Then again the government could fall any old time in a minority parliament.
But the bottom line is that the big vote on a sub-amendment to the Throne Speech comes tonight. The Paul Martin Liberals are treating it as a confidence matter and are already talking about holding yet another bleeping election!
Here's the deal. The Liberals are still completely arrogant and still acting like they own the world. They've brought in their throne speech with all their platitudes about what they will do to save health care and all that, and they figure they'll be in power until 2006 or later. But the Conservatives and the Bloc want to give the Liberals a dose of humility and a Bloc-sponsored sub-amendment to the Throne Speech will be voted on tonight.
The Liberals are, to this point, acting like Liberals. They're not simply governing as if they still have a majority; they're governing as if they think they'll win every election this country ever holds, and that's a dangerous attitude for a government to have. This is a government that truly thinks it can do no wrong.
They are daring the opposition to pass this sub-amendment and throw the whole Parliament of Canada into chaos. They think that Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe really don't want to have another election because they're afraid they'll get beaten by the Liberals again. So they are treating this vote as a matter of confidence and are threatening election, hoping the opposition will blink.
But so far Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe are hanging tough and refusing to compromise. GOOD FOR THEM, and I hope they hang tough. If the opposition backs down on their proposals they will simply look weak and get killed by the press. They've GOT to force the Liberals to compromise or come up with some kind of alternative plan in Parliament to save their own government. Otherwise the Liberals will come out smelling like a rose ( pardon the Trudeau pun ).
As for Jack Layton and the NDP, he was originally part of the opposition coalition with Harper and Duceppe calling for changes to give the opposition more power, but now he's dissolved that partnership and his NDP will probably vote to help save the Liberals- if it comes to that. Poor Jack Layton- he's got no power at all in this Parliament. The Conservatives and the Bloc have the power to create some fireworks and they are using it and they'd better be enjoying it, because they haven't had power like this before.
This is a very interesting chess match going on and it could well fall on the shoulders of independent Chuck Cadman to determine whether the government lives on for another few weeks. What do I think will happen? Heck, I think common sense ought to prevail and that the Liberals should and will show some humility (for a change), but common sense has been missing from federal politics for a long, long time, so I'm not too confident.
The Liberals are banking on the opposition supposedly not wanting an election. Well, that is true. I've spoken to lots of Conservatives and nobody wants to have another election- at least, no one in Ontario. I want to relax and enjoy the victory from the leadership race! And I'm sure Ralph Klein doesn't want a federal election either, since he was all set to beat the opposition to a pulp in Alberta. But if the government falls that will highlight the fact that Paul Martin brought his own government down through a miscalculation. He'll have no one to blame but himself, and I'll be blaming the Liberals for the election if we have to hold one again. I'm really fed up with doing politics, as you know. I really don't enjoy going door to door, getting yelled at by Liberals. But if we have to have another election, well, so be it. That's politics, that's Canada for you. Beats living in Cuba.
As for me, my plans are all screwed up. I had intended to send a follow-up application today to the Conservatives in the House of Commons to see if there was still some way I could get in there with a political job, but I have decided I had better hold off until tomorrow. I don't want to end up re-sending an application to Ottawa on the day the government falls; if I do that, I'll look like an idiot.
The other thing is that if this government falls tonight it could mess up my live-blog coverage of the Apprentice 2. The show could be pre-empted by prime-time specials featuring Kevin Newman on Global, discussing Paul Martin's plans. The entire Global TV schedule could be ruined if the government falls tonight. Oh well, such is life in Canada.