Monday, November 27, 2006

Whipping Boy

Chong quits Tory cabinet over Quebec motion A three line whip has been called by the Harpocrites. That means not only must Cabinet vote in favour of the Quebecois motion but so must every caucus member and MP or absent themselves from the house.

A three-line whip is the most urgent, and every MP is expected to attend and vote with their party. An MP who fails to attend may be temporarily suspended from the party, a penalty known as ‘having the whip withdrawn’.

This from the party that called for free votes, and criticized the Liberal government when it whiped its Cabinet but allowed its MPs a free vote on Same Sex Marriage. My, my whats that saying in french; oh yeah;Plus de changement de choses, plus ils restent la même chose.

And the subtext of losing ones Intergovernmental Affairs Minister is that he WAS NOT CONSULTED, before Harper sprang his motion on the house last week. Harper talked to Liberal leader BillGraham and consulted famed constitutional expert Dr. Dion, but failed to discuss it with his Intergrovernmental Affairs minister, the guy in charge of the file.

Despite his role as the federal link between Ottawa and the provinces, Chong has had little to do with the Conservative government’s busy relations with the Quebec National Assembly. Most of those relations have been handled by Harper himself.

Harper conceived his strategy in the hope of outflanking the Bloc Quebecois and boosting sagging Conservative popularity in Quebec for the next election.

But he didn't consult Chong, the second-term MP who had been his surprise choice as intergovernmental affairs minister when the Tories formed a cabinet in February.

As it turned out, Chong rarely spoke publicly on federal-provincial issues during his 10 months in office, leaving all the key decision-making to the Prime Minister's Office.

Not consulting is a major downfall of this Harper driven government. They didn't consult the Income Trust industry, they didn't consult over the cuts to the Womens Program or Court Challenges, they didn't consult the environmentalists, and they didn't consult parliament over Afghanistan.

Harper just goes ahead and does what he wants. Bull in the China Shop. Damn the torpedos full speed ahead.

And the other point that arose from Chongs resignation and was raised by the press in the shambles of the press conference with Senator Marjorie Lebreton and Quebec MP Laurence Cannon, was what is the difference between Quebecker and Quebecois. Cannon himself slipped in the press conference and admitted that Quebecois means the founding french families, the Old Quebecois of which he is one.

"I am resigning as minister so I can abstain from the vote tonight," Chong, the former intergovernmental affairs and sport minister, said at a news conference. "While I am loyal to my party and to my leader, my first loyalty is to my country. I believe in one nation undivided called Canada."

He said voting for the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation would be supporting ethnic nationalism, something he could not bring himself to do.

But Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon responded by saying the debate over Quebec as a nation is not divisive and gives voice to Quebec’s unique identity.

Chong’s opinion that it grants Quebecers "ethnic nationalism" isn’t realistic, he said at a news conference with Senator Marjorie LeBreton.

"I certainly don’t share that point of view because this debate has been going on for close to 40 years," Cannon said.

Now some may say this is a semantic difference, however as one reporter pointed out it is more than that. Quebecker includes Anglophones and immigrants who live in Quebec as well as Francophones. Quebecois in Quebec sometimes means the founding families the pure laine. It is a term of racism and petit-bourgoise nationalism as infamously memorialized in Jacques Parizeaus speech denouncing 'foreigners in Quebec' for defeating the 1995 referendum. Foreigners, being Jews, immigrants and Anglophones. It is ethinc nationalism not just a nuanced phraseology, despite Cannon's denials. had

Mr. Chong quit his post as federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister to protest Stephen Harper’s much-ballyhooed proposal to recognize Quebecers as a nation. His move instantly reduced his status to that of a backbencher, with the associated reductions in salary, staff and perks. “I believe in one nation, undivided, called Canada,” he said yesterday. “My first loyalty is to my country. It is for this fundamental principle that I cannot support the motion recognizing the Québécois as a nation.”

And as for the nasty results of censure for those who would oppose the bosses motion well Lebreton dismissed that too.

She denied Chong would have faced serious consequences, such as being kicked out of caucus, if he didn’t tow the party line. "There was no threats," she LeBreton said. "No one was threatened with being kicked out of caucus."

Ha, what the hell does a three line whip mean.

Theoretically at least, expulsion from the party is automatically consequent from defying a three-line whip.
Chief Whip - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After all this is the party that just turfed Garth Turner for far less. If Chong stayed and voted against the motion well he would be sharing wall space with Garth.



Harper Autocrat

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1. What is your source for the claim that a three-line whip was invoked?

2. You linked to a definition of such a whip in the context of the UK Parliament. But what is your source for such a whip having the same meaning -- especially in terms of consequences for individual MPs -- in the federal Canadian context?

3. Lebreton flatly contradicted your assumption about consequences. Have you any evidence that there were threats invoked?