Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Liberals' Family Planning Vote Fiasco

It should have been a simple thing: present a motion to force the Cons to take a formal stand on supporting maternal health initiatives (ie. contraception) in advance of the upcoming G8 meeting - a reaffirmation of Canada's foreign policy stance for the past 25 years.

But the Liberals, who introduced the motion, managed to defeat their own motion.

This, after catching the Cons in their own roller coaster of confusion over the policy last week and on the heels of Bev Oda laughingly calling the policy "anti-American". (Apparently, being against former and regressive Bush administration policies equals anti-Americanism to the spectacularly dull and ineffective Ms Oda).

And the Cons also believed that even talking about contraception was some sort of slippery slope to re-opening the debate about abortion - which wasn't even on the table.

Yet, the Liberals still managed to embarass themselves.

There were 3 "no" votes from members of their party and a number didn't even show up.

On top of that:

The Liberals' problems were compounded when a handful of members proceeded to get confused about how they were to vote on the next measure and accidentally voted in favour of the supplementary estimates attached to the budget. Once they realized their error, the MPs tried to vote against it. Finally, Speaker Peter Milliken allowed the MPs' nay votes to be counted.
If the upcoming speaker's ruling on the Afghan detainee document issue prompts an election call, as Chantal Herbert speculates, the disorganized Liberals had better hope that their little "thinking conference" to be held this week generates some way to make sure they're all on the same page. Of course, not inviting your own MPs to actually be there in person might make that just a tad difficult since Ignatieff doesn't even appear to want to have his party members in the same room. Maybe they should just hold their future caucus meetings via Twitter.


Ignatieff: dissenters face 'internal discipline'

I'm sure they'll get a sternly-worded letter...

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