house of commons: watching the vote

[Guest post from Allan/redsock]

Laura is in Ottawa today with the rest of the Toronto members of the War Resisters Campaign for this afternoon's historic vote in the House of Commons to allow Iraq War resisters from the US to remain in Canada.

The three opposition parties have indicated that their members will vote Yes on the motion. If that happens, Harper's minority government, while in power, cannot defeat the motion. Once it passes, Harper has two choices: obey the motion or give a huge middle finger to Parliament and a clear majority of Canadian voters.

I'll be watching on CPAC (watch online here) and will provide running commentary in comments. Feel free to tune in and follow along!

This is the text of the motion:
The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.

As I said in the thread below, I'm not sure if the vote is at 3 PM or if the session that will include the vote begins at that time. Either way, I'll be back at 3 PM.


rww said...

My money is on the middle finger.

We get our turn come election time if Dion ever guts the guts to quit the coalition.

If this was a matter of confidence the Liberals would be abstaining.

redsock said...

There are 305 members of Parliament. Does that mean if the motion gets at least 153 votes, it passes?

(Question time on now!)

redsock said...

3 PM!

Let's wrap it up, people!

redsock said...

here it is!!!

redsock said...

chair reads the motion from the standing commitete

in favour -- rise.

redsock said...

those in favour are standing up and their names are being read out loud.

cpac should have a counter of "yeas" on the screen. i lost count right away!

... dion!!!

M@ said...

Does that mean if the motion gets at least 153 votes, it passes?

The motion only needs a majority of the members who vote on it -- not a majority of the members in the house. However, if a motion gets 153 votes, it will of course pass.

redsock said...

i was not sure if it needed to pass by a higher % than 50.1.

redsock said...

M2: by the way, HELLO!

redsock said...

M@ not M2

M@ said...

Nope -- simple majority.

So Dion voted yes, eh? Amazing. I honestly wasn't sure he had it in him.

redsock said...

Ignatieff also stood. The Yeas seem to go by pretty fast though.

redsock said...

PASSED 137-110

redsock said...


Party at our house on Saturday!!!

redsock said...

I guess that's it. They have moved on to other stuff.

L said they had packed a lot of beer for the bus ride back!!!

M@ said...


Can't wait to write to my (CPC) MP tonight and point out how important it is for the government to follow the will of parliament. That seemed awfully important to them back when they were in opposition.

I really ought to get into Hansard and find some choice quotes from Harper on the subject. A little time with howdtheyvote.ca would probably do the trick...

redsock said...

I'm sure Laura would use a choice quote or two!

Kim_in_TO said...


I can't see Harper defying the motion. Am I naive in thinking it would be the end of him to do so?

redsock said...

I can't see him doing that either.

Anyone know how common that is -- a minority government disregarding the vote of Parliament?

Toss in all the scandals and various other shit, and this really isn't the best time for Harper to say "Fuck You" to the House of Commons.

M@ said...

There are a few possibilities for Harper.

He can indeed defy parliament. I don't know if people remember the details of the situation in 2005 where the finance committee passed a motion that Paul Martin's government should fall (I forget the wording but that was the implication). The motion passed and Martin, of course, didn't step down. The fact is, though, that a committee has no jurisdiction over the government like this; it left everyone kind of in limbo, but because the government ignored it, it had no effect.

The situation was quite different, since the C&I committee obviously does have jurisdiction over these matters.

Harper can, I think, simply refuse to do anything on the matter. However, it's hard to imagine how Glass's deportation can proceed -- although it's only a passed motion so far, and not policy, surely there is legal recourse for Glass now that did not exist before. But nothing compels the minister to establish a policy, so we could still have resisters going before refugee boards and so on.

The only thing that will compel Harper to do anything about this is public shaming. Because there's no effective opposition in the house, that shame will be minimal, and Harper can drag his feet.

Unless I'm wrong about motions not compelling action by parliament. I'm pretty sure he can just sit around and ignore it though.

redsock said...

Thanks, Matt!

Martin fell right after we moved here.

The campaign has mentioned Harper possibly doing nothing. Which I suppose is fine, since when he's tossed out in the next (but when??) election, the Liberals can make it official policy.

Also, it sounds like there is a fair amount of agreement within the Liberal party that this is an issue they can use to hit Harper.

We'll see if they do that.

L-girl said...

I honestly wasn't sure he had it in him.

Me neither! But when he stood up, we just LOST it!!!

L-girl said...

My money is on the middle finger.

Everyone said the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration wouldn't pass our motion.

They did.

Everyone said we couldn't get the Liberals on board.

We did.

Now you and everyone else can say that we won't be able to get the government to implement it.

But we will.

M@ said...

Now you and everyone else can say that we won't be able to get the government to implement it.

Never said that. I said Harper had an out. If anyone's going to close that off, it's the resisters gang.

You've earned this. You'll bring it home. And I'll keep calling my MP till you do. Go L-girl! And go resisters! Right is on our side.

And Corey, if you're reading this, stay put. You're not going anywhere. And kick and scream if anyone says otherwise. Canadians are on your side!

M@ said...

As a BTW -- Harper wasn't present for the vote in May '05 where there was a committee vote that said the government should fall. I'm still looking for quotes -- I'll post 'em if I find 'em.

L-girl said...

Never said that.

I totally know that. :)

I was answering "rww", the first commenter on this thread.

L-girl said...

Harper wasn't present for the vote in May '05 where there was a committee vote that said the government should fall. I'm still looking for quotes -- I'll post 'em if I find 'em.

We have that in Campaign material. We definitely quote it. I'll look for it too.