Canada's Parliament, once the model of legislative efficiency, is threatening to splinter with the rise of regional voting blocs after the failure of a constitutional deal with Quebec.
Six Quebec members of Parliament, including five from the ruling Conservative Party, have so far resigned in protest over the failure of an accord that would have made Quebec part of the Constitution. The Quebec representatives plan to sit as independents and are talking about forming a special voting bloc in the federal parliament that could slow passage of legislation.
The politicians are angry at the failure of the Meech Lake constitutional accord, which expired after English-speaking provinces Manitoba and Newfoundland failed to hold the necessary ratification votes. After Tuesday's resignations, the ruling Conservatives' majority in the 295-seat has been cut to 12.