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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The New New Math 

Really, this blog is not about politics. Honest!

Okay, I thought wrong in my last post. The Liberals have thrown in with the NDP. It still doesn't add up, so this should be fun.

Just to reiterate the numbers: New Democratic Liberals: 151. Bloc Conservatives: 153. Independent: 3. A tie means the budget passes, because the tie vote goes to the speaker of the house. Oh, those independents!

Of the independents, David Kilgour is expected to vote against the budget. Carolyn Parrish is expected to vote for the budget. Chuck Cadman is undecided. He initially came out in favour of the budget, but I was listening to him on CKNW last night, and he has said the deciding factor would probably be the feelings of his constituents, and that after an initial flurry of "vote no" calls, it appeared to be heavily running to "vote yes" for the budget.

Not that it matters! The math seems confused, but after checking and rechecking my numbers, the NDP-Lib coalition, even with the support of two independents, does not have the votes. It's actually worse than it looks, because I believe the Liberal total to make 151 with the NDP already includes the speaker, and the speaker only votes if the House vote is tied. Tie goes to the Liberals, but the Liberals don't have the votes unless they can manufacture one or two more votes for the budget.

The most likely mechanism at this point would seem to be an abstention or absence by one or more Conservatives.

I think what is really going on here is that Martin is hoping that by pretending he has a budget-passing majority, he will be perceived as having a budget-passing majority, and that the Conservatives will be seen as some sort of political spoilsports for not going along. Of course, that's not how minority governments actually work.

So in my usual premature fashion, I'm already writing off the budget vote (and the Liberal government) and asking the next interesting question: if the government falls, will the Governor-General ask the Conservatives to form a government? And will the Conservatives run the show with the tacit support of the Bloc? It could be interesting.

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