The Conservatives are not backing down from threats to make the measures matters of confidence.
"I don't think there has been any change in our position around that," Kory Teneycke, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told The Globe and Mail. "We are prepared to make them [justice issues] confidence matters if necessary."
After the election, Mr. Teneckye reiterated the Conservative resolve to move the justice provisions through Parliament.
"If the other parties want to go into an election on criminal-justice issues, I think we are prepared to call their bluff on that," he said in an interview.
It is unclear just when the crime bills will be introduced in the House of Commons. But the opposition has already indicated its willingness to vote against them, even if it means a return trip to the polls.
Teneycke's bully routine, threatening confidence votes if necessary, demonstrates one simple fact- for all the bluster of a more inclusive and co-operative Parliament, the Conservative government intends to operate, as though in defacto majority. I say let the Conservatives threaten this and that, frankly I'm all for "calling bluffs", because I suspect the non-confidence routine will BLOW UP in Harper's face.
I would encourage the Liberals to operate on simple principle, if legislation is presented which we can't support, no hint of compromise or inclusion, then we simply vote against, Harper can determine if it's a confidence matter. The ONUS is on Harper, it is not the role of the majority to simply cower to the minority, that's not the way game works, Canadians have spoken. Harper engineered an election to get a majority, he FAILED, so let's dispense with strong arm rhetoric, and let the government no straight away, that tone doesn't fly.
I'm just not particularly worried about any Conservative threats, because, despite our internal problems, the Liberals are actually well positioned in this regard. First, it is an open question whether the GG would grant another election, in the next year, at the minimum. There are no guarantees for the Conservatives, they would risk their own government, a scenario which partially declaws.
More importantly, any return to the polls, on anything other than the economy, is a complete and utter non-starter with the electorate. I almost laugh to myself, at the thoughts of Harper blowing another 300 million, based on the argument, that the opposition won't support his crime legislation. You can't be serious? The Canadian public has NO appetite for another election, they expect the parties to WORK TOGETHER, so the prospects of Harper jamming legislation down the opposition throat OR ELSE, is almost delicious. Go for it Kory, I have a good hunch how that one works out for your team.
Part of the problem here, there is little doubt that the Conservative inner circle suffers from an arrogance, which tends to cloud their judgement. The Liberals are on their knees, broke, leaderless, demoralized, we can have our way, we can step on their throats and they will always cry uncle. Ah, but here's the rub, the Conservatives blindspot. Yes, much of the deduction is true, but the Liberals misfortunes actually work to our advantage, in any "calling bluffs" scenario. Canadians are WELL aware of the Liberal Party's problems, nobody doubts they are in no position to credibly challenge the Conservatives for some time. Which means? The Liberal MP's can throw up their arms, remind us all again of the party's problems, and then say- do Canadians really think the Liberals want another election? I think the Liberals can make a powerful argument, that any vote of non-confidence is a forced position, based on Harper's tactics, surely you can understand that an election is the last thing we want too. The optics are favorable, and combined with Harper the "bully", I would say game on. An added bonus, the Bloc and NDP singing the same tune, repeating the theme of the minority not respecting the majority, it all adds up to trouble for the Conservatives.
So, here we go again, the first signals from the Conservatives, nothing's changed. It is imperative that the Liberals set their own tone early, and that should include a firm response on "bluffs", because we might just call yours. Call me completely and utterly UNAFRAID Kory.