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A chance for Martin...

...To act like a gentleman. The news is that Conservative MP Darrel Stinson, who has cancer, will miss next week's budget vote due to surgery. This gives Paul Martin a much better chance to squeak through his Santa Claus budget next week. Earlier, when Stephen Harper suggested Martin was delaying the vote because he was hoping some of the Conservatives would be too sick to attend, Martin played the indignation card:

"Mr. Harper's comments are simply beyond the pale and one would expect a higher standard from someone who is the leader of the Opposition," he said.

"It's very clear that these remarks just go too far."

Well, we'll see. Martin has a chance to prove his good intentions. He could have one of his MPs voluntarily miss the vote. It would allow him to show that he's not a complete sleazeball. But will he?

I doubt it. Unless he calculates he's going to lose the vote anyway. It'll be interesting if the possibility of this kind of gesture is raised in the media.

UPDATE: Too slow, Paul! Kate at Small Dead Animals reports Jack Layton has made the offer first, and Stephen Harper has accepted it. So all Martin's desperate delaying play got him was another opportunity to demonstrate his complete lack of honour. Has there ever been as great a Canadian political train wreck as this one?

UPDATE II: Harper hasn't said he'll accept the offer, just that he "wouldn't reject it out of hand."

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