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Blaine Calkins= Canada's answer to Charlton Heston, except no one knows who he is

Blaine Calkins: Canada’s answer to Charlton Heston. Except no one knows who he is.
Open Parliament

Canadian soldiers are going to have to wait in the desert just a little bit longer—approximately a year, that is. By a vote of 142 to 129, Parliament has approved a motion to extend and expand the mission against ISIS.

Prime Minister Harper did not have to obtain parliament’s approval for the mission, much as he didn’t require its approval to launch it, but he promised to take the vote to “Canadians” or, at the very least, to our elected trained seals. A number of said trained seals didn’t show up for the vote. While the motion passed 142 to 129, 33 MPs were absent. The neither voted, abstained, nor served as the inert Speaker of the House. Missing were 1 Forces et Democratie, 3 Independents, 4 Liberals, 5 New Democrats and an astonishing 19 Conservatives!

The book Tragedy in the Commons affirms that, with the hard party line of Canadian politics, the only way for an MP who disagrees with their leader to disagree with an issue (and keep their job and cushy pension) is to not show up and vote at all.

Missing Tories included three members of cabinet—notably the Ministers of Agriculture (Gerry Ritz), Natural Resources (Greg Rickford), and a Minister of State (Maxime Bernier)—two Parliamentary Secretaries (Mark Strahl and Bob Dechert), and a Committee Chair (Leon Benoit). The list of absent MPs also includes a few controversial Tories like Blaine Calkins (the Charlton Heston wanabee), and Kyle Seekack who once called MP Brad Butt a “bitch” in the House of Commons. Butt is, of course, a fellow Conservative, but maybe Kyle thought he was back at a frat party.

Not so controversial Tory MPs were also absent including John Weston, who has been accused of “blindly” supporting Tory party rather than those of his constituents. It seems Weston is either out sick or changing his tune. Maybe he’s beginning to stick up for the people who pay his salary.

Gordon O’Connor, a former Minister of Defence, Brigadier General, Minister of National Revenue—one of the oldest MPs and all around Harper poster boy—was also absent. He’s retiring though, so maybe that’s his excuse. Likewise, Garry Breitkreuz is retiring, but the other 17 have given no indication they won’t run again.

I helped the Opposition by calling my own party member a bitch!

I helped the Opposition by calling my own party member a bitch!
Conservative Party Website

Aren't all Tories blindly partisan?

Aren’t all Tories blindly partisan?  
Trail Bay Centre

Has anyone checked on his pulse lately...he's a little pasty...'Connor

Has anyone checked on his pulse lately? He’s a little pasty.

A handful of Liberals and NDP missed as well.

If, as past Parliamentarians cite, not showing up to vote is showing disagreement with your party leader, then, despite what the polls may say, a number of Canadians have convinced their MPs to grow a back bone and stand up to—or at least withhold support from—their government. It could be that some are genuinely ill (former Cabinet Minister Keith Ashfield was diagnosed with cancer two years ago), however, for important votes (symbolic or otherwise), parties have been known to bring MPs in hospital beds into the Commons Chamber so they can be a good, lavishly paid trained seal. We may never know why these 19 MPs didn’t show up (such secrets aren’t allowed beyond the blue wall that is the Tory inner circle).  Had those missing Tories shown up and voted against the government, the motion would have failed or, depending on others who showed up, have at least come to a tie, pulling the wind out of Harper’s wings.

Mais c’est la guerre.

A Full List of Tories is available here:

  1. Keith Ashfield.
  2. Leon Benoit
  3. Maxime Bernier
  4. Garry Breitkreuz
  5. Blaine Calkins
  6. Bob Dechert
  7. Nina Grewal
  8. Richard Harris
  9. Jim Hillyer
  10. Ryan Leef
  11. Larry Miller
  12. Gordon O’Connor
  13. Blake Richards
  14. Greg Rickford
  15. Gerry Ritz
  16. Kyle Seeback
  17. Mark Strahl
  18. Dave Van Kesteren
  19. John Weston