The New Democratic Party’s first-term MP for Vancouver Kingsway has some advice for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, on how they should act when Parliament resumes on January 26: stop being bullies.
Don Davies made this suggestion even as he acknowledged that the Harper government may not be immediately toppled by a Liberal–NDP coalition that has the support of the Bloc Québécois.
“If they come back at the end of January and they understand that they need to get the confidence of the House and they act accordingly, then that’s one scenario,” Davies told the Straight. “But if they come back and continue to bully and act undemocratically and come from a hard-right perspective, then I think the coalition will revive itself, and it’s a very real possibility that it will replace the Harper government.”
Gov. Gen. Michaí«lle Jean prorogued Parliament on December 4 at the request of Harper, who was facing imminent defeat by the coalition at the time.
The Liberals later installed Michael Ignatieff as their leader, replacing Stéphane Dion, a key proponent of the coalition. Ignatieff has since indicated that he may support a Conservative budget if it contains a sound economic-stimulus package. The budget will be presented in Parliament on January 27.
“One scenario is Harper comes with a fantastic budget,” Davies said. “Another scenario is he comes out with an unacceptable budget, and the Liberals vote for it. Third possibility is he comes back with a terrible budget or an unacceptable budget, and the Liberals and the New Democrats vote down the government. There may be more.”
The Conservatives’ fall economic statement proposed slashing federal subsidies to parties, a plan that was immediately withdrawn after it was attacked by the opposition.
If Delta–Richmond East Conservative MP John Cummins’s comments are any indication, his party may return to Parliament with a more conciliatory attitude.
“I think that cooler heads will prevail, and I think that people will recognize that the Canadian public expects Parliament to work, and that a lot of the shenanigans that went on before Christmas should be set aside,” Cummins told the Straight. “And I’m not putting the blame on anybody in particular. When I say that, I think that things could have been handled differently by everyone, and I don’t think it’s helpful to be pointing fingers at this point.”
Cummins added, “What we got to do is let bygones be bygones.”