Thursday, February 7, 2008

Confidence Motion: Tories Throw Down Over Omnibus Crime Bill

CTV reports:

The Tories announced today they will introduce a confidence motion demanding that the Liberal-dominated Senate pass their omnibus crime bill.

Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which consists of five bills dealing with violent crimes, dangerous offenders, and the age of sexual consent, passed the House of Commons in late November, just before a Christmas break that ended in late January.

Now, the Conservatives will make the proposed act a confidence matter, calling on the Senate to pass the bill no later than March 1.

"We're looking for the House of Commons to restate its desire to see this bill become law," Government House leader Peter Van Loan told reporters on Thursday.

Van Loan said he'd like to see a vote in the House of Commons by next week.

"We're assuming it will pass, if it isn't passed, it's a confidence motion," he said.

"We've made it clear that the Tackling Violent Crime Act... was a confidence matter... (and) this motion asking that it be passed will be a confidence matter as well."


Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said the crime bill was "not a contentious matter."

"I think what they're doing is positioning themselves, you could hear the minister winding up his rhetoric on how the Tories have a monopoly on being opposed to crime and in favour of virtue," Rae told CTV's Canada AM immediately following Nicholson's appearance.

"We're all opposed to crime, we all want to take measures that will deal with it and we will deal with it."

CTV News has also confirmed that the government will introduce its federal budget on February 26. A vote would follow in early March, creating another chance for an early election.

Now this is just good politicking. Coupled with his recent stand on Afghanistan, I would wager the Prime Minister doesn't expect the February 26 budget to pass. By introducing a confidence motion on Bill C-2, Harper is trying to cultivate the notion that his party opposes crime whereas the others are only willing to so when threatened with an election. Rae is dead on when he suggests that Bill C-2 will probably pass and that Harper's just sabre rattling. But the move is brilliant because if the government falls on the omnibus crime bill then Harper has major ammunition for the election and if it passes then it looks like the Liberals were afraid to pull the trigger. Well played, Mr. Prime Minister.

Stumble Upon Toolbar