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Tonight's Vote Should Count

Been too busy to blog in the past few days, but it looks like the Martin government might lose a vote tonight that may or may not be a vote of non-confidence.

There has been a fair bit of arguing over whether or not this vote tonight "counts" as a confidence vote, but I think Jay Currie captured it best in comments he made on the CalgaryGrit blog:

The question which arises in any vote in the Commons is whether or not the government has the confidence of the House. All Budget votes and votes on the Speech from the Throne are confidence votes.

However, the vote itself is not the issue, the confidence of the House however expressed, is the issue. Losing a vote which demands the government's resignation suggests a loss of that confidence.

If the Liberals lose this vote tonight, there is no question that their government does not have the confidence of the House. If they don't have the confidence of the House of Parliament, then Paul Martin should resign and an election should be held.

Normally I have a conservative streak when it comes to honouring the traditions of our parliamentary system, so I might have some sympathy to procedurally-based arguments about what should happen. However, it seems obvious to me, in this case, that when you do not have the confidence of the House, it doesn't matter what type of vote is used to express non-confidence. You just don't have it, and you are done.

UPDATE May 11: Here's a more formal opinion that agrees with mine, from Andrew Heard.





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