On Wednesdays, CBCNews.ca's Politics blogger convenes a "people's caucus" to discuss and debate the issues of the week.
Tonight, two back to back votes in the Commons are set to play through some serious political tactics on the part of the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.
Yesterday's Opposition day motion debate to abolish the Senate was the NDP's chance to not only highlight its pro-abolition policy in light of the current expenses scandal, but remind Canadians of the Liberals and Conservatives who have contributed to the Senate's shortcomings, past and present. But aside from the partisanship afoot, did it accomplish anything? Is abolition the answer – or can it be reformed?
Bloc Québécois MP André Bellavance's private member's bill to repeal the Clarity Act looks to be headed for a somewhat predictable defeat. But it's already accomplished what might have been its intended goal: stirring up divisions in the NDP's Quebec caucus over nationalist issues. Last week, Jonquière-Alma MP Claude Patry switched parties over it, and the party responded with a robocall campaign in his riding. Conservatives reminded the media that as many as 15 NDP MPs have acknowledged past nationalist ties and/or pro-sovereignty referendum votes. Will other members of the NDP caucus take advantage of leader Tom Mulcair's statement that the vote will not be whipped and vote with the Bloc this evening? Or will any grumbling stay quiet, resulting in a timely outbreak of Parliamentary flu and some vote abstentions?
All this, as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty prepares to unveil his 2013 budget, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley stands firm on EI reforms, and Defence Minister Peter MacKay continues to play defence over his department's buying and spending habits.
This week, Alison Loat, the co-founder and executive director of Samara joined us as we considered the current state of play and asked: does Canadian politics need to be fixed? If so, how would you redesign Parliament?
- Read the Samara blog's recent post on this topic
Replay our earlier conversation: