Paul Martin: From Rogue “Group” To Rogue Government

153 – 150.

Paul Martin’s “rogue group” is now a rogue government.

The federal government waded into uncharted constitutional waters Tuesday night after the Liberals were narrowly defeated in a vote the Conservatives say should topple the fragile minority government, but Prime Minister Paul Martin says he will ignore.

A coalition of 153 Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MPs voted for a motion questioning the government̢۪s authority while 129 Liberals, 19 New Democrats and two Independents voted against the motion.

Immediately upon winning the vote, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper rose in the House of Commons to challenge Martin to immediately call a full-fledged vote of confidence, a vote the Liberals were sure to lose again if he did.

“This is a corrupt party which is in the process of ruining the country’s finances and which is now ignoring the democratically expressed will of the House of Commons. This government does not have the moral authority to govern this country,†Harper said outside the House.

“This doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be another opportunity,†Martin responded. “There will be a budget vote and there will be opposition days before the end of the month.â€
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe vowed to find a way to bring down the government, but, like Harper, gave no hint about his plans. “We won’t wait for them. We will keep on finding ways to finish with this government.â€

Stephen Taylor liveblogged the vote and grades the media.

Conservative MP Monte Solberg liveblogged from the House of Commons, via blackberry.

Ed Morrissey is going to know more about Canadian parliamentary procedure than most Canadians do, by the time this whole fiasco is over.

Rempelia Prime“If the government cannot defeat a motion which explicity states, “the House no longer has confidence in this government,†then on what authority does it continue to govern?”

An opinion by Andrew Heard, Associate Professor Political Science Dept., Simon Fraser University; “In light of the past precedents, and especially the relevance of the 1926 motions on the Customs Affair, the current motion appears to be clearly a vote of confidence which would require the government to resign or call an election in the event it loses the vote.”

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Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. Inacio T. da Silva says:

    I prefer an untimely election than to be governed by thieves.

  2. dw says:

    You know, I don’t think anyone really cares. Sorry to break it to you.

  3. McGehee says:

    Uh, DW — you don’t think people in Canada care that their government is disregarding hundreds of years of parliamentary precedent established not only in Ottawa but in London?

    Let me guess — you also didn’t care about a President of the United States committing perjury for the express purpose of denying a plaintiff her chance at getting justice in court, either.

  4. Opposition leader Stephen Harper has said that this shows that Martin is moving from dithering to desperate and dangerous.

    It is dangerous, indeed – no two ways about it. Canada at this point has no official government, because a majority in Parliament has voted them out of office. Paul Martin’s attempt to cling to power has now established an undemocratic banana-republic “government” that no longer has the confidence of a majority.

    This won’t be good for Canada’s international ties and economy. How can the US, for example, deal with Canada at an official level when Canada no longer has an official government?

    Canada, as a nation, needs clarity, and Canadians deserve a democratically elected government that is not given to corruption and mafia-style tactics.

    What does one have to do to restore democracy in Canada? Call on George W. Bush to send his troops to Ottawa?

  5. John says:

    Sorry guys, a non-confidence motion is a specific piece of legislation. The above wasn’t a non-confidence motion. The government is still the government. Legally, which is the only sense that matters.

    This is like being pregnant, you either are or you aren’t.

    As a PR stunt though, yesterday’s theatrics have captured today’s headlines and will give the conservatives more leverage when they hit the campain trail. As it was designed for.

    I liked the breathless commentary though.

  6. Joseph Molnar says:

    Unless mainstream media condemns Liberal corruption editorially during the next election we may well have a replay of a minority situation.
    The smoke of corruption was evident for ten years yet the mainstream media was nothing more then enablers of that corruption to continue.
    Canada needs its own FOX News to clean out the rot both politically and in the enabling media.

  7. richfisher says:

    John sounds a lot like John Duffy (liberal Strategist and influencial MSM reporter)
    Same piece of cover was written in the post this morning by him.
    Most Canaadians think he is a nonpartisan reporter.
    Or they’ve just given up caring.
    Why doesn’t he start all his smiling next door neighbour smirking pieces with
    Hi I’m a paid liberal shill and here’s the story I’ve been told to recite by the guvment .

  8. Jim Whyte says:


    Incorrect. Any specific motion put in the House passing censure, advising dismissal, or praying resignation is a question of confidence, as is the general budgetary motion and the Appropriations Act (annual supply). A motion of non-confidence is a motion, not a piece of legislation.

    Yes, the government, when defeated on a confidence question, remains the government until it resigns or is dismissed. So Werner is incorrect about our no longer having an “official” government. But they do have to resign or the Governor General will have a plain duty to dismiss them (provided always that the Governor can find at least a caretaker government to advise dissolution and an election).

  9. kent Blaker says:

    The mainstream media has received well over 10 billion dollars from the Liberal government since Jean Chretien gained power. After his last election the Liberals gave the media $160 million (for their support during the election?) Conflict of interest? When CBC says it is “Connected” it is refering to it’s Liberal party of Canada connection.

  10. WL Mackenzie says:

    If one believes in the social concept of leadership by example, then we should all take our cues from this liberal ruling cartel and breach conventional civil propriety ourselves.
    We should make the same liberal interpretations of law and constitutional convention in our daily lives as our leaders do in their sacred trust.

    With the unconventional liberal reinterpretations of law you can:

    Run stop signs if you are in a hurry

    Pay tax when you feel like it and then only enough as your personal balanced budget doctrine allows

    Exercise your democratic franchise only when it benefits you and only when you have rigged things for an out come you want.

    Pay your news vendors to say what you want to hear.

    View the charter and constitutional as only a rough guideline and place your individual welfare above the constraints of these documents.

    After all the only reason to break convention is to further your own personal interests…right Paul? Parliamentary and constitutional convention, the law and ethical civil behavior are all open to corruption if it meets your ends…this is the reality of Liberal political culture