Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Iggy and The Grits

Many of you have heard that this coming weekend, the Liberals are having a "Thinkers Conference" in Quebec somewhere, but Liberal MPs, are being left out. That's right, the democratically elected Liberal Members of Parliament weren't invited. So does this now show that Liberal MPs don't have to do any thinking for the party?

Well, not necessarily...

Yesterday in the House of Commons, Toronto-Centre(of the universe) MP and Liberal Deputy Leader Bob Rae introduces a motion on maternal health for developing countries...

"the full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception," and "refrain from advancing the failed right-wing ideologies previously imposed by the George W. Bush administration in the United States"
The motion, which called on the government to include a broader range of maternal health programs, including contraception, in an initiative for developing countries, was supported by all three opposition parties and was designated a whipped vote by the Liberals.
The Bloc and NDP supported the motion, but when several Liberals failed to show up [*1], three voted against it [*2], and one abstained [*3], the Liberal's motion was actually defeated 144-138 thanks to.. well, Liberals.

And so it does appear that there are three Liberals who can do some thinking of their own!

But Iggy can't have that!  Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he's going to internally discipline the three that voted against it. But even if they voted in favour, the motion would have still lost because it would have been tied 141-141 and the Speaker votes with the gov't.

Anyway, the question arises:  Did these three renegade MPs vote against their own party's motion simply because:

a) they're representing their constituents feelings and want to keep their voters happy against strong Conservative contenders in their ridings,

b) that they're pissed off that they weren't invited to the Thinkers Conference, or

c) former/current Liberal leader hopeful Bob Rae was trying to embarrass Iggy's leadership but secretly sabotaging the vote on a motion he introduced and had MPs not show up and some vote against it?

But if you picked c), then check this out..
After first losing their own Opposition day motion on maternal health, the Liberals proceeded to royally mix up how they voted next, on the supplementary estimates attached to the budget.
The Liberals were supposed to vote NO [to oppose the government's spending plans], but confusion reigned, and instead a handful of MPs on the front bench voted YES.
After realizing their error, the MPs tried to correct the parliamentary mishap by voting AGAIN: this time AGAINST the estimates.
So what does this have to do with Bob Rae?  Well, apparently, one of the MPs who mistakenly voted yes was BOB RAE!!!  Maybe we can call him BOB YEA now.  So any thought of him secretly sagotaging, I think, is out the window, unless he was openly doing it to embarrass Iggy!  While it's fun to speculate, I think the correct answer is the simpliest, most boring one and that's a) They were simply representing their constituents.  But wow, is this Liberal caucus ever disorganized.

In summary...
  • Liberal MPs can't attend Liberal Thinkers Conference.
  • Liberal MPs vote against their own motion and many don't show up, defeating the motion itself.
  • Liberal MPs vote in favour of something they were going to vote against.
Wow. What a party they are. "Oh, they're weird and they're wonderful.. Iggy and The Grits".

And as one person commented on 

"The Liberals couldn't host a drunk at a brewery."


Liberal MPs mentioned:

[*1] - Albina Guarnieri, Anita Neville, Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Kania, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Alan Tonks, Marlene Jennings, Joe Volpe, Lawrence MacAuley, Stephane Dion, Mario Silva (paired with B. Calkins), Jim Karygiannis, Albina Guarnieri, and Derek Lee (although he was in the House just moments before the vote)

[*2] - John McKay, Paul Szabo, and Dan McTeague

[*3] - Gurbax Malhi

UPDATE:  Liberal MP Derek Lee gets cornered by reporters to ask him if he thought it was a party whipped vote.  He doesn't think so, although the party whip made it "clear".  More here...


Patrick Ross said...

I think it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch.

They tried to exploit abortion as a wedge issue -- and the wedge got driven right into their caucus! Fantastic!

But even moreso than this, they should have re-thought their "George W Bush" reference.

Seems that they forgot that while their government was funding abortions in third world countries, Bush was fighting AIDs in Africa -- something that he still gets no credit for.

Mike B. said...

Shhh... don't tell the Liberals. Wait, even Liberals aren't telling Liberals about all the "ideas" they come up with this weekend.

Patrick Ross said...

Oh, but don't you know? This isn't a Liberal party conference, it's Michael Ignatieff showing off how many eggheads he can herd into a room.

I'm impressed!

Mike B. said...

HAHAHA!!! Eggheads. lol.. wait.. how about we name them "Iggheads"?

Patrick Ross said...

I think that might read a little too much devotion into the notion that these individuals would line up for an opportunity to write a political party's policy platform.

If you were given carte blanche to write a Conservative Party platform, wouldn't you think about doing it?

Mike B. said...

But isn't that the amazing part? Why was Iggy "elected" in the first place if he had so-called ideas to begin with?

He didn't. But I certainly recall Harper having many policies and ideas about Canada well over 20 years ago.

Patrick Ross said...

Oh, Ignatieff had ideas. Remember the carbon tax?

He just managed to make someone else ride that horse, lose badly, and now he has to go back to the drawing board.

And what has the drawing board produced for him? Two-tier healthcare and a carbon tax. Brilliant!