Skip to comments.Liberals, NDP and Bloc sign coalition pact (Canada)
Posted on 12/01/2008 2:43:49 PM PST by fanfan
OTTAWANDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion have signed an historic accord to form a coalition government to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
In an extraordinary scene on Parliament Hill, Dion and Layton signed a formal deal to work together through to June, 2011.
And they signed an agreement with Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe that commits the separatist party to support the coalition through to June, 2010.
The opposition parties are threatening to defeat the Conservatives next week.
However their plan to assume government would require the blessing of the Governor General.
Under the deal, the Liberal caucus would be responsible for choosing the finance minister, a key role as the country faces economic storms.
The NDP would get six positions in the 24-member cabinet as well as six parliamentary secretary positions.
Layton said the coalition would move with a stimulus package that is "prompt and prudent."
That plan includes infrastructure spending, home construction, renovations and financial support for "struggling sectors" that can demonstrate a viable business plan.
He urged Harper to accept his looming defeat "gracefully" and not make moves that create "further instability and delay."
Duceppe said his party would not introduce any non-confidence motions or vote against any budgets or speeches from the throne until the agreement expires but would be free to vote as it wishes on any other legislation.
Dion will serve as leader until a Liberal leadership convention in May.
The NDP and Liberals have settled on an agreement to form a coalition government, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois.
They could defeat the Conservatives as early as next Monday.
Liberals Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc, all candidates for the party leadership, appeared together to show support for the decision.
Rae said "theres no turning back" from plans to toss Prime Minister Stephen Harpers Conservatives from power.
Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay said the deal was done and no announcement by Harper - short of proroguing parliament, which she does not believe he will do - is going to stop the opposition parties from defeating the government next Monday.
Ignatieff told reporters that the ongoing race would not preclude any of the contenders from serving in a coalition cabinet.
Ignatieff and Leblanc said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to choose.
"The decisions on who is in cabinet are made by the prime minister of Canada, theyre not made by me, theyre not made by Dom and theyre not made by Bob," said Ignatieff.
"And thats very clear in the accord thats to say the authority and the prerogatives of the prime minister have not been compromised. Its up to Mr.Dion to make the choices that he feels are right for the country."
Leblanc responded: "Michael is always right!"
Harper got a standing ovation from Conservatives as he took his place in the Commons with two notable exceptions - Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Trade Minister Stockwell Day.
Dion got a standing ovation from Liberal and NDP MPs as he kicked off question period with a question to the prime minister about stimulus for the countrys economy.
Lisa Raitt, a rookie Conservative minister, was among some Conservatives who put on a brave face, saying she was honoured to have served the people of her Halton riding even if it turns out to have been a short time.
The prime minister dismissed Dions shot in the Commons about playing partisan games in his economic statement.
Harper shot back that the Liberal leader was "about to play one of the biggest political games" in the countrys history.
Harper appealed to the opposition to wait until seeing the budget, scheduled for Jan. 27.
"I understand he wants to be Prime Minister. . . . I wouldnt want to be governing the economy in his position," Harper said, referring to the coalition of "socialist economic" and "separatists."
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty accused the Liberals of making a "deal with the devil" and said the NDP "dont know the first thing" about running the economy.
Sources said the deal calls for the coalition government to deliver a federal budget immediately after taking office. The budget would include a major package of stimulus measures to shore up the troubled economy.
The NDP said this morning that the deal has not been signed but the two sides are "very close."
The game of high-stakes political intrigue has set the stage for a week in which Harper's Conservatives will fight to retain power.
It appears nothing short of a fresh economic statement with measures to help Canadians cope with the recession is likely to dissuade the opposition from defeating the Conservative minority and trying to form a coalition government.
Flaherty kicked off the day yesterday with a full-scale retreat from his Nov. 27 economic statement, with a promise of economic stimulus measures in an early budget on Jan. 27.
For the first time, he hinted strongly that Ottawa would bail out Canada's struggling Big Three automakers.
