Opposition non-confidence motion set
[PoliticsWatch Updated 6:30 p.m. May 9, 2005]
OTTAWA — An
opposition motion of non-confidence against the minority Liberal
government will be voted on in the House of Commons on
In yet another procedural move, the Conservatives amended a report from the public accounts committee to include a non-confidence
measure recommending the government resign.
Later, the Speaker of the House ruled the motion in order and debate will continue this evening.
A vote was delayed to Tuesday because the prime minister and the other opposition leaders
are participating Monday in VE-Day commemorations in Europe.
But the Government House Leader, Tony Valeri, told reporters shortly after the speaker ruled
the motion in order that the government would not consider the vote a matter of confidence because it is a procedural motion recommending a report be recommitted to committee.
"Procedural motions are not confidence motions," Valeri said.
Valeri said he expects the motion to be returned to committee and
debated there before returning to the House to be voted on.
He said the opposition parties are "spinning" that their motion is a confidence motion.
Nonetheless, although concurrence motions are non-binding, this could potentially lead to a vote in the House declaring non-confidence in the government.
Politically and in the international media it will appear that Martin has lost the confidence of the House, even though procedural rules may say otherwise.
Valeri said if Martin loses the vote, the motion would be sent to the committee and "the prime minister will get up in the House and we will continue to govern in the interest of Canadians."
Bloc Quebecois House leader Michel Gauthier and Conservative House leader Jay Hill both said they expect their seats
will be filled Tuesday with their full contingent of 153 MPs
The Liberals, who have the support of the NDP on non-confidence motions after a budget deal last month and independent MP Carolyn Parrish, have a combined 151 votes.
The fate of the government appears to rest in the hands of two independent MPs - David Kilgour and Chuck Cadman.
However, there are questions in Ottawa about whether Cadman, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, can be in Ottawa on such short notice.
If Kilgour or Cadman vote with the Bloc and the
Conservatives or if Cadman do not show up, then the Liberals would
likely lose the vote.
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