Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Liberals show signs of life

Stephane Dion must be breathing a sigh of relief. The vote on the last possible confidence motion that opposition parties can bring forth this spring took place on Monday. It was a NDP motion criticizing the government's ability to manage the economy. It was worded in such a way that the Liberals had no choice but to once again show their support without accidentally toppling the government. The motion was defeated 109 - 89 (40 BQ, 27 NDP, Liberals 20, Independent 2).

The Liberals demonstrated a different strategy from other confidence votes this session. Enough MPs showed up to make the vote at least respectable. On previous occasions they sent the front bench to vote with some relevant critics and the occasional backbencher. On this vote the top brass of the party including the whips did not vote. Instead they had 12 critics and 8 backbenchers to represent the party.

Now that the Liberals are past the stage of constantly being embarrassed by in-action they can begin working on their attempts to regain power. There are plenty of scandals both relevant and completely in left field to attack the government. Over the summer they will unroll planks of their election platform in order to begin building public support. The vote demonstrates that the Liberals are filling their roll as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Democracy works best when the government has a strong opposition to hold it accountable. By definition the Bloc cannot do the job. The NDP has done an admirable job bringing up important issues and avoiding scandals that only help to score political points. Hopefully the Liberals will continue to return to fill their roll as the official opposition.

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