One of these things is not like the other?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, in the last election we promised Canadians a genuinely free vote on the issue in the House of Commons. My party, including the cabinet of my party, will vote freely on this issue.

I know that the new Leader of the Opposition has said he will not allow a free vote by his caucus members. I hope that proves not to be the case because I think the rights of members of Parliament are some of the most important rights we have in this country.


In case you were wondering, the issue in question is not whether Québec is a nation. For that vote, held just over a week ago, Harper whipped his cabinet, forcing a minister to resign rather than support it. Apparently Harper doesn’t think recognizing ethnic groups as nations constitutes a moral issue. Or he’s just a hypocrite. One of those.



  1. Dexter said,

    Tuesday, 9 January 2007 at 2:59 pm

    So in your opinion, if a leader allows a free vote for one issue, he should allow free votes for all issues? I don’t know…I think that allowing any free votes (a la Conservative) is an improvement over allowing zero free votes (a la Liberal).


  2. Gnomes said,

    Sunday, 14 January 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Allowing more free votes may be a good thing, though when voting on removing equality rights from citizens, I’d be more inclined to support a party which adopted a unified front.

    My point, though, was just that Harper was being disingenuous. He needed to promise to revisit the SSM issue to appease his SoCon supporters, but since Parliament had just voted on the issue, there was no good reason to dredge the issue up again. So he fabricated one: “All non-free votes are invalid, since MPs are compelled to vote with their party instead of their constituents or conscience!” And yet, when Harper needs to get something controversial done, he has no problem compelling his MPs to obey.

    The Liberals have allowed free votes, and to my knowledge, they have not attempted to portray whipped votes as somehow invalid.

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