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Conservative MP says he might vote against budget, then 'clarifies' his position

Kootenay-Columbia Conservative MP David Wilks caused a stir on Wednesday when videos were released of his conversation with Revelstoke constitutents, in which he suggested he might vote against his own government's budget -- if 12 other Conservative MPs would do the same. Within hours of the release of the videos, Wilks "clarified" his remarks.

The videos, available on YouTube, show Wilks at a May 22 meeting in Revelstoke, first listening to constituents' concerns about Bill C-38 and the changes it would make to Canada. He says several other backbenchers share his concerns about it. In the second, Wilks explains that it would take 13 backbench Conservative MPs voting against the bill to defeat it, and tells his constituents that other voters would have to make the same case to those MPs. "I will do it," he tells them. But he will not do it on his own.

The event was picked up by the Revelstoke Times Review and the Twittersphere, where some tweets speculated on the time required before Wilks would walk back from his position.

By about noon Ottawa time, Wilks issued a statement on his website:

Cranbrook, BC – Today, David Wilks, MP for Kootenay-Columbia, released the following statement in response to a media report on Bill C-38:

I wish to clarify my position with regard to Bill C-38, the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act. I support this bill, and the jobs and growth measures that it will bring for Canadians in Kootenay-Columbia and right across the country.

In our region alone, our Government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 will support jobs and growth by ensuring we can develop our natural resources in a responsible way that creates well-paying jobs while protecting our environment. Our Plan will also deliver investments in training, infrastructure and opportunities for youth, First Nations, newcomers and unemployed Canadians.

These important measures will help British Columbia and Canada remain strong and prosperous. I look forward to supporting the bill and seeing it passed.

On his own Twitter account, as of late Wednesday morning Wilks had not tweeted since May 21.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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