According to Parliament's procedural guidelines, pairing is defined as an arrangement where a government MP and an opposition MP agree not to vote for a specific period of time which allows MPs to be absent on other business. The arrangement is worked out either through the whip offices of each party or by the MPs themselves.What a naive request from the Bloc of these Conservatives. The risk of spreading H1N1 at a time of a flu pandemic, in the House of Commons, was a risk the Harper crowd were prepared to take. Demonstrating absolutely no sense of the health care moment, no Conservatives were available, they said, to pair off with the Bloc MP. No Conservative would miss out on their opportunity to go on record in defeating the gun registry.
So what does this little episode say about the Harper Conservatives?
About the worst kind of example for the government to set on H1N1 at a time of a national flu pandemic? Check.
Partisan interests prioritized above all other considerations once again? Check.
The charade that was this "private member's" bill well exposed? Check.
Basic human decency would have seen such a request to accommodate a sick colleague met. Clearly that's too much to ask of the Harper Conservatives.