Liberals look to avoid confidence
vote, delay opposition days
[PoliticsWatch Updated 9:15 p.m. April 18, 2005]
OTTAWA — In what appears to be an effort to avoid a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, Government House Leader Tony Valeri has suspended an opposition day motion put forward by the Conservatives this week that would have secured weekly opposition days.
Opposition days are a weekly opportunity for the opposition parties to put forward a motion
for a vote in the House.
With the opposition parties controlling the minority parliament, speculation in Ottawa has been that one of the opposition parties would put forward a confidence vote in the coming weeks that would trigger an election in mid-May to be held for late June.
The opposition parties are eager to go to the electorate with polls showing Liberal support dropping as low as 25 per cent due in part to public anger over testimony of kickbacks to the Liberal party being made in exchange for sponsorship contracts given to Quebec ad agencies.
On Monday, Valeri said he would cancel a Conservative opposition day motion because setting opposition days is the responsibility of the government, not the opposition parties.
That provoked outrage from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper who met with reporters Monday evening on Parliament Hill to denounce Valeri and the Liberal government.
"I think they are just signing their own death warrant," Harper said. "This is the kind of behaviour a government does when it is scared to death of the
"It is not up to the government in our system to decide whether an opposition motion is order or not. It's up to the Clerk and the Speaker. Our motion was in order. We don't have to get the approval of the government to express
"When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid assent is frankly when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern."
In an interview with CTV News, Valeri said he would honour the six opposition days remaining this session.
However, when asked if he would postpone them to the final six days of the session in late June, Valeri did not rule it out and said, "What I am committed to is providing those opposition days within the cycle."
If the opposition days are postponed, the
opposition parties still have one opportunity to defeat the
government before the end of the session when the budget
implementation bill comes up for a vote in the House.
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