Thursday, February 05, 2009

Same old story

I made the point yesterday that Michael Ignatieff's actions in dealing with his Newfoundland and Labrador MPs on the budget vote would be telling as to whether Iggy would be a slave to tradition or would actually look for new and creative solutions to political problems. And I had to give him credit for a reasonable response when it came to this week's vote.

But instead of following through on the idea of allowing MPs to represent their constituents, Ignatieff is now declaring that he just hadn't gotten around to imposing top-down rule as usual:
During a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday, sources said Ignatieff chided the Newfoundland MPs for speaking out publicly against the budget before consulting with him.

Four of the six had already announced their intention to vote against the budget by the time Ignatieff gave them dispensation to do so.

Moreover, sources said Ignatieff warned caucus he doesn't intend to relax discipline again in future (sic).

"He said it was a one-time thing, alone, period, full stop, and for us not to get our hopes up too high because it would not happen again," said one caucus member.
Needless to say, Ignatieff's scolding of MPs even for speaking up would seem to put the Libs well along the path toward a Harper-style system where all communications are vetted by a controlling leader. Which has to be particularly galling for MPs who are already frustrated with being forced to support another party's ideologically-charged budget - and should serve as a signal that their voices will be silenced as long as they stick with the Libs.

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