Ottawa rumours: election may arrive earlier than anticipated, Liberals grow spine
In the increasingly fevered world of Ottawa politics, it’s looking like opposition parties may not wait for an opportunity to bring down the government and instead will make one of their own. While the opposition could vote against the Conservative budget after it is announced on March 22, the fear is that the budget will be filled with goodies for voters that the opposition would prefer not to run against. So, no doubt hoping that fortune will favour the bold, the Liberals and other opposition parties are whispering loudly about making their own move.
Any day, House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken will issue rulings in response to two separate claims by Liberal MPs that the Conservatives are acting in contempt of Parliament. One, from Liberal MP John McKay, relates to accusations International Co-operation minister Bev Oda misled Parliament and had a document doctored. The other, from Liberal MP Scott Brison, asks the Speaker to find the government in contempt for refusing to fully disclose the cost of government crime bills.
If either ruling sides with the Liberals, either MP could immediately move a motion of non-confidence in the government. While it is possible this could happen this week, it is more likely to come to a head after next week’s one-week Commons recess.
It’s no surprise that the Liberals would prefer to frame the next election around issues like Bev Oda’s editing skills and Jason Kenney’s challenges with government letterhead. What is surprising is that the Liberals actually seem to have gathered up some spine—possibly. This is all rumour-mill churning at the moment, but the speaker’s ruling could come as early as today and put Canada on the road to an election.
Technically, there are other options available for the opposition to force an election. There are opposition days where Liberal, BQ and NDP members could propose a confidence motion, but that seems unlikely. The chatter seems to suggest that, for the Liberals, it’s either this or the budget. And they’d prefer this.