In a matter that involves state abuse of the right to liberty and security of a person in a fundamental way, that absence has ultimately tipped the scale towards virtually unfettered government discretion.
If the gun registry bill dies at the hand of a concerted opposition barrage, that lost battle will be put to use in the fight for a Conservative majority. That is very much a war of attrition that is being fought on a seat-by-seat basis accross rural Cana
But there were five bills that stirred up Parliament Hill and generated the greatest debate.
There is also little doubt that deadlocked polls are becoming the federal norm.
Based on the results of the last election, a non-aggression pact with the NDP would win the Liberals an extra nine seats in Quebec. Eight of those are currently held by the Bloc. That could be just the beginning.
Jean Chrétien message on Ignatieff's leadership resonating loudly within Liberal ranks.
To position the NDP as the only effective national opposition vehicle to the Conservatives, Layton is drawing new, deeper lines in the Liberal/NDP sand.
If the Liberals are serious about restoring their status as a national institution, it is time for them to abandon their faith in short-term electoral short cuts and rethink their approach to a more proportional voting system.
And yet there is not even a consensus as to whether the current alignment of the ideological stars is Harper's worst nightmare or a dream come true.
If minority government is going to be the new normal in Canada, bringing voters into the loop of the available alternatives before they cast their ballot might actually make a lot of sense.
The perplexing Liberal approach to the issue of the Governor General is only the latest in a string of questionable moves.
In past Parliaments, airing the bed sheets of a Cabinet minister to score a media hit would have been left to a second-tier opposition rat pack and not, as in this instance, undertaken daily by one or more party leaders.
There's a disturbing pattern of a government that would rather blindfold its critics and keep Canadians guessing as to its actions than be accountable for them.
PM Stephen Harper would not be Prime Minister if he was not adept at playing all the angles to his advantage and the latest Parliamentary test of wills has the potential makings of a Conservative electoral opportunity.
Indeed, a case can be made that a persistent Conservative blind spot to the environment has done more to lead the party to a minority dead end in Quebec and elsewhere than clumsy marketing
A week after the return of Parliament, the Conservatives and the Liberals remain more or less deadlocked in voting intentions, with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois in a holding pattern.
Like a plant whose buds fail to open, his government is consistently failing to thrive in the polls. It could be that the Conservative party was uprooted from opposition too quickly for its own good.
It is too early to tell whether Lucien Bouchard's public tiff with the PQ is just a one-off from a bored political retiree or the embryo of a game-changer for Quebec politics.
With a Senate opposition majority bolstered by electoral victories, the risks of legislative gridlock between the two Houses of Parliament would be increased rather than the opposite.
Watching Michael Ignatieff these days is like watching a movie rerun, in the dubious expectation of a different ending.