The strains are starting to show in Stephane Dion’s virtual coalition government with Stephen Harper.
In a fiery caucus meeting this morning, the party leadership brutally remonstrated against Liberal MPs who dared to suggest they follow the NDP's lead and vote against Harper’s mini-budget. Reportedly, Ottawa MP Mauril Belanger (pictured) was told he would be kicked out of caucus if he represented his constituents by voting “NAY”. Belanger didn’t show up for tonight’s vote at all.
It’s one thing for Stephane Dion to say “I don’t know what I believe in. I don’t know what I’m for or against, so I will roll over and let Stephen Harper’s agenda pass” which is precisely what the Liberals did with the Throne Speech last week.
But it’s a different thing altogether to tell MPs who want to oppose Harper that they will be punished if they do.
It’s not all bad news for Dion though. First off he gets to keep Harper in power, and secondly he ends up showing a lot more strength of will over his caucus than he ever did before the virtual coalition.