April 13, 2005

And so it begins . . .

Maverick MP David Kilgour has quit the Liberal Party and will sit in the House of Commons as an independent.

One of only two Liberal MPs from Alberta, he had long been at odds with the government's plans to legalize same-sex marriages.

"There are a whole lot of issues where I am increasingly out of sync with the government," Kilgour told the Ottawa Citizen.

He also expressed disappointment in his party after revelations from the sponsorship testimony came to light, which he said made Canada look like a "northern banana republic."

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For my American friends, who may be unaware of the details of the sponsorship scandal, or "AdScam": This is an ongoing scandal for the current Liberal government. It is alleged that over $100 million dollars went to various advertising and communication firms in Québec, ostensibly to promote the cause of Canadian unity; however, the Auditor General of Canada reported in February 2004 that Canadians had received virtually no work in return for the money. It is alleged that AdScam was really an elaborate scheme to reward loyal Liberals with cash. It's arguably the most significant political scandal in Canadian history since the Pacific scandal, which brought down the Conservative government of John A. Macdonald in 1874 when it was discovered they were taking bribes from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in return for contracts to build the national railway.

At present, Kilgour's departure reduces the Liberal minority government's tenuous grip on power to a scant 132 seats. Meanwhile, another Liberal MP, Pat O'Brien, continues to waffle on whether to cross the floor or not, and another four or five Liberals have also threatened to quit.