But the Liberals and New Democrats said the latest concessions from the Conservatives are not enough to derail the move to defeat the Tory minority and take power with a coalition cabinet. A confidence vote that could topple the government is expected on Dec. 8.
Another bitter episode was spawned when the NDP said it might pursue legal action after the Conservatives taped a private New Democrat caucus meeting Saturday and distributed the transcripts and recordings to the media yesterday.
In the meeting, NDP Leader Jack Layton tells his caucus that "moves" with respect to the Bloc Québécois "a long time ago" helped lay the groundwork for the coalition now being discussed a statement the Conservatives say suggests the fiscal update is merely an excuse for the revolt.
Yesterday, in another reversal from the economic package, Flaherty told a telephone news conference the government would remove from legislation implementing the package a bid to temporarily ban public service strikes. On Saturday, he backed down on the plan to scrap federal subsidies for political parties.
Flaherty stressed that the government has tried to stave off an economic slowdown by using lower taxes he brought in a six-year, $60 billion tax reduction program in 2007 to improve business conditions. But he said there will be further stimulus to the economy, and suggested it might include help for the auto sector.
"We're going to have to deal with the automotive issue, obviously," he added. "Will we have to help a particular sector or more than one particular sector? The answer is probably yes."
The federal and Ontario governments have asked Ford, General Motors and Chrysler thought to be collectively seeking $3 billion to $4 billion in aid to produce recovery plans by Friday.
Flaherty's statements indicate the Tories are trying to limit damage in the wake of an economic package that has raised questions about the government's credibility and political smarts.
"The stability of the government and the economy is paramount," he said. Rather than propose to scrap the federal subsidy for political parties, the Conservatives will move to freeze the payments at the current $1.95 per vote and put the issue before the public for future debate.
Flaherty sounded unusually subdued. While his future was not discussed, questions about his role as finance minister can be expected now that the economic strategy has blown up in the government's face.
Since last week, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc have been involved in closed-door talks aimed at preparing a coalition government.
There are questions whether the Liberals could act cohesively to join in an attempt to oust Harper. The main issue surrounds which Liberal would head the coalition and potentially become prime minister. It is known that Stéphane Dion, the caretaker leader, would expect to do so, despite doubts among some Liberals who blame him for the party's Oct. 14 election defeat.
In a meeting in Toronto last night, Liberal leadership contender Bob Rae tried to convince fellow contenders Michael Ignatieff and Dominic LeBlanc to show a unified front by accepting the deal with Dion as coalition leader, according to a Rae supporter. Rae argued there is no reason to change "the legitimate leadership process" that will replace Dion in May.
For the opposition, the "central issue" continues to be the Tories' lack of a package of significant new measures to address the economy, which Flaherty admits has fallen into a recession, said Liberal finance critic John McCallum.
"I still don't think anything has really changed," McCallum (Markam-Unionville) said after Flaherty's news conference.
He said there's also a growing question of credibility with the Harper government. "Here we are when they're desperate to save the government and they'll promise us the moon. But when we're promised the moon, I don't think we necessarily believe it."
Deputy NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the provocative economic update was a "terrible miscalculation by the Conservatives."
"We're not going to give them another chance," he said. "We're structured, we're organized, we've worked very hard for the past four days and you're going to see the fruits of that labour very shortly."
Mulcair also said the covert taping of the NDP call "shows the desperation of the Conservatives."
Pierre Poilievre, Harper's parliamentary secretary, told CTV the transcript shows there were "members of the NDP who were working with the separatists who want to destroy Canada in order to take control of the country in a perilous coalition.
"All of this was hatched long ago, well before any of the controversy over the fall economic statement. That is shocking news," he said.
The recording was made by a Conservative who was able to dial into Layton's teleconference call with New Democrat MPs.
Mulcair denied his party was engaged in discussions with the Bloc before the Nov. 27 economic statement. The situation is no different from "consultations" Harper had with the NDP and the Bloc as opposition leader against the minority Liberals in 2004, Mulcair said.
He also said the NDP is looking at its legal options, saying party discussions were "illegally intercepted."
The Tories downplayed the 2004 consultations, saying there was never any intention of a coalition.
