Standoff in Parliament

The Conservatives led a motion today to adjourn the House. Prior to this motion they prompted the Government to call for debate and a vote on their budget.

The Liberal government wants to hold off until next Thursday.

Why is this happening?

The Conservatives want an election as soon as possible. The Liberals want to hold off as long as possible. So why next Thursday?

The Queen is coming to Canada for Alberta and Saskatchewan’s centennial celebrations. The Liberals want to use the optics of the Queen’s visit to boost the Prime Minister before an election call.

If the Liberals are going to do this, the Conservatives are going to do everything in their power to point out that the Liberals are stalling and that they are doing so at the expense of Parliament’s business. By proposing a budget vote, getting turned down by the Liberals, and then adjourning the Conservatives are pointing out that the Liberals are stalling and delaying according to their own schedule and for their own purposes.

The Liberals are claiming that the Conservatives are ‘paralyzing’ parliament, while the Liberals are filibustering their own budget by bringing up committee business in the House which need not be addressed so immediately. The Conservatives aren’t going to allow the Liberals to delay and are pointing out that the Liberals don’t want to debate and vote on the pressing issue of Parliament: the budget.

Meanwhile Canadians see that the government has an opportunity to vote on the budget that it was so eager to pass, but they see the Liberals decline this opportunity. Then they see an adjournment of the House. The optics are that Parliament is not working (ie. non-confidence, whether it is official or not is apparent) and Canadians will want the Liberals to stop stalling and will punish them if they don’t.

However… Martin has just announced an aid package for the Sudan (which falls short of Kilgour’s demands needed for his support), so this story will lead the national news tonight. The non-functioning parliament (and need for an election) will be secondary to this announcement.