There was no HST revolt on either side of the Commons in a vote tonight, but a couple of prominent critics went AWOL.
B.C. Conservative MP Dona Cadman had told her local paper, Surrey Now, that she would vote against the bill for the unpopular harmonized sales tax, and risk her party's wrath. But when the roll was called she was absent. Her office said an hour before the vote that she was in Ottawa.
After the vote, Conservative whip Gordon O'Connor said his party's MPs had been required to attend.
"I'm not going to comment on it," Mr. O'Connor said after the evening vote. "I've got to check it out and see what happened. Maybe she got hit - you know, maybe she had some reason not to be here."
Liberal MP Keith Martin, another British Columbian who didn't want to cast his vote for the unpopular tax, was also missing. He had said he had permission from the party to skip the vote, but Liberal whip Rodger Cuzner said MPs who don't have a reasonable excuse, like being overseas, had to attend and vote. But after Mr. Martin failed to show up, Mr. Cuzner wouldn't say whether he'd face discipline.
"It's a matter for caucus and what happens in caucus stays in caucus... sometimes." he said. "Well, occasionally."
Others who have vocally opposed the tax, like Conservative Ontario MP Larry Miller or B.C. Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh, swallowed their criticisms and voted for the tax with their parties.
Only the New Democrats voted against the bill, which passed 246-36 on second reading, and is expected to face a final vote Wednesday.