Too disunited to govern?


The Canadian Press finds increasing unease among Conservative MPs about the government’s support for asbestos.

The first public cracks in the Conservative party line came on Nov. 1, when five Tory MPs broke ranks and abstained from an NDP vote that would have banned asbestos exports. That was followed last Monday with a private Parliament Hill meeting that saw about a dozen Conservative parliamentarians ask some pointed questions of the Chrysotile Institute and industry scientists over several hours … Other Conservative MPs who were not at the meeting have told The Canadian Press they too are uneasy with the current position on asbestos. One Tory, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some of his colleagues might have voted for the recent NDP motion if had been worded more narrowly and had actually been binding on government.

The idea that more Conservative MPs would’ve voted in favour of the NDP motion if it had somehow been binding is a novel one. If the government whipped the entirely symbolic vote earlier this month, one assumes they would whip a more consequential vote, meaning any Conservatives who voted with the opposition would almost certainly be punished.

Our Julia Belluz previously handled the question of whether asbestos could be handled safely.


Too disunited to govern?

  1. So don’t worry, even though the Conservatives are supporting the industry as a government, they don’t support it as individuals.

    This is the way you can play both sides of the issue when you have 9 communications staffers for every MP.

    • I guess you need a lot of communications consultants when you need to make the manure smell sweet.

  2. Interesting. So by Conservative standards, this means that Stephen Harper is NOT a leader. 

  3. No.  Not too disunited to govern.

    MPs demontrating independant thinking is exactly what I want.

    • And yet, the Tories are the biggest bunch of robo-voters that have graced the government benches in living memory, if not ever.

      • I’m not sure if that is the case or not….I read lots of comments that say that is so.

        I do know that I would very much like to see more independant thought – from MPs on both sides of the house – and so I will try to provide positive feedback when I see demonstrations of that independant thought.

        My ‘pat on the back’ is more likely to lead to a repeat performance than someone else’s ‘derision’. :-)

  4. Now that is some constructive criticism of the NDP.  If they did that kind of thing regularly in QP I could see taking a serious look at voting for a CPC candidate.. (assuming of course, said candidate wasn’t Deepak Obhrai)

  5. I love how, as recently as last week, the left-leaning commenters were virtually unanimous in decrying MP’s in lockstep behind a dictator and were wondering what was the point of having MPs at all.  And now it’s suddenly “too disunited to govern”.  

    • Uh. You are aware that the “too disunited to govern” meme was first put forth by the CPC for the long-arms registry vote when a few MPs of the opposition didn’t vote in lockstep.

      Wherry’s just, as usual, pointing out the hypocrisy.

    • Yeah, you’re missing Wherry’s point.  

      The notion that a party could be deemed “too disunited to govern” isn’t WHERRY’s, it’s the CPC’s.  If Tories can call the NDP too disunited to govern because a handful of Dippers wanted to get rid of the long-gun registry, then surely turnabout is fair play when a handful of Tory MPs want us to stop trafficking in asbestos.

      There’s hypocrisy all around, for sure, but here, Wherry is specifically pointing out the hypocrisy of the Tories, who have called in to question the suitability of the NDP to govern on more than one occasion on the argument that they are apparently not “united” enough, over issues JUST LIKE THIS ONE.

      • Sure, turnabout might be fair play (and can even be (short term) fun)…but is it helpful, is it productive, will it help Canada ‘move forward’, whatever THAT means?

        At some point couldn’t we take a slightly higher road and say “THAT is a good thing”?

        Just sayin….

        • I’m pretty sure “keep readers entertained” is higher on Wherry’s list of job priorities than “help Canada move forward”.

          That said, as for the idea of the opposition taking the higher road, that’s great in principle, but faced with a majority government that appears to hold anyone who sits on the other side of the House of Commons in visceral contempt, it kinda feels to me like a call for all of those who oppose the Tories to unilaterally disarm for the good of the country, and I’m not buying it. I’ll start calling for Wherry and Macleans blog commenters to get up on the higher road when I start seeing some Cabinet Ministers up there.

          Personally, I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a long time to see that.

          Just sayin…

          • Picture me with a rueful grin…

            I’m pretty sure “keep readers entertained” is higher on Wherry’s list of job priorities than “help Canada move forward”.

            Sure, I can agree with that.  At a more basic level Wherry’s job is to keep folks coming to the Macleans website, and being entertaining or provocative or whatever, is a big part of that.  And many commenters help out by being equally entertaining or provocative or whatever.  I get all of that.

            But I’m pertty sure that Wherry and the other Macleans contributors (as well as many commenters) are also here, to varying degrees, because of some genuine interest in the underlying issues, whether to understand or to influence or a bit of both.  So I’m reluctant to totally discount the “doing good” aspect, even if that is too corny.
            …it kinda feels to me like a call for all of those who oppose the Tories to unilaterally disarm for the good of the country, and I’m not buying it.
            That isn’t what I want, not at all.
            Somebody has to make the first move.

            Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if we all didn’t spend so much time waiting for the other side to make the first move.   ;-)

    • It’s just no fun having a go at you Cons because you never get it.

      • Oh, we get it.
        We just like messing with you.

        • Are you familiar with “knifer?”

          • You`re still using the hot knives ?

          • No, got rid of them years ago. I was referring to the legendary Harper-troll “knifer.” He hangs out at The Globe.

        • An infant who exasperates his parents by continually throwing food on the floor has tons of fun and thinks himself very clever, as well.

  6. So, we don’t have to worry about Asbestos at 24 Sussex?

  7. “Solid caucus discipline has been one of Stephen Harper’s political achievements over six years in power. While open revolt over asbestos hasn’t erupted, clear faultlines over government resistance to having the substance listed as hazardous internationally suggest the prime minister may be forced to deal with a rare case of internal dissent”

    Next move for the pmo to organize some tours of that hole in the ground, maybe gently remind those dissenters they should be grateful they don’t have to suit up and climb down in there

    Kidding…we all know the pmo doesn’t, wouldn’t do that.

    Dissent is good. Let’s see lots more dissenting from the party line all around, whatever the party, please.  

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