted yes! Now up to the speaker of the house and he's already said he was voting for the liberal budget.
posted by squeak at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2005

In case you're on the edge of your seat -- Independent Chuck Cadman voted with the Liberals. No election this spring.
posted by maudlin at 3:06 PM on May 19, 2005

The CPAC camera caught the Liberals' faces of relief before they could pan to Cadman's stand. Wow.
posted by myopicman at 3:07 PM on May 19, 2005

Purple rock of death! Purple rock of death!
posted by maudlin at 3:12 PM on May 19, 2005

Yay!!! No election!!!
posted by carmen at 3:14 PM on May 19, 2005

Vote pairing? Vote pairing?! And during an issue that could topple the government?

How bizarre. How utterly, insanely bizarre.

Gahd, I love Canadian politics sometimes. It's just so... so... Canadian dammit.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:36 PM on May 19, 2005

Cool! So gay marriage decision soon?
posted by amberglow at 4:22 PM on May 19, 2005

lol amberglow I noticed you ask that in every Canadian thread ... soon soon ;)

First order of business after the budget vote was a motion to increase age of consent, they want to up the age to 16 and I was shaking my head thinking go and get a drink damnit.
posted by squeak at 4:32 PM on May 19, 2005

ok, squeak. : >

I was wondering where i had heard Belinda's name, and i found it-- she's been hobnobbing with Bill Clinton.
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on May 19, 2005

Let's contract our government out to a reputable, hard-working project management firm, with a citizens' best-interests advisory panel guiding it.

Dear god, fish, even if you're joking, I've suddenly lost the ability to lend as much credence to your comments about canuck politics as once I did. That's just crazy talk.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:47 PM on May 19, 2005

Ah, c'mon. We'll hire Gallup to find out what people want, hire PWC to create a professional solution team for each major problem, composed of subject-field experts, accountants, and so on, dedicated to developing a short-term and long-term plan of action, then contract-out the various public unions for the actual work under a fair bid process.

It'll be utopia.

Then we can franchise the system, and really clean up.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 PM on May 19, 2005

All right. Your mad sales skills have won me over!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2005

never liked Belinda. too much handed to her by daddy.

i didn't like that she dropped out of university in her first year, and walked into a plum position at her father's company. i mean really, it's not like she couldn't afford to finish school. she just didn't want to. lack of discipline.

she worked in PR and HR for daddy. basically the glamour departments. and not the grunt end of things either. unlike her, real people who work in thoses departments do real work. despite her lack of real business experience and education, daddy then elevated her to CEO, but of course he hung around so she couldn't flush his business down the toilet. basically, she was a figurehead.

after dumping hubby number one, she married that olympic gold medalist and now IOC member, and then dumped him too. kinda like she dumped Peter MacKay who i don't feel sorry for as he now knows what it's like to be wined and dined and dumped, just like he did to David Orchard when he told him that he had no intention of getting into bed with the Reform party so that he could win leadership of the PC party and the promptly merged with the Reform party.

but i digress from Belinda: in Canada, we have another major auto parts company. the daughter of that CEO - who is named Linda as i recall - started at the bottom as a machine operator and is a certified tool and die maker, not that easy to get as you have to earn it,went to school for business, got an MBA, and started way down low in management after getting off the shop floor. now she's way up there in the company, CEO actually - - a position she earned.

still, Belinda is looking better to me. gotta applaud her. who knows how far someone who didn't do well in school, doesn't speak all that well publicly, never earned a real place in business, and is dependent on daddy's good will, deep pockets and backroom buddies could go. if Canada was America, she could end up as president.
posted by TrinityB5 at 12:17 AM on May 20, 2005

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