Ironically, Stronach's defection may have forced Harper into a smarter strategy. Martin's budget had gained popular support even among some Tories, although they indicated support for Harper and his no-confidence effort. However, Harper now has to recognize that the budget may wind up working against him for the upcoming vote, and that the attraction may yet pull away the independents he needs to win a no-confidence vote and bring down the Liberals.
The amendment, which all sides agree amounts to a separate confidence vote, really presents the crux of the Tory argument against continued Liberal rule...
...the amendments do almost nothing for the independents on whom Harper must rely for assistance to toss out Martin and force new elections. The primary budget had a lot to offer Cadman and Kilgour, but the amendment does nothing for them, and they can vote against it without worrying what they'll get with a Tory budget in its place. If they have an inclination to jettison Liberal rule -- and Kilgour already indicated he did -- then the amendment gives them the best opportunity to pull the trigger.
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