National Post: "NATIONAL POST
Conservatives win May 18 showdown
CanWest News Service
Friday, May 06, 2005
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Tony Valeri. (CP/Tom Hanson)
OTTAWA - Parliament could be thrown into a constitutional crisis after the Conservatives yesterday won the right to hold a non-confidence vote on May 18, which the Liberals have vowed to ignore if they lose it.
The Speaker of the House of Commons ruled in favour of the Tories yesterday, clearing the way for a vote on a motion that calls on the government to resign -- something the Liberals had vigorously argued against -- which in turn could force a late-June election.
Although the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois appear to have enough votes between them to win a showdown, such an outcome is far from clear, with recent moves by the Liberals to win the support of Independent and Opposition MPs through offers of plum appointments and money for pet projects.
Despite the Speaker's ruling, Government House leader Tony Valeri said the government will not resign if the opposition wins the vote because it does not consider the non-confidence motion legitimate.
He said it is merely a 'procedural motion' that provides instructions to the finance committee, not the House of Commons.
'This is not a confidence motion at all,' Mr. Valeri said. 'What you have is the House instructing the committee to do something. The committee then needs to do it and then that needs to come back into the House ... to be debated and then voted on. By that time, we could probably be in June,' he said. 'That's the way we're interpreting it.'
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