If the words of federal politicians have any meaning, the final act of the 40th Parliament is already underway.
On Tuesday the Liberals put forward a motion that could make it morally impossible for any opposition party to support the March 22 Conservative budget.
The motion does not deal with the economy, the deficit or any of the issues that routinely attend a budget. If anything, one of its political objectives is to reduce the upcoming budget debate to a sideshow, by pushing the issue of Conservative ethics to centre stage.
To achieve that, the motion focuses on the so-called “in-and-out” electoral financing scheme used by the Conservatives in the 2006 election to maximize their campaign spending.
On paper, it is an issue whose narrative thread may have been lost by many voters along the way. The battle between the ruling party and Elections Canada is already five years old. A few years ago, it featured an unprecedented police raid on Conservative headquarters. Now it is slowly unfolding before the courts. Recently, charges were laid against a handful of senior party officials, including two senators.
Over the past few weeks Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe have all personally gone to the barricades over the Conservative election scheme. The NDP and the Bloc Québécois both support the Liberal motion.
Meanwhile in Libya it was rumored rebels would guarantee that Gadhafi and his family could leave the country without facing prosecution as long as all combat stopped immediately and he left within 72 hours.