Summer election still possible: Boshcoff

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Ken Boshcoff said he’s pleased with the results of the budget vote last Thursday, but warned the Opposition may yet force an election this summer.
“There are still six Opposition Days and about four more weeks of Parliament sitting, during which the Opposition could trigger an election in spite of what the public has been telling them,” Boshcoff said yesterday.
Last Thursday’s budget vote in the House of Commons was a confidence vote that determined whether or not Canadians would head back to the polls.
The Liberals and NDP, who voted in favour of the budget, had a combined vote of 150 while the Conservatives and Bloc Québecois had a combined vote of 151.
Independent members Carolyn Parrish and Chuck Cadman voted with the government while David Kilgour sided with the Opposition.
So with the vote tied at 152-152, Speaker Peter Milliken broke the deadlock by voting to uphold the bill. It was the first time a Speaker broke a tie on a confidence vote.
“I was still more surprised that the Conservatives and the separatists still wanted to carry on with an election in view of the overwhelming lack of flavour for one by the public,” Boshcoff said.
“I just don’t come across many people who want an election—and I ask a lot of people.
“A huge number of people have called to say how happy they are the budget has passed,” he added.
Following the vote, Prime Minister Paul Martin asked MPs of all stripes to “move forward now in a spirit of co-operation,” but it remains to be seen whether the House of Commons will be able to get back to business.
“I don’t know what to expect in the next couple of weeks,” Boshcoff remarked.
In the days leading up to the budget vote, the Conservatives used obstruction tactics to prevent Parliament from functioning in reaction to the damning testimony being heard at the Gomery inquiry.
“I think the public is justifiably outraged,” Boshcoff said, calling the Opposition’s tactics “foolish.”
Boshcoff also noted the behaviour of MPs has worsened of late—to the point where he is introducing a private member’s bill on decorum and civility in the Commons.
“It’s just awful. The heckling and catcalls are way past any form of human decency,” he noted. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to get that tabled in this session of Parliament.”
The House of Commons will resume sitting next Monday (May 30).