May 30, 2003

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES...

Layton calls caucus deal a Martin coup d'etat (Anne Dawson and Bill Curry, May 29, 2003, National Post)
With Jean Chretien out of the country, the Liberal caucus yesterday hammered out a backroom deal that would delay the Prime Minister's political financing law until 2005, a year after he retires.

Emerging from yesterday's weekly closed-door caucus meeting, Stan Keyes, chairman of the Liberal caucus, announced the ''vast majority'' of Liberal MPs will allow the bill through Parliament by the summer recess providing there are changes to the law that would see their party receive another $2.5-million annually in public funds, or allow it to receive more corporate money.

The proposal was immediately criticized by Jack Layton, the NDP leader, who accused Paul Martin supporters of ''hijacking'' the Liberal caucus while the Prime Minister is away, to ensure ''big money'' remains a fixture in federal politics. Mr. Layton called on the Prime Minister to carry through with his threat to call a snap election on the issue.

''Well, the Prime Minister leaves and Paul Martin takes over. It's a little coup d'etat for big money in politics evidently in the Liberal caucus this morning. It's completely unacceptable. If the Prime Minister was serious about getting money out of politics, he should show up and insist that the caucus vote for his bill and if not, we should have an election. We would support a call for an election,'' Mr. Layton said.

''He's clearly lost control of his caucus. If they can't even pass something as basic as democratic reform to get big money out of politics, then he should go to the public for a vote to determine who's right.''

One would have hoped that when the coup came Mr. Chretien would have been taken to where Madame LaFarge waits, aknitting, but this is a start... Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2003 9:43 AM
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