This is an interesting idea, which helps the NDP I think. But why is such a move not being offered by the Liberals? That is a wonder. I would think that the Liberals need all the charitable PR they can get right now. I think Harper should secure it though. It is a gentleman's move in my opinion that should not be overlooked. Harper, don't be cocky -- be honoured.
Darrel Stinson of British Columbia must have surgery next week, and Harper spokeswoman Carolyn Stewart Olsen says Stinson won't likely be well enough to be in Parliament.
However, sources told CTV News that the NDP has offered the Conservatives a so-called pairing. This would mean an NDP MP would abstain from the confidence vote next week if Conservatives lost one of their MPs because of illness.
"I wouldn't reject it out of hand," said Harper when asked if he would accept such a deal. "I'd prefer to allow an ill MP to actually vote. They've made, in some cases, great effort to be here I think, at some personal risk."
HERE IS ANOTHER PREDICTION as to why Martin will wait until Thursday for a confidence motion: his own position is at stake. Not only will he lose First Minister status, he will undoubtedly be kicked out of the Liberal party leadership for it. It is anyone's guess who will replace him. But given that Paul Martin is traditionally seen as a moderate fiscal conservative who can stray into the political middle, that image has now been corrupted by the scandal of his party and of his government. He has an estimated 63% of Canadians who distrust him: almost three times that of Stephen Harper. So Paul Martin slides. And his party slides with him, as he was seen as the best political leader in Canada for a time. The longer he waits, the more that Martin is betting that Canadians will forget.
Now he is dithering and desparate, recently spending $170 million dollars to buy David Kilgour's vote come a confidence vote.
If Paul Martin loses a confidence vote next week, he is through. The voters and the party will eat him him. Recent polls show that although the Liberals have been gaining some ground back, his disapproval rating is trending upwards, just like his party. Right now, I predict that if an election is called before the budget vote next Thursday, Paul's Liberals will suffer big: somewhere in the range of 70-80 seats if his polling numbers stay the same (which I think they will not and decline further).
See here for some more seat predictions, or below.
Paul Martin (Lib.)
Stephen Harper (Con.)
Jack Layton (NDP)
Gilles Duceppe (BQ)