Budget vote made for gripping TV drama

In Quebec, the Gomery Inquiry has become the most watched television program. The rest of Canada waits for the synopsis every evening.
Whenever has the House of Commons telecasts been the number-one rated show in Canada? It happened last Thursday, and I must admit that in our house, we were glued to the TV to watch every member of the House of Commons stand and cast their vote.
The nation was caught up in the excitement. Would there be an election in June or would we wait to February to go to the polls? History was in the making.
We had drama. There was suspense and there was sex.
Our own MP, Ken Boshcoff, was busy putting together his election team and organizing offices. As late as Thursday at noon, no one in the Liberal caucus was confident of the win and Ken was calling his constituency people to have them ready to open offices that evening.
The week began with mystery and the unusual move of a ranking Tory crossing the floor to the Liberals. Having just passed through the Conservative election school on the weekend, Belinda Stronach moved across the aisle to support the Liberals.
It changed the complexion of the balance of power in Ottawa. Suddenly, the most important people in the country were three independent members from across Canada.
No one knew who was going to win. How would the independent members cast their vote on the amendment to the budget?
The drama grew over the week.
Last Thursday was decision day. People left from work early to watch the vote. The anticipation of the showdown had everyone’s attention. The career’s of Canada’s prime minister and the leader of the Opposition were on the line.
The vote began with those standing in favour voting first. No indication was gained from the independents on how they would vote. The Liberals voted as expected.
Then the New Democrats voted and it was time to hear from the independents. First Carolyn Parrish cast her vote. Then Chuck Cadman rose from his seat.
Everyone knew the house was in deadlock. It was up to the Speaker to cast his vote. And for the first time in Canadian history, the Speaker’s vote gave the government its confidence.
And then it was over. The budget amendment goes back for more debate in committee. Then it may return for a second vote of confidence.

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