There were several signals over the weekend that the affair has damaged Harper's leadership. Several senior Conservative government members admitted they had been hearing from supporters outraged over Harper's moves.
With files from Linda Diebel
Oh please, let’s not drag out the eastern b*stards not ‘getting’ western Canada. My family’s from the west and I’ve lived and worked out west. So let’s put that hoary old myth to bed where it belongs. And don’t talk as if the west is a monolithic political block; it isn’t and hasn’t ever really been. Now if you’re using “west” as shorthand for Alberta, then say so. Because Saskatchewan and Manitoba have their own priorities.
That said, the “west” has been more right-leaning historically. But the problem now is with oil money that in a much larger way has brought the social problems that follow money around. And especially now, “get a job” isn’t cutting it as a flip response to someone cadging change on the street. The “power base” is all well and good as a theoretical concept. As long as you don’t plan to expand your impact, then accommodation isn’t really an issue. The problem in real life is that flexibility is required, whether you’re a politician or not. Unless you happen to be independently wealthy, you’re going to have to give in on some things.
Welcome to real life.
Who said America is currently saneland ? At least you folks had a legitimate election, we did not.
Say what you will; the facts are what they are. It was a die-hard Conservative idealogue that brought the Progressive Conservative Party to its knees, just as a die-hard ideologue seems to be doing the same now.
And I was using it to point out that most life revolves around mutual give-and-take. You know; negotiation. I’m glad that your life is so cut-and-dried. The vast majority don’t enjoy such an undiluted circumstance.
Tell you what, we’ll swap you Alberta for the entire political farce of the Northeastern U.S., and we’ll even throw in the execreble West Coast to be Baja British Columbia. Deal ?
Qué? What was the turnout? 80-odd percent IIRC? If this doesn’t qualify as legitimate, what on Earth would in your book?
As long as you clean up the tar sands and don’t complain when there’s a drought in the Palliser Triangle. :D
Oh and we keep Nunavut and the Territories. Alberta’s all you get. Oh and visitation rights to Banff and Lake Louise.
And what are the "facts" ? I pointed out the inherent hypocrisy in believing in two opposing ideological forces. You seem to want to rewrite the laws of physics.
"It was a die-hard Conservative idealogue that brought the Progressive Conservative Party to its knees"
And, um, pray tell who was that ? BTW, I'll also add the hillarity of the very name of that thankfully irrelevent party as an example of the above hypocrisy. Progressive is leftist, and Conservatism isn't. I shed no tears when that party died as a serious opposition farce (sic). Anything based in falsity and hypocrisy deserves such a fate. A phoenix needed to rise from that farce.
"just as a die-hard ideologue seems to be doing the same now."
You mean Harper ? So you're blaming the greatest Canadian Conservative in quite literally decades for failure when the current situation is nothing more but a desperate and sad attempt by the rejected and dejected rabid moonbattery of politics attempting an unholy and what may likely prove seriously unpopular coup d'etat of a duly elected plurality gov't ? You have a most bizarre outlook, sir.
"And I was using it to point out that most life revolves around mutual give-and-take. You know; negotiation."
Yes, usually the giving away of right and the taking away of right. I've witnessed that schtick for a long time now.
"Im glad that your life is so cut-and-dried. The vast majority dont enjoy such an undiluted circumstance."
Because good people refuse to stand up against wrong. They merely allow enlightened individuals such as yourself "negotiate" the right away. ;-)
A farcical sideshow. A non-serious, senile buffoon “Republican” nominee chosen by the media and not the party base, a “Democrat” (sic) candidate for which there was a total blackout and whitewash of his record, history, qualifications and associations in a $1 billion (where did that money come from ?) campaign for which the media, educational dis-establishment and dysfunctional culture kicked in a priceless amount of help to do nothing more than coronate an unqualified and perhaps NON-citizen. Indeed, a substantial chunk of the voters were not even aware which party was in control of Congress. Deliberately disinformed and brainwashed. Like I said, that was no election. That was a Banana Republic coup d’etat for the installation of a dictator and an anti-Constitutional moonbat stooge Marxist party.
