An MP wrestling with his vote on Iraq

Brent Rathgeber considers how best to engage Iraq

Independent MP Rathgeber speaks during Question Period in House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

In a post last evening, Independent MP Brent Rathgeber explains that he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll vote on the Iraq mission:

For the first time since I became an Independent member of Parliament with a free vote, I am uncertain as to how I am going to use it. I am listening to the arguments and the many pro and cons but remain conflicted.

My many reservations notwithstanding, I am leaning towards voting “yea”, in part, because the wording of the motion will imply that those against it do not unequivocally support Canadian soldiers. I recognize the wedge, but believe that a commitment to a theatre of war should have at least some support on the Opposition benches.

Consider this another part of the Rathgeber experiment—the test of how an MP would behave if unencumbered by the party whip. That extends to how openly that MP would discuss his thinking.

On that note, a little light reading.

The transcript of yesterday’s House debates starts here and resumes here.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair quoted extensively yesterday afternoon from two op-eds: this from Agnes Gruda in La Presse and this from Peggy Mason in the Ottawa Citizen. Both Employment Minister Jason Kenney and NDP MP Paul Dewar managed to cite parts of this dispatch from Postmedia’s Matthew Fisher. And here is the piece from Robert Fowler that was mentioned by Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. May also cited this story from the Guardian on the utility of recent air strikes.

Meanwhile, here is Terry Glavin in the Ottawa Citizen being unimpressed with Mulcair, here is freelance journalist Justin Ling hashing out the myriad questions you might ask about the situation, and here is the CDA Institute’s George Petrolekas in the Globe and Mail offering an agenda for a proper debate.