UPDATED AGAIN: Oh, Senate. Thanks for restoring my faith in parliamentary democracy.

Okay, I feel bad saying this, since most of you won’t get the chance to appreciate it until the transcript goes up tomorrow, but the debate currently going on in the Senate over the budget bill — actually, I think they’re still on Lowell Murray’s motion to delete the non-stimulus provisions from the budget — is possibly the most inspirational that I’ve heard in — well, ages.

Also, to the senator who just commented on my absence from the gallery: I’m listening to the audio feed right now, and making my Hot Room colleagues do the same. I’m just not allowed to bring my Blackberry into the Senate, and I wanted to update the rest of the world on what’s going on in there.

UPDATE: I just watched the vote on Senator Murray’s motion, which would have deleted all the non-stimulus measures from the bill, and the results were … drumroll:

  • five in favour: Murray, McCoy, Baker, Harb and – darn it, I’ve forgotten the fifth;
  • 33 against (the entire Conservative caucus plus a few independents); and
  • 21 abstentions (the entire Liberal caucus minus Harb and Baker, plus a couple of independents).

I’m not sure whether some or all of the Liberals will abstain on the main motion, and some may even vote against it. We’ll see in a few minutes, I guess.


It’s done. Final tally:

  • Yeas/pour: 50 – all the Tories, most of the Liberals
  • Nays/contre: 4 – Baker, Harb, Stollery and one other
  • Abstentions: 5  – Murray, McCoy, Prudhomme and two others

I’ll fill in the blanks when I get the voting transcript – but for now, ITQ is signing off. I’ll post a link to the debate as soon as it goes up and you’ll see why it’s been so hard to tear myself away from the Senate gallery, although oddly, when Mac Harb seized upon the post-vote denouement to launch into a speech on the seal hunt, I admit that I fled for cover. Tell me you wouldn’t do the same.

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