|A weakened Stéphane Dion pulled the country back from the brink of a fall election today, only to have Stephen Harper push him toward another political precipice. |
The Liberal leader told the House of Commons that he won’t bring down Harper’s minority Conservative government over the Throne Speech.
Instead, he introduced a lengthy amendment — carefully worded to ensure that neither the Bloc Quebecois nor the NDP will support it. Should the amendment fail, Dion said Liberals will abstain from voting on the main Throne Speech motion next week, thus assuring the government’s survival.
It appeared to be exactly what the prime minister wanted to hear.
Harper immediately pressed home his advantage, declaring that his first act in the new parliamentary session will be to introduce a sweeping justice bill.
He said he’ll allow no substantive opposition amendments to the bill and he’ll make it a confidence matter, meaning the government will fall if all three opposition parties vote against it.
The Tackling Violent Crime Act will include elements of several pieces of legislation that didn’t pass in the last session, including provisions on: violent gun crimes, the age of sexual consent, impaired driving, bail rules, and dangerous offenders.
Dion spent almost 45 minutes lambasting the Throne Speech before finally conceding the Liberals won’t defeat the government over it.
He accused the Tories of abandoning the Kyoto climate-change protocol, being unclear on the Afghan mission, and ignoring the needs of the poor. But he also noted that Canadians don’t want another election now.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
No election in Canada as Liberals decline to push the issue.
Canada: Dion and the Liberals seem to have been lurching towards a crisis for months. This puts him in the same position as Gordon Brown when he didn't call for an election to be called weak and indecisive.