Friday, July 03, 2015

History of defeating the government by accident

Thos. Bird

Roderick Benns passes on an item about an anniversary not much covered: Kyle Duggan's iPolitics story recalling July 2, 1926, when Arthur Meighen's week-old government was toppled by a closely divided non-confidence motion -- in which the key vote was cast by mistake.
Thomas Bird, a clergyman Progressive who voted to bring down Meighen’s government, wasn’t supposed to cast a ballot at all. Bird announced after the vote that he had “inadvertently” voted for the motion. He was ‘paired’ with an absent member and was, therefore, not supposed to cast a ballot. Bird asked the Speaker if he could take the vote back. Turns out you can’t.
Meighen's week-old government was probably doomed anyway; the third-party Progressives were not likely to support him long under any circumstances. Rev. Thomas Bird MP defied the rout of the Progressives in the election that followed, but lost his seat in the Conservative sweep of 1930.

Image: Parliament of Canada, via iPolitics
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