Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Martin Responds with RCMP; New Parliament Numbers

Paul Martin sees the small shifts in Parliament seats necessary to lose his plurality government, sees his political career in freefall, so he calls the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The Toronto Star reports this morning what we knew yesterday: "In an extraordinary move, a lawyer representing the Liberal party yesterday told the Gomery inquiry examining the sponsorship affair that the party has asked the RCMP to 'investigate the possibility that the party itself may have been the target of fraud or other harmful acts by certain individuals.'"

I admit to my brain shifting into neutral for a moment as I tried to digest this tidbit. It would be like Bill Clinton acting on behalf of the DNC. But that's the difference in our governments, I guess. But maybe not. Maybe it is simply desperation.

It seems to me that the Liberal party isn't the correct party to protect, but the Canadian government itself. Since when are the coffers of the government so much the ruling party's that they are the ones harmed by the lack of contracts, the payoffs, the greed and graft?

Perhaps that is the function of the present Gomery Inquiry, the previous Parliamentary Inquiry. So no one is left to protect - no offense is left to play. Unless you make one up. So Paul Martin made up an offense.

The RMCP will investigate whether the Liberal party was the victim of a fraud? By whom, Martin? I'll give him a few points for originality, but the substance of his performance is still lacking.

"Liberal lawyer Doug Mitchell told reporters after appearing at the inquiry that 'the Liberal party has a critical interest in seeing that all the truth comes out and that it comes out in full — in order to lift this shadow of suspicion that has unfairly and incorrectly been cast across the thousands of honest and dedicated people who work on behalf of this party.'" Oh, give me a break, eh?

But think, think, think ... why, why, why. Why are they rallying around the party? So that the Liberal electorate continues to believe? So that the elections coming up will not be as devastating as they may be? To stop the bleed?

Three major parties in terms of seats held:

Liberals - 135, Conservatives - 99, Bloc Quebécois - 54, and NDP - 19 seats. (They've also got one independent seat.) Interestingly, of the other 21 seats in Quebec, they are all held by the Liberals.

Speculation: The Libs lose 10 of the Quebec seats to either the Conservatives or the NDP. I suspect the 21 seats are non-succession so the BQ's can't get to them. 7 to Con, 3 to NDP. The other major pool lies in Ontario. Libs 75, Con 24, NDP 7. Chip, chip, chip. 15 seats lost. 12 to Con, 3 to NDP.

New Parliament: Libs - 110, Cons - 118, BQ - 54, NDP - 25. A simple majority of the 308 seats is 155. A minority Conservative government can still be formed, as the Libs have now. But the wild card: Will the BQ see this as an opportunity and play king maker???

BQ aside, minor shifts in seats change the government. Yes, Mr. Martin needs to rally the base, before it deserts him.

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