As expected Stephane Dion announced that while his party opposes the thrown speech it is not a reason to have an election that nobody wants. The Liberals will make sure that it passes final reading. While it has not been announced how this would be done, it is likely that the shadow cabinet will vote against the speech and the backbenchers will either abstain or play hooky.
Dion's decision came under fire from NDP leader Jack Layton for not standing up to the Conservative government. This further illustrates the depth of the no-win situation that Harper has given to Dion. This may seem like a solid stance until reviewing the amendments to the thrown speech introduced by the Liberals.
The Liberal amendments introduced today are, establishing that failure to meet the 2012 Kyoto targets would be the Conservatives fault for not following the Liberal environment initiatives; announce that the Afghan mandate will not be extended past February 2009 in order for NATO to make necessary plans; recognize the Liberals did a good job fighting poverty and the current government has not; they should try to rectify this problem; stop taking the strong economy inherited from the Liberals for granted by reversing position on income trust and bring in corporate tax cuts.
It is obvious why either the NDP or the BQ would vote against most of these amendments. The Bloc immediately introduced motions to take the Liberal credit out of the amendments.
The NDP are expected to vote against the Afghan amendment because they want the mission to end now and not wait until 2009. If Layton really wants Dion to stand up to the Conservatives shouldn't he as well. Isn't committing to withdraw by 2009 still better than 2011? If he really wants Dion to topple the government getting this amendment through would be a good way to do it.
The bottom line is that it looks like the Liberals are going to take over the role from the BQ to prop up this government until they are in election form. The question is how many times can Dion take a knee before it starts to hurt in the polls.