Canadian opposition parties announce deal to oust Conservatives from power
The opposition says that the economy is in trouble and Harper's government (we Americans would say his administration) hasn't stopped things from getting worse.
Because Canada has a parliamentary system, ousting Harper from power simply requires a vote of no confidence from the members of the newly-allied opposition parties, which collectively form a majority.
If the deal announced yesterday holds and Harper loses the vote, Canada's Governor General would either ask the opposition parties to form a government or call an unscheduled, early election (known as a "snap poll"). News reports from the BBC and the Globe and Mail have suggested that the Governor General is unlikely to call a snap poll because Canada held federal elections just a few weeks ago.
The BBC has more details on the deal:
The opposition Liberals and New Democrats signed a formal agreement to form a coalition that would govern until 30 June 2010 and have the tacit support of the separatist Bloc Quebecois.The Conservatives are already trying to torch the deal by launching an ad campaign protesting the agreement as undemocratic.
The new prime minister would be the Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, who led his party to a serious defeat in the 14 October polls and had already announced plans to step down next May.
The opposition parties say they were spurred to action by the failure of the government to deal with the financial crisis and boost the country's economy, and that they are set to introduce a stimulus package.
Meanwhile, the Green Party's Leader, Elizabeth May, is endorsing the deal and entering the public relations battle by announcing her intent to create a website that would encourage Canadians to support the proposed coalition government.
On her blog yesterday evening, Ms. May detailed what the Conservatives are trying to do to avoid being ousted from power.
We have from now until December 8th to make it clear that the majority of Canadians want Mr. Harper to leave 24 Sussex Drive. We may need to make the case to the Governor General that Mr. Harper must not be allowed to cling to power by prorogation. He delayed the confidence motions by one week until December 8th in order to throw all the Conservative fire power - back-tracking, attack ads, illegal tape recording of phone calls, spinning on steroids -- at forcing the Opposition Parties to blink. If it doesn't work, he is threatening to shut down the House to buy more time. He may seek to dissolve the House (prorogation).Here's a quick summary of the balance of power in the House:
The Liberals, NDP and Bloc together outnumber the Tories in the Commons. The Liberals have 77 seats, the New Democrats 37 and the Bloc 49, giving them 163 votes versus the Conservatives' 143.As Elizabeth explained in the excerpt above, the Conservatives have delayed the vote on the confidence motions until December 8th at the earliest. That's next Monday. If the vote occurs then and goes against Harper, Canada will either hold new elections or the coalition government will assume power.
This is all rather fascinating to watch.
We at NPI extend our best wishes to the opposition parties and hope they succeed in sweeping Harper and his Conservatives out of power.