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Mutinous Liberals can be a revolting sight (The Daily News, Halifax)

The Daily News, Halifax
October 12, 2002

Catherine Ford


Mutinous Liberals can be a revolting sight


The highly unusual unravelling of Liberal caucus discipline in recent months is a delight for journalists, but is it an advance for parliamentary openness and democracy? Probably, although that may not last.

The present mutiny is, arguably, less a significant shift in political values away from clubby compromise and blind obedience and toward frank public debate, than it is the product of two concurrent events: a prime minister who has announced he is leaving, and a caucus composed of seasoned veterans whose confidence and frustration have grown during nine years under Jean Chretien's heavy thumb.

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Still others -- MPs Roger Gallaway, Dennis Mills and Senator Anne Cools -- are considered contrarians, gadflies, albeit with some valid criticisms of their own government. But they tend to command less media and cabinet respect than, say, principled objectors like environmentalists Karen Kraft Sloan, Charles Caccia and Clifford Lincoln, or hard-working Toronto doctor Carolyn Bennett, who wishes, she said yesterday, "that everyone would just get back to work.''

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