By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
September 26 brings us the second reading vote for Motion M-312 in the House of Commons. And all I know for certain is that I don’t know for certain how it is going to go.
Some oddities over the past day or so.
Reports from Ottawa have said that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying to get his cabinet united against M-312. But Immigration minister Jason Kenney has told the Calgary Herald that he will vote for the motion on second reading.
Government Whip Gordon O’Connor spoke against M-312, according to a CBC live blogger. He refuted both the need for the legilation and its premise.
Okay, you’d reason, the Tories are about to tell their MPs how to vote. The Whip has just given them their rationale and thus their marching orders.
But no. Representatives of the whips office are now telling the CBC that the second reading will have a “free vote” allowing MPs to vote as they choose. Ths clears the way for Kenney to go to the press with his voting plans.
And in the background, we have a wild card with evangelist Faytene Grasseschi’s account of a Tory caucus meeting in which the caucus rebelled and forced Harper into a Damascus Road experience in which he decided that he needed to run in the other direction to get in front to lead his wandering army.
How accurate was the account? I’m not sure. But, she has been travelling around the country with this story, encouraging “the troops” to hope and work for more of the same.
If it happened once. can it happen again?
Is Harper and his brains trust fed up? Are they confident that the pro=choice side will handily win, therefore those pro-life MPs who feel an urgent need to can safely vote yes?
Does the motion look like a sop to pro-lifers? Passing second and event third reading would merely result in talking about abortion. As drafted, the motion does not oblige the goverment to do anything with what the Parliamentfary committee finds. A report can be left to gather dust on a shelf. But going through the motions would allow pro-lifers to say “We made the
government do this…which resulted in nothing…but we made them do this because we are mighty!”
But, we need to take a breath. The Tories may be able to let people play to the grandstands in this vote because every motion, even a private members one, must pass the House of Commons three times and then the Senate ‘before obliging the government to act.
M-312 lives on, but nothing happens yet if the second reading vote goes the way its proponent’s want it to. Nothing more at this time exept gearing up fo the third reading vote. And there is always the Senate afterwards.
But what will happen in *this* vote, you ask?
There are arguments for several possible outcomes, some of which I’ve outlined.
But, let’s go to the definitive oracle:
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