MPs watched in disbelief last Wednesday as Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan faced-off against his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen, and Party Leader Thomas Mulcair. The altercation followed a fairly minor procedural argument. But it reflects a deeper problem. Since the last election, both the Conservatives and the NDP have pursued a strategy of partisan polarization.
Everyone is agog over the supposedly big dust up in the House of Commons yesterday, where MP Peter Van Loan marched across the Commons floor to wag his finger at NDP leaders. There was no need to cross over to the NDP side as nothing would be accomplished by doing so. The Official Opposition thought they had caught the government on a technicality and wanted to force another vote which would have further delayed passage of Bill C-45. What is so exciting about that? Why was it necessary for the Conservative House Leader to cross the floor? It is perfectly legitimate for any opposition party to use the full arsenal of tactics available to them to delay or defeat government legislation.