MPs to vote no-confidence in Tory MP
[PoliticsWatch updated 4:10 p.m. May 9, 2007]
The chair of the Commons committee that last week came under fire nationally for its examination of the Shane Doan affair appears set to lose his job as early as next week.
All three opposition parties said Wednesday they will vote no confidence in
Guy Lauzon, a Conservative MP from Eastern Ontario and the chair of the Commons official languages committee.
Lauzon has been coming under fire from the opposition MPs on the committee this week after he cancelled two scheduled committee meetings to examine the impact of the government's decision to cut funding to the Court Challenges Program.
The program is detested by numerous small-c conservative groups because it is viewed by them as tending to support left-wing causes and ideologies in court. The government included the program in the billion-dollar funding cuts Finance Minister
Jim Flaherty and then treasury board president John Baird announced last fall.
The opposition MPs suspected that Lauzon cancelled the meetings at the request of the Prime Minister's Office, but the MP denies the allegation and said in an interview with the CBC Tuesday that he made his decision on his own because he "didn't think it was right to start playing partisan politics" with the Court Challenges Program.
Lauzon also said the committee had become too partisan and said he wasn't very proud the handling of the Doan affair, even though all Conservatives on the committee voted in favour of Hockey Canada officials appearing to discuss Doan's captaincy.
On Tuesday, NDP MP Yvon Godin held a press conference on Parliament Hill to announce he had given a notice of motion to the clerk of the committee to express no-confidence in Lauzon.
The motion calls for Lauzon to "be relieved of his duties" for the cancellation of Tuesday's meeting on the Court Challenges Program.
"The chair acted against the will of the committee and overstepped his role as chair,"
Godin's motion reads. "As a consequence, he has lost the confidence of the committee."
Godin said he expects the committee will deal with the motion when it
is scheduled to meet next Tuesday. If Lauzon cancels that meeting, too, then committee members could bypass him and have a meeting without the chair's consent within 48 hours if four MPs agree to it. Either way, a vote of no-confidence is expected next week.
Bloc MP Richard Nadeau said Lauzon's actions this week means he's "not fit for the job any more."
"How can we have confidence in someone who's not even man enough to tell us (about cancelling the meetings) in front of us in the committee,"
the Bloc MP told PoliticsWatch.
Liberal MP Raymonde Folco said Lauzon's actions to
single-handedly take control of the committee's agenda were "utterly unethical and unacceptable."
"I will be supporting Mr. Godin and all the members of the Liberal caucus will be supporting Mr. Godin," she told reporters after question period.
The three opposition parties have seven votes combined on the committee to the Conservatives' four.
Barring a last minute change of heart, Lauzon's fate appears sealed.
Last year, Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, who was then the chair of the Commons aboriginal affairs committee, was in the same situation and announced his resignation hours before the opposition members were to vote no-confidence in him.
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