Inside Politics

Lack of Tory backbench support dooms Liberal bid to boost MP speaking rights

Despite a last minute entreaty to their colleagues across the aisle and the unexpected, but doubtless welcome support of the NDP, the Liberals' bid to free those pre-QP speaking slots from party control went down to a decisive (149-96) defeat last night, with not a single MP straying from party lines -- including seven of the 11 Conservative MPs who spoke out in favour of Mark Warawa's original point of privilege.

Warawa himself was not present for the vote -- nor, as it turned out, was Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Although he was originally slated to introduce the motion, he handed off the task to his caucus colleague - and once-removed predecessor - Stephane Dion after the government abruptly bumped the debate from Monday to Wednesday, which put it smack in the middle of his previously scheduled trip to Labrador to campaign alongside his party's candidate in the upcoming by-election.

Not surprisingly, his absence garnered the attention of several Conservative MPs, including Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

(It is, perhaps, worth noting that none of the above MPs appear to have raised an eyebrow over the prolonged absence of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who missed both the debate and vote on approval in principle of his most recent budget.)

For his part, Trudeau offered the following comment on the results via twitter:

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