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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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5/10/2005

A Liberal Option

More relevant to the present case is that of the February 1968 defeat of the minority Pearson government at third reading of a tax bill. Pearson chose not to regard this a confidence vote, since the bill had been passed twice before, but immediately introduced the following motion:

That this House does not regard its vote on February 19th ... as a vote of non-confidence in the Government.

No other business was attended to until this motion had been decided. The Liberals won, and that was the end of the matter.

If the amendment to the concurrence motion passes, the Martin government's only option to immediate resignation is a motion like Pearson's. But that will only delay the inevitable. If he does neither, than he should expect a call from the Governor-General.

FURTHER: One thing that ought to be mentioned is that the amendment instructs the committee to do something. I don't think it has the option of refusing without being in contempt of the House. This negates the Liberal's whole "2-stage" approach to the question.
the observant astronomer
Just a straightforward exposition of the constitutional history surrounding confidence votes...Impress your friends and know what the King/Byng crisis was all about.