Thursday, October 25, 2007

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, please stand up

As expected the thrown speech was passed in Parliament by a vote of 126-79. The Liberals showed up and abstained from the vote. Many had expected the Liberal front bench to vote against the speech so that the Liberals objection would go on the public record without forcing an election. This move would have made it a close vote and the Liberals did not want to risk toppling the government by accident. This leaves a parliament that instead of working together will be busy preparing their own agendas in preparation for the government to fall.

Conservatives: This is the first time in history a government does not have to worry about the official opposition standing in their way. Even the Unionist governments of WWI and early 1920s had an opposition that stood up to the government. Dion's fear of an election will allow the Conservatives to push legislation through the house as if they had a majority. Unlike a majority governments they will be unable to add the necessary pressure to have legislation receive Royal Assent.

Liberals: They will be looking to get the legislation they object to over to committee where they will hope it dies before they they need to make tough decisions that could topple the government. If legislation does get through they can rely on their senate majority to prevent it from becoming law. In the last session of parliament the senate has proven to be effective in this manner.

Bloc Quebecois: The flames of hatred towards immigrants are being fanned in Quebec with the Liberal government's 'reasonable accommodation' committee and and the PQ (who sit last in the National Assembly) trying to generate support for banning non-French speaking immigrants from being able to petition the National Assembly or run for public office. Public backlash from outside Quebec will help foster Nationalist sentiments and the push for another referendum on separation.

NDP: They are now referring to themselves as Canada's effective opposition. They will continue to do their best to raise the concerns of Canadians. They seem to be taking a focus on dealing with poverty. With the constant Harper/Dion stand off they risk getting pushed to the sidelines on the public agenda.

The roles have been cast. It is now just a matter of time to see who blinks first and Canadians once again decide which direction the country should be going.

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