Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Desperation sets in

Our Canadian friends are witnessing the unraveling of their government.
The desperate Liberals took the rare step of cancelling Wednesday's Opposition Day
in Parliament.
From the Canadian Press dispatch on the Canoe Web site:

OTTAWA (CP) - A minority Liberal government teetering on the verge of collapse moved to wrest control Monday over the timing of its own demise.
The Liberals choked off an opposition attempt to control the timetable for possibly bringing down the government. They postponed a so-called parliamentary opposition day on Wednesday in a move foes called a desperate attempt to retain power.
The Conservatives hinted they would no longer help the Liberal government remain afloat.
"When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is frankly when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern," said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
The Tories were preparing to use one of their allotted opposition days on Wednesday to arm themselves with a potent political tool.
They tabled a motion which would have allowed opposition parties to set the timing of future opposition days - and by extension the timing of a confidence vote that could bring down the government.
But just moments before a six o'clock deadline Monday, Liberal House Leader Tony Valeri rose in the Commons to cancel Wednesday's opposition day. Valeri was in such a hurry that he leaped up to interrupt a Tory who was speaking in mid-sentence.
He pointed out that the government must still guarantee six more opposition days - there have already been two - before the Commons rises at the end of June. But he refused to reveal his intentions.
According to the report, the Fiberals could in fact push the Opposition Days back to the end of June, then end Parliament's session two weeks early -- before any of the Opposition Days could be held.
Silencing the opposition, anyone?
It could well be that the latest discussions in Parliament takes scandalous behavior right into Paul Martin's back yard.
This Canadian Press report comes from the Toronto Star Web site:
OTTAWA - Paul Martin took a personal interest as finance minister in federal contracts that went to a firm with close political ties to him, says a disgruntled Liberal back-roomer.
Warren Kinsella, a former cabinet aide, told a Commons committee today that Martin had to know the Finance Department was making end runs around cabinet contracting guidelines in some of the work it awarded to Earnscliffe Strategy Group in the 1990s.
"In my opinion Mr. Martin was aware of the situation," said Kinsella, who served at the time as an aide to then-public works minister David Dingwall. "He knew of the problems with regard to contracts."
On one occasion, said Kinsella, Martin even tried to phone him at home to complain that a particular Earnscliffe deal had been blocked by political infighting.
"He was leaving messages . . . demanding to speak to me," said Kinsella.
"I did not return his calls, which I think made him madder."
Yes, Mr. Kinsella is a long-time ally of Jean Chretien, the former prime minister whose government perpetrated Adscam.
Does it appear that the Liberals are going into self-destructo mode? Is Mr. Kinsella acting in a way that would discredit the Martin wing of the party?
Could it just be that the jig is up?
Well, it could be. Except that Jack Layton basically laid out the terms of the bribe that would keep the Fibs in power... a smaller corporate tax cut and money for (his home province of) Ontario (gee whiz - they've got the power, and they're gonna get the $$$ too!).
You may wager that within 72 hours, the Fibs will deliver both of Layton's demands on a silver platter -- or find themselves on the short end of a no-confidence vote.
Knowing the situation, though, I'd recommend a bet on the Fibs delivering.
Free Canada!