Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Proposed Liberal-NDP coalition is still strong: Duceppe

[source - cbc.ca] Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe says the proposed coalition of the Liberals and New Democrats is just as solid as it was before the Governor General prorogued Parliament before the holidays in December. [The Liberals and NDP] want to see a budget with measures to boost the economy and help workers, and [they] will wait to see the document before deciding on support, just as all opposition parties plan to do, Duceppe said. "Mr. Harper spoke about an emerging consensus — I don't know where he heard that," he added. "I haven't seen it." [end of excerpt]

There has been speculation, that the new interim Liberal Party leader, Michael Ignatieff, will not support the proposed coalition plans to oppose Harper's minority government, and support the upcoming Conservative budget.  Harper, through recent statements, has shown that he is not too concerned about the coalition, ever since his undemocratic ploy to stave off a non-confidence vote by suspending parliament before Christmas. He's even stated that if there is a non-confidence motion, it should trigger another election, perhaps confident the minority Conservatives will be able to manage another minority win - the Conservatives under Harper have never won a majority - instead of a Coalition majority government.  He recently stated that if the Coalition wins a non-confidence vote - they would have to run in an election as a coalition  "with the separatists" (as Harper refers to the Bloc)- obviously trying to stir partisan uneasiness among the unlikely coalition partners. 

Recent polls do show that a slight majority of Canadians would prefer an election to a coalition, but calling an election in the event of non-confidence is up to the Governor General, who will act on the advice of the Prime Minister. Whether or not she will take into account recommendations from opposition leaders remains to be seen. The only way for Harper to solve this parliamentary crisis is to win a majority - obviously his plan when calling last falls snap election - but majority will likely continue to elude the former western Reform Party turned Conservative. I'm surprised the Tory party members have waited this long supporting a leader like Harper who can't win an election decisively. You have to wonder, in the event of non-confidence, or another minority government - will the Conservatives seek a new leader who can get the job done.

Check back to the Canada News Commentary blog for budget news updates and the Coalition response.

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