Keith Beardsley – View From the Hill – Bill C- 49: Is this the next election trigger? – December 2, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – The Liberals have decided to vote against the Conservative bill that attacks human smuggling. They are joining with the Bloc and the NDP, with all three parties vowing to kill the bill. One can almost hear Conservative coalition rhetoric on this decision.

Have the Liberals put their finger on the trigger that could cause an election, an election fought on the Conservative’s terms? All it will take is for the government to announce that the vote will be one of “confidence”. Lose it and the Conservatives are handed their election.

Attacking human smuggling has been a consistent Conservative theme since the last boat arrived off the coast of BC. Jason Kenney is insisting that this bill will go forward, regardless of the fact that it might be defeated. Kenney is a very smart operator. He has spent the last few years working our various new Canadian communities. He better than anyone else in the government, knows best how these communities will respond if it comes down to an election on this issue.

I know from my own experience that when boats arrived in the 1980’s, the harshest criticism came from new Canadians. These were individuals and families that had waited many years to be selected to immigrate to Canada. They came legally, waited their turn and were furious at what they saw as queue jumping.

Ignatieff’s spin is that he is standing up for the Charter and for the victims of human smuggling. The government will counter by arguing against queue jumping, being in favour of secure borders and punishing those that abuse our laws. For once the Liberals will take the lofty intellectual approach and argue about the Charter and legal rights while the Conservatives will be making an argument that will appeal to the heart.

Perhaps this explains the rumours that the shuffle is planned for next week, rather than the more logical early January period. Complete the shuffle. Get their election cabinet into place. Put Fantino in as a junior minister so that he can return to refight Vaughan as a cabinet minister. Then, call a confidence vote on the bill the last week the House sits in December or the first week of February after the House returns.

The Conservatives won the last Christmas election in 2005-06. There is no reason for them to be afraid of one now, especially when they can ride the momentum from Vaughan. The Liberals will get blamed for a Christmas election and the vote could be in February. There is nothing wrong with that timing for the Conservatives.

It will be an interesting campaign, Liberals arguing Charter and the Conservatives attacking smugglers, the coalition for not standing up for secure borders and the immigration industry that profits from defending queue-jumpers. Olivia Chow of the NDP was quoted as saying “bring it on”. She might get her wish.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Truffles Burger


  1. The opposition parties would have a golden opportunity to exploit Harperite hypocrisy: support the troops, fail the veterans and their families; tough on crime, soft on guns; fiscal conservatives, racking up the largest deficit in Canadian history; transparency, the most secretive government in Canadian history; accountability, sure….to the Conservative minority core.

    Not to mention Harper & Co’s abject irresponsibility–not to say cowardice–on climate change and child poverty. A narrow, mean view of the world and human potential. Petty, anti-democratic attitudes the moment they face a challenge they don’t like. No shame in bending the truth; no shame in bullying and smearing the messengers of opposing views. Sour, lazy, unimaginative bunch disgracing everything decent about Canada and Canadians.

    Any self-respecting opposition party would have had these Harperites over a barrel by now, tarred and feathered, and run out of town. At the next election? Who’s going to step up and make it happen?

  2. An election in January will give people a chance to talk with family and friends over their turkey,tofu and watching the kids play.discussing things like refugees jumping in from of the legal application of thousands of immigrant hopefuls.

  3. You know, I actually have to disagree with the Liberal and coalition view at this time.. this is not an issue to force an election on and if they do, its political suicide for the opposition parties..

    Quite frankly, we need to send a message to foreign crime groups that are smuggling humans to Canada.. We will no longer be wishy washy and tolerate their crap..

    What the Libs and opposition should be looking carefully at is the real nasty bill C-36..

    That’s a gun to many businesses heads in this country.. And its already floating around in the Senate..

    Oh wait, I forgot, Harper convinced all the other parties to keep that bill quiet, so a lot of people are still unaware of the implications of that bill..

    Please for everyones sakes, look it up and study up on all of it.. its a vastly skeleton bill that Harper has been trying to pass for years now.. and it could be extremely damaging to Canada as a whole to pass that bill..

Leave a Reply