But yes, if the two socialist groups in Canada put aside whatever "differences" they have and agree to a "coalition" government against Harper's Conservatives, they should have a majority.
If I was the Governor-General I wouldn't allow the Bloc Quebecious to be part of this scheme though, simply because it's a regional separatist party. If they want to be part of a ruling national government, they'd have to run candidates in every province and drop the party plank calling for Quebec to secede from Canada. Until that time, it's illogical to have a regional party from one providence (that's dedicated to leaving Canada and forming their own country) in charge of making decisions for all Canadians.
I think Harper got a majority in the first place by merging the "Progressive Conservative Party of Canada" with the "Reform Party of Canada" anyway. So if the Liberals and NPD want to merge into a single entity and get a majority with their combined seats in Parliament, they can do so.... but can they remain separate parties and agree to a "coalition" government? That's the million dollar question.
Wrong, he is still the PM. To pull this off, first they must defeat the government on a confidence motion, then they have to convince the Governor General (who was appointed by the Liberals, and who has ties to Quebec sepratists herself) to hand them power rather than call an election.
Harper has several options. Including pushing off their chance to vote him down for a while, dismissing the GG and putting someone he can trust in there, or can pull the trigger himself and call an election now.
The problem here is that, by Canadian standards, the Liberals are the “moderate” party, with some deviation, of course (although well to the left of what you and I would tolerate as acceptable. Nazis like Trudeau pushed the margin off the horizon). The PC was for a long time, scarcely far afield from the Liberals. Only the NDP regards itself as proudly Socialist. But with the NDP and Liberals attempting an alliance, the Liberals are tossing out their last claims to being a “centrist” party. This is so audacious and odious a power grab only weeks after the Canadian people reaffirmed a plurality Tory government. Steppie Dion was thoroughly rejected, and this is the Frog’s way of giving the finger to Canadians. I hope it blows up spectacularly in his face. This may actually be a big gift to Harper’s Tories for the long run.
BTW, I was reading up back in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s when a PC gov’t had a plurality under Diefenbaker. The Libs under Lester Pearson audaciously “demanded” Diefenbaker hand over the gov’t to them... yeah, just HAND it over. Diefenbaker told Lester what he could do with himself. It got the Libs tagged with the “arrogant” label for a long time and the PCers held on for 5 years after he called for a snap election in ‘58.
A Canadian would have to answer your question, but I think it is more along the lines of loving the monarchy as long as the Queen’s representative doesn’t stick her nose in to deep.
Can Harper just dismiss the GG? That would probably hurt him politically.
According to this the socialist learned his Machiavellian tactics at the DNC in Denver
The Capture of Canada
If this coup succeeds (and that is what it is, semantics not withstanding), it means that Canada gets a SECOND prime minister who can barely talk English (the little DICKtator Jean Chretien being the first).
I predict the Governor-General will be more than happy to cooperate with this coalition-coup.
Who elects the Governor-General anyway?
Oh right, nobody.
Seriously, I don't know on what major issues the NDP and the Liberals disagree. It always seemed to a difference more on governing style than in actual policy disputes.
But I agree this could backfire on the Canadian left the same way the California GOP thought they had a "mandate" to run the state when Arnold and Tom McClintock got a combined 61% of the vote for Governor and they intrepreted as the the state being "in play" for the Republican Party. Unfortunately for them, the only thing McClintock & Arnold had in common was a desire to beat Gray Davis, but they had very different ideas on how to govern California. Arnold will never get the support of the 18% that voted McClintock to impliment his agenda.
It seems the only thing the NDP, LD, and BQ are united on is a desire to beat Stephen Harper and institute marxist government. How they'd run their socialist government is the big sticking point. The problem with the BQ voters being part of that "majority" is they didn't cast their votes in favor of a national government, if they were voting BQ they wanted local officials who would put Quebec's interests first and free them from Canadian rule. Likewise, I'm surprised the NDP would agree to a coalition with Liberal Party Dion as PM because I think his party actually LOST seats in the most recent election -- putting him in charge of the country is obviously a slap in the face to the "will of the people" (not the left ever cared about that). If anything, the NDP is the left-wing party with the biggest "mandate" from the voters because they gained power in the last election, but I think they only got 18% of the popular vote and the LP still won more seats.
This could end up collapsing within monthes, like when Prodi was so elated to "beat" Belusconci in Italy but his alliance of left-wing loons quickly fell apart once they were in power and Belusconci came back stronger than ever.
It's sleazy, but I don't have a problem with the LP and NPD getting a majority by agreeing to back the same person for PM. After all, in theory the Republicans outnumber the Dems in our current lame duck Senate (49-48), but the Dems run the government because the two "independents" caucus with them. And those two "independents" (Lieberman, who was kicked out the Dem Party for support the GOP on the war, and Sanders, who's so far left he thinks the Dems are a "conservative party") have very little common besides a desire to stop Mitch McConnell from having the gavel.
I do think the Governor-General ought to step in and prevent the BQ from being part of a national governing coalition as long as their party calls for Quebec secessionism though. The intent of the BQ voters was specifically NOT to have a national canadian government rule over Quebec. Period. If they wanted a socialist NATIONAL government, those Quebec voters would have voted NDP or LP, both of whom were on the ballot. Take the BQ out of the equation, and Harper's conservatives still have more seats than the LP and NDP combined (I think).
And if the Governor-General is going to sit on his hands and be little more than a ceremonial ribbon-cutter, then Canadians need to seriously question why they bother to have a "parliamentarian" system of government in the first place.
Mexico (though a republican form of government) also has a three party system. Our neighbors to the south could get the same results if the PRD and the “center-left” PRI agreed to caucus together in Congress and support a “fusion ticket” for El Presidente and if they have a Vice El President (Labastida/Obrador?). Their combined vote totals outnumber PAN. Both the PRD and PRI are members of Socialist International and are ultra corrupt, they should get along spendidly. I think the PRI even used to be named PRD.
No, no, I should’ve said some aspects of the Liberals are perceived as “Centrist.” Trudeau was a Nazi-cum-Stalinist, well on the left, but not all the members of the Libs were moonbats. Of course, again, by our standards, most of them really are, anyhow. Just their compass got thrown out of whack about 3-4 decades ago.
I also can’t see the CA Recall election being comparable, either. You’re talking about a specific Gubernatorial race vs. an entire nationwide parliamentary election. If each of our states had races like that, CA wouldn’t have had a GOP Governor since the late ‘60s because they couldn’t win a majority in the legislature (for whom the “Governor” or “Premier” would be the party leader — you’d have had Willie Brown leading the state for a dozen years, a terrifying thought).
There’s advantages and disadvantages to the parliamentary system. I tend to favor our way down south, but those living in Canada and Oz have good arguments against implementing a republic, as the Gov-Gen equivalent can halt (at Her Majesty’s discretion) extremist hijackings of gov’t. Come to think of it, this is a prime example of why the Gov-Gen ought to give the thumbs-down to this mess. The sole reason that participated the unbridled panic from the left was Harper’s plan to defund the moonbats. I’m not even sure what the equivalent to that would be in our country.
They could do that, but I don’t see it happening. I think the PRI wants to go it all by themselves, ditto the PRD. Frankly, I’m not very happy with PAN since both their Presidents have produced the “let’s let all the workers move to the USA” mantra that has been an epic disaster for us, and made entire sections of my city, indeed, my own neighborhood, almost unliveable and violent. I couldn’t believe I found myself in agreement with their former Communist PRD Presidential candidate who railed against having these millions of people flee the country.
Frankly, what I’ve seen of PAN, theirs would be the equivalent of a “wealthy/upper class” political party getting control of, say, Michigan, and encouraging all poor folks (read: Blacks) to move to Ohio. Sure, Detroit would improve as a result, but poor Ohio would then have all the problems (like post-Katrina when the NOLA thugs invaded Houston and turned it into a third world paradise).
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