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Thoughts on the timing of a Conservative crime bill non-confidence motion.

You might remember a couple of weeks ago that the Conservative Party’s spokespeople were going out and huffing and puffing that their crime legislation being put forth in the new session of Parliament (scheduled to start November 18) was going to be viewed as a motion of confidence, and that if it was defeated, the Conservatives would try to take the country back to an election.  You might also remember when several Liberals came forth with very public statements that they wouldn’t be scared into voting for this merely because of the Conservative threats, the government backed down, or at least tried to minimize the confrontation.

Everyone cheered the Liberals finding some steel in their spine, but everyone should know this is only a first test of their will. My particular take on it is that Harper and company have decided it might be too risky to fall on a measure so early in the new parliamentary session, when the Governor-General may be reluctant to drop the writ on yet another election campaign so soon after the last one, and because Canada has had 3 minority governments in the last 5 years, and there may be backlash.

Instead, they will appear to back down for now (“gotta focus on the economic crisis” as the anonymous government official said in the above link), and then down the road,  they will re-introduce that crime legislation and again use their threats of non-confidence to either bully the opposition into passing it or else try to use it to fall and go to an election on it seeking to win a majority on being “tough on crime”.

I’d predict the earliest they’d try that tactic is just before the Liberal leadership contest, when they’re banking on the Liberals having no stomach for rolling the dice on whether the GG decides to accept an election request, or shortly after the Liberals have picked their new leader.  We will then see the test of the Liberals mettle, and whether the early encouraging signs of not being bullied has continued or not. I hope the Liberals will vote en masse against any such right-wing crime bill measures, and  let the onus of either supporting the government or letting it fall rest on the other 2 opposition parties.

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