An Update From the "Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due" Department ...

In case you couldn't guess, praise for the NDP is not exactly flowing like a river around here. But this deserves some credit. In case you can't read that column by J Ibbitson because it's behind a subscriver wall, this link to CTV should do the trick as well.

Anyway, the gist of it is this. The NDP has suggested that the parties "pair" their MP's. What does that mean? Well, it's something we adopted from the Mother Parliament. It means that if an MP from Party 'A' knows that he or she can't be there in time for a particular vote, an arrangement is made with Party 'B' (and 'C', and 'D', and so on) to keep an MP from their caucuses out of the House when the vote is taken. The end result is that everybody has the same number of missing MP's (assuming that the missing MP's are known of in advance, of course).

So let's say Liberal Minister John Efford, who is undergoing treatment for diabetes, and CPC MP Darrell Stinson, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, can't be there. Under this example, the BQ and the NDP would each keep one of their MP's out of the House when the vote is called.

It looks like the CPC is going along with this, and they should. I don't know if the Libs and the BQ are willing to play ball, but if they are not, they would have some explaining to do. Of course, it bears remembering that the Libs refused to agree to pairing back in '79 when ol' Joe C. was toppled, but perhaps they're willing to be more reasonable now.

Of course, there are 2 flies in the ointment:

1. One or more of the "paired" MP's could renege on the deal, and scuttle in just in time to vote. While possible, the party or parties that broke the deal would, I suspect, be in a fair bit of PR trouble, to say the least.

2. We have one ill Indep. MP who possibly can't be there for health reasons - Chuck Cadman. I've tried to think of a way in which he could be fairly paired, but I can't. The good news is, it appears that Cadman will be able to make it next week, either on Monday (which is when the CPC is proposing a final vote be held) or Thursday (which is what Martin wants).

Anyway, I'm sure there may be other problems with this that wiser heads than mine can imagine, but on its surface, it seems like a reasonable compromise. Well done to the NDP for suggesting it - unless I can figure that they're just doing it to harm the other parites, of course *wink*.

Update: Originally, I thought John Efford was suffering from cancer as well. Turns out it's diabetes, so I've amended this post accordingly. While I'm very glad to hear that he's not suffering from cancer, diabetes is no minor thing, either - as evidenced by the fact that he missed Monday's vote, and is considering retiring altogether. My apologies for the error.

More later.


At 10:01 a.m., Blogger Mark Francis said...

There's a bit too much acrimony about for pairing to happen I think. Plus, if pairing is agreed to and someone violates the agreement, there's no real recourse other than just more acrimony.

The idea has merit, given the illnesses.


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