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Liberals, NDP and Bloc sign coalition pact (Canada)
The Toronto Star ^ | Dec 01, 2008 05:38 PM | Les Whittington Bruce Campion-Smith Tonda MacCharles

Posted on 12/01/2008 2:43:49 PM PST by fanfan

OTTAWA–NDP 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 "there’s no turning back" from plans to toss Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 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, they’re not made by me, they’re not made by Dom and they’re not made by Bob," said Ignatieff.

"And that’s very clear in the accord that’s to say the authority and the prerogatives of the prime minister have not been compromised. It’s 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 country’s 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 Dion’s 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 country’s 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 wouldn’t 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 "don’t 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

TOPICS: Breaking News; Canada; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: canada; coupdetat; liberalfascism
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To: techno

Does anybody here see a link with this surprising development with the election of Obama and the power and influence of George Soros? This has the smell of Obama and his merry men and women, as they export their playbook to Canada. I can’t prove it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out later to be true. This ‘new’ left-leaning government would become the puppet of Obama and kowtow to his every wish, especially when it came to working side by side with him as he implemented his brand of radical socialism and going along with his views on bailing out the Big 3, global warming, the implementation of a carbon tax, and Obama’s tolerant views on Islamicfascism and the Palestinian cause. And finally to those who believe, like myself, that there are sinister forces out there who are working at best to marginalize conservatism and at worst to obliterate it from the planet and thus slowly erode our God-given freedoms here is another notch for your gun. And speaking of your guns Canadians, there is no 2nd Amendment for you folks to fall back on.

41 posted on 12/01/2008 3:47:30 PM PST by techno
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To: fanfan

There will definitely be renewed talk of separtism from Western Canada.

42 posted on 12/01/2008 3:48:26 PM PST by techno
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To: 1curiousmind

Jack Layton?

43 posted on 12/01/2008 3:48:33 PM PST by fanfan
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To: fanfan

There are protest rallies being planned in Ottawa across the country.

and there is a Facebook page ‘Support Canadian Democracy: National Protest’.

44 posted on 12/01/2008 3:50:18 PM PST by free_life (If you ask Jesus to forgive you and to save you, He will.)
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To: fanfan

It’s nice to see that the US isn’t the only country in North America with an axis of socialism :)

45 posted on 12/01/2008 3:50:33 PM PST by SerafinQ
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To: Citizen Blade

The consolation here is the 3 party coalition did get 53% of the popular vote, the BQ could have avoided this by holding out on the confidence vote agreement with Harper from day one after the election, and forced the Governor General to allow the Liberals an attempt to form a government.

The Canadian political class just lost a mild mannered well heeled economics professor and replaced him with a thin skinned elitist prig who can’t speak English and can’t articulate any economics policy in French, in the middle of an economic crisis.

This can’t end well. We can expect Alberta and Quebec to get exceedingly bellicose in the coming year.

46 posted on 12/01/2008 3:50:56 PM PST by JerseyHighlander
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To: free_life

That should have been >>

There are protest rallies being planned in Ottawa AND across the country.

47 posted on 12/01/2008 3:51:09 PM PST by free_life (If you ask Jesus to forgive you and to save you, He will.)
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To: 4woodenboats
In this case, I think the Liberals have finally dealt themselves the fatal blow. The Canadian people won't stand for it.


48 posted on 12/01/2008 3:53:25 PM PST by fanfan
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To: techno

Canada is the domain of Maurice Strong, not George Soros.
There is no hidden conspiracy, what you think is a conspiracy has been the dominant political philosophy in Canada for much of the last two decades.
Every time the people think they’ve got the Libranos out, they draw them back in.

49 posted on 12/01/2008 3:54:06 PM PST by JerseyHighlander
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To: SerafinQ
It’s nice to see that the US isn’t the only country in North America with an axis of socialism :)

No it's not!

But I know what you meant. ;-)

50 posted on 12/01/2008 3:55:00 PM PST by fanfan
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To: free_life; backhoe; Cindy

Thanks for the links, free_life.


51 posted on 12/01/2008 3:58:20 PM PST by fanfan
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To: fanfan

I give this ploy less than 48 hours.

The Bloc and NDP have more seats together than the Liberals, yet lame duck Dion is PM. This is a setup for catastrophe.

Sober second thoughts by a few NDPers and Liberals ought to ice this scheme.


52 posted on 12/01/2008 3:59:04 PM PST by headsonpikes (Genocide is the highest sacrament of socialism.)
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To: JerseyHighlander

To be honest under Canada’s system of government which is based on the government securing the confidence of Parliament periodically, if a government falls another election will be called pronto unless elements of the opposition can muster enough support in the eyes of the Governor-General to itself form a government. If then the ‘new’ government was defeated then a new election would be called by the Governor-General. With a coalition being formally signed by the Liberal Party, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebeccois the latter won’t happen. Yes, traditionally the party with the most seats in Parliament is supposed to form a government but it is not required. Thus what the ‘coalition is proposing to do is NOT illegal; again it is not illegal; undemocratic yes, Machiavellian yes, power-grabbing yes. Again this has the fingerprints of Obama all over it.

53 posted on 12/01/2008 4:01:31 PM PST by techno
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To: fanfan

yeah...i was be sarcastic...actually, the US is going in the direction that Canada has already for the likes of can hardly call thier political system a government...they used to be socialists of sorts, but now its just a collection of thiefdoms.

54 posted on 12/01/2008 4:02:15 PM PST by SerafinQ
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To: fanfan

yeah...i was being sarcastic...actually, the US is going in the direction that Canada has already for the likes of can hardly call thier political system a government...they used to be socialists of sorts, but now its just a collection of thiefdoms.

55 posted on 12/01/2008 4:02:34 PM PST by SerafinQ
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To: JerseyHighlander

The Conservatives have not been able to break 40% voter support for 20 years. They are not really conservative anyway, and are a fading force in Canadian politics. It’s only divisions in the opposition that have allowed them to win minority governments.

Sorry to say but a coalition of socialists, quebec separatists and corrupt urban liberals pretty much reflects the majority trends in Canada’s degenerated political culture.

56 posted on 12/01/2008 4:04:06 PM PST by Reverend Wright (Promise #1: public financing; Promise #2: middle class tax cut?)
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To: fanfan

Thanks for the ping fanfan.

57 posted on 12/01/2008 4:04:40 PM PST by Cindy
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To: Chet 99
The combined Left has an absolute majority. They can probably take down the Conservative government if they want to. It would be a coup d'etat - and its all quite legal.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

58 posted on 12/01/2008 4:05:40 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Cindy

You’re welcome Cindy.

59 posted on 12/01/2008 4:10:11 PM PST by fanfan
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To: All
I guess it's all up to the governor general..... Wiki Link

And, yes, I am aware of the significance of capital letters.

60 posted on 12/01/2008 4:20:45 PM PST by fanfan
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