Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On Dion's Absence

Naturally, a lot of supporters of other candidates have seized on Stephane Dion's absence in the House of Commons for the big Kyoto vote. They've said it proves he's not up to the job, that he obviously doesn't care, that if he's willing to miss a vote and risk losing on an issue so important to him then he can't be trusted.

This is spin worthy of the Republicans. First, let me just say, OH COME ON!

But now that that's out of the way, here's some facts, for those who are more interested in them than propaganda:

First of all, Dion missed the vote because he was at a fundraiser. This fundraiser had been scheduled months beforehand, and skipping it without seeming like a jerk would have required a very good reason.

So, was there a good reason? Apparently not, since Dion cleared his absence with the Whip's office, and they were sure that his absence would not affect the outcome of the vote.

I think this point is crucial - Dion's presence or absence would not have affected the outcome of the vote one way or another. MPs miss votes all the time. As long as they clear it with the Whip, it's perfectly fine. It's easy for Kennedy and Rae supporters to bash Dion over it because their guys aren't MPs, and thus have never missed a vote in the House of Commons. Maybe we should start digging up all the votes Kennedy and Rae (and Iggy, in his much shorter tenure) have missed throughout their political careers, and hold it over their heads as if it makes them unfit to lead.


Maybe we should just do the sensible thing and acknowledge the reality that not every MP is present for every vote, and to expect such a thing from one MP and not the others is pure hypocrisy.

Also, he still managed to hold his fundraiser and be present the same day in committee to grill Ambrose on her environmental plan.

Finally, his dog's name is Kyoto. Isn't that a good enough substitute?


At 10/10/2006 2:36 p.m., Blogger Devon said...

"Finally, his dog's name is Kyoto. Isn't that a good enough substitute?"
Yeah I guess you're right.

At 10/10/2006 2:45 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have never left Brison!

At 10/10/2006 3:48 p.m., Blogger WestmountLiberal said...

Finally, someone with some common sense on the issue.

At 10/10/2006 10:14 p.m., Blogger Olaf said...


I agree... the vote is a stupid idea anyways, and it was assured, with or without Dion being there.

Also, I wrote a post critical of Dion on Kyoto, and am fearing your wrath as I type.

At 10/11/2006 8:39 a.m., Blogger DPW said...

Absolutely right that too much attention is paid to single votes. The party Whip's role is to ensure enough MPs are present for votes and to pair MPs, who have good reasons to be absent, with MPs from the parties opposite. No criticising MPs from one party if not the others.

That said, staging votes to label MPs has become a favoured tactic. Witness the premature and unnecessary vote on the Afghanistan mission last spring; called with minimum notice and with little purpose other than to destabilise the opposition parties. Expect the same with the same-sex marriage vote. I won't be surprised if Harper gives only a few hours notice and then permits his backbenchers to brand those MPs who support the status quo as anti-family, anti-God. It will be all about labelling for the next election.


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