Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Parliament Ready to Pack up for the Summer

Parliament has been busy wrapping up the summer. The last major order of business was the Federal Government Economic Update report which will be voted on Friday before Parliament rises for the summer. As it is a budget it is a monetary issue it is subject to a confidence vote.

The opposition parties did not like what they saw. None of them are in a favourable position to go to the polls. The question was how to avoid an election without sacrificing any future political capital. The BQ and NDP came out against the government before reading the report. This scores points with those who don't like the government and would like to see it changed as soon as possible. The Liberals have been eroding their support so an election may change the government at the expense of their own parties.

The Liberals are climbing in the polls. Taking down the government on the economic update would force the focus of their campaign to be on the government is not spending enough money, the defecit is too high and the EI eligibility should be given to people before they have worked passed their probation period (360 hours). These are not issues to grap voters attention in the middle of the summer, when an election was not wanted in the first place. The Conservatives have very little to gain from an election. It is not likely they would get a majority government and there is a risk they could lose. The longer they wait the better their chances are as the economy recovers.

All the parties played the game of chicken threatening an election. The only logic choice was for the Liberals and Conservatives to work out an agreement to avoid an election. The parties will work together over the summer on how to improve the EI system. In case they cannot come to an agreement the Liberals have been given an opposition day in September where they can table a non-confidence vote.

This is how minority governments are supposed to work. There will be some sort of agreement on how to best help Canadians the same way an agreement was made on the budget. Aside from being unwanted an election would also have frozen some of the funds that the opposition has complained is not being distrubted fast enough. For now this is a good arrangement for all Canadians.

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