Editorial — Troubling times for Conservatives

The one thing the federal Conservatives have in their favour is that the next election is more than two years away.

The federal Conservative government is in serious trouble, but it has one thing on its side — time.

The scandal over Senate expenses, and most crucially, over the prime minister’s chief of staff writing a $90,000 cheque to embarrassed Senator Mike Duffy, has shaken the Stephen Harper government deeply. There are more questions than answers, and investigations and resignations have not reduced the clamour for more detail.

However, there are other issues that are causing trouble for the government. One that may not seem major at the moment is the resignation of MP Brent Rathgeber from the Conservative caucus, to sit as an independent.

His tipping point was the same issue that Langley MP Mark Warawa came up against earlier this year — a private member’s bill was eviscerated by the unelected staffers in the prime minister’s office. In Warawa’s case, the bill was rejected by a parliamentary committee on orders of the PMO.

He chose to pursue it to a number of levels, but eventually agreed to substitute another bill in its place — a bill that is moving its way through the House of Commons.

In Rathgeber’s case, the bill was allowed to stand, but it was so fundamentally altered that it bore no resemblance to what he had proposed.

For Rathgeber, who has a maverick streak (as an Alberta Conservative MLA, he voted against his government), it was too much. He left the party, while emphasizing that he still respects Harper and is quite likely to vote with the Conservatives on many issues.

Rathgeber could be the tiny pebble who begins a landslide, or his stance may go unremarked and unnoticed by the public and other MPs.  A lot will depend on how other issues unfold.

However, the Conservatives do have a few things going for them. The House of Commons is set to adjourn for the summer, and most people will completely tune out federal politics.

In addition, the two major opposition party leaders, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, are unlikely to cause much damage to the government when Parliament is not sitting. They have no effective soapbox to stand on.

The biggest thing in the government’s favour is the fact that an election isn’t scheduled until October, 2015.

Just Posted

It’s going to be a furry tail foot race Sunday, April 29

Langley animal shelter hosts walk/run at Derby Reach Park

Blaze split with A’s in Kelowna

Langley 18U team goes 2-2 to open season despite missing five key players to Team Canada obligations

Langley City considers funding bicycle patrols to address homeless problems

Council considering bike purchase for bylaw enforcement officers

Aldergrove celebrates Arbour Day: VIDEO

Trees were planted in memory of Langley Township’s community volunteers

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Renewed plea for answers in 40-year-old B.C. cold case

The family of Lawrence Wellington Allard is hoping a private reward will get them some closure

UPDATED: Arrest made after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Police are not saying what is the extent of injuries yet

B.C. farmland values grew at slower rate in 2017: report

Vancouver Island saw the highest growth in the province

Turbulent times for outgoing B.C. Lieutenant Governor

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

Opportunities abound at Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair

‘We contact companies that we know are either looking to hire’

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Most Read