Irwin Cotler will abstain again -

Irwin Cotler will abstain again

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler takes a stand by sitting this one out



In October, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler decided to abstain from voting on the government’s request for support for its military mission against the Islamic State.

Five months later, with another motion before the House and with the Liberals again officially deciding to vote against the motion, Cotler has decided to abstain for a second time. Here is his explanation for that.

“My main concern has always been the protection of civilians in Syria and Iraq. In October, I was unable to support the government’s motion because of the Prime Minister’s statement that Canada would give a veto to the criminal Assad regime. I remain unable to support the government in this matter because its proposed expansion of Canada’s mission continues to allow Assad to assault Syrian civilians with impunity. Moreover, the government’s lack of clarity in October has only been compounded by a lack of forthrightness since. I will therefore abstain once again from voting on the motion.”

As I wrote yesterday, Cotler’s vote was one of the few interesting votes in the House. Of all the Conservative, NDP and Liberal votes in the House, his seems to be the only one likely to deviate from the party line and now he adds a new argument to the debate that is otherwise dominated by party positions.



Irwin Cotler will abstain again

  1. Of course he will, he’s the last Liberal left with any sort of principles. Anybody else remember when Canadian Liberals used to champion the Responsibility to Protect? Sure seems like an awful long time ago.

  2. I’m not sure I get the abstention.

    He is against the government’s motion. So is his party. If his party were supporting the motion, I can see him abstaining so as not to officially break rank.

    Conversely, if he supported the government’s motion but did not want to break rank with the Liberals’ opposition, that also makes sense.

    So, his reasoning for not supporting the government may differ from his party’s; in the end, though, the result is the same: A lack of support. So why not just vote?

  3. Aw, this was a very well-written post. Taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article is very rare these days!