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It’s… alive!


NDP, Liberals reach deal to topple minority Tory government

CBC News

The NDP and Liberals have reached a deal to topple the minority Conservative government and take power themselves in a coalition, CBC News has learned.

A deal has been negotiated between NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion that would see them form a coalition government for two and a half years, the CBC’s Keith Boag reported, citing sources.

The NDP would be invited into cabinet and get 25 per cent of seats, Boag said, adding that the party wouldn’t get the position of the finance chair or the deputy prime minister’s post.

“That’s the big step forward tonight,” Boag reported.

The Bloc Québécois wouldn’t be a part of the coalition, but would have to support it, he said.

“The most difficult question is who’ll be the leader,” Boag said, adding that Dion, who negotiated the deal, believes he has the right to be prime minister.

First thought: This is a huge win for the NDP. With a quarter of the seats in cabinet, they would gain instant legitimacy as potential contenders for power, of a kind they have never had before. Indeed, just negotiating the deal is a win, even if they never get to put it into effect.

The Liberals have just pulled their chief rival on the left in from the margins of irrelevancy to a serious alternative, at the same time allowing themselves to be pulled sharply to the left, in public perception if nothing else. They may live to regret this. Worse, they may not.

Second thought: What does it mean to say the Bloc “would have to support” the deal. Sez who? How would this be enforced?

Third thought: Prime Minister Dion.

UPDATE: On the other hand there’s this:

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff is unlikely to support the coalition deal being negotiated by lame duck leader Stéphane Dion – a decision that would doom the opposition parties attempt to bring down the government next week in a vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons.

And this:

Coalition deal may unravel


It’s… alive!

  1. Cool. Hey, suddenly, we’re Europe.

    Now if I could just shake the feeