Toronto MP Roy Cullen said he is trying to persuade 30 colleagues to break ranks and side with the government to extend the measures - investigative hearings and preventive arrests
The National Post calls it a "mutiny", I call it "healthy". Once again, the only place where there appears to be any debate is within the Liberal Party. This circumstance has happened before, and is always exploited by others as weakness. Layton loves the "Liberals are divided" argument, Harper uses any example as proof the Liberals don't know what they believe. However, it would seem to me that the Liberal Party simply manifests the tension on complicated issues.
The Afghanistan vote is another example that was pounced on. But, really, weren't the Liberals simply mirroring the population as a whole. Canadians are debating the merits of our mission, weighing the pros and cons, why is it wrong to have a party that reflects differing opinions? Increasingly, the days of rigid ideology are incompatible with societal complexity, and that is why the rise of pragmatism is better suited to balancing competing interests.
The Liberal Party, at present, seems to be the only home for pragmatism. While the NDP and Conservatives take great pride in their unanimous positioning, which apparently corresponds to conviction, the Liberals "waffle". I would argue that this condition allows Liberals to take each issue on merit, rather than pre-disposed posturing. Whether to extend certain anti-terror measures is a complicated question, so I don't see the horror in having different MP's take different positions. That debate helps us better understand the issue, as opposed to black and white propositions. Amending a previous opinion isn't necessarily a "flip-flop", if it based on sound reasoning, in fact it shows an ability to react beyond dogma and stubborn singularity.
Another SMALL point, I have posted a few less that glowing assessments of the current Liberal condition. This "critical" opinion has been seized on by Conservatives as a sign of Liberal division and weakness in the ranks. I guess that is one interpretation, but to be truthful, there is nothing more boring in my mind than the goosestep that stifles internal debate and paints pretty pictures for eternity. I like the fact the Liberal Party is a messy affair, and while it may have some tactical disadvantages, it engages in an openness that is objectively healthy.
Other parties have debates, no question, but the Liberals seem to continually fail on the "party discipline" front. The term implies a subservient posture to the rigid hierarchy, hardly flattering. I don't view elected MP's as minions that tow the line prescribed by head office. Why is it the Liberals are vilified everytime they express a basic tenet of democracy? Different people, with differing views, who can freely express that view, majority wins. In my world, bragging about constant "unity" on every issue under the sun is a sign of narrowness, a sign of top-down structure that isn't attractive at all. Instructing MP's on what they can say, pinpointing people who could "pose problems" is actually scary when you think about, I much prefer my democracy untidy and slightly conflicting. Divide away, question the leader, it's all good from here.