Ottawa

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.