Yes, last night's Liberal shenanigans were dirty pool:
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Paul Martin's government pulled a fast one late last night and won a surprise budget vote that killed the Tories' chance to topple the government.
In a move the Tories likened to a sandbagging, the Grits made a deal with the Bloc Quebecois, who backed the Liberal government long enough to ensure they held on to power in exchange for a written guarantee that the same-sex marriage bill would be passed before summer recess.
The deal saw the Bloc vote with the Liberals to stop debate on budget Bill C-48 late last night, forcing it to a vote.
The Bloc voted against the actual budget bill -- a confidence vote that could have forced Martin to call a summer election -- which outlines $4.6 billion in funding in a deal the Grits inked with the NDP to retain power.
But the surprise timing of the vote meant a handful Tory MPs were absent and with the backing of the NDP, the Liberals won, 152 to 147.
...But does it really matter, now? This is probably among the least underhanded tactics this government has used, in that it was a legitimate parliamentary procedure, surprising though it may have been. Further complaining about Liberal perfidy on this particular matter isn't going to convince anyone not already convinced.
It's over. We've lost, for now. But there's going to have to be an election eventually, whether after Gomery reports (hah) or six months later, whenever the PM's polling numbers look best; either way, there's nothing more to be done this summer but continue the spin wars at the riding level. (And, Jeebus, start doing some serious PR on policy. The platform
is all well and good, but the average non-wonk isn't going to be poking around the party website to find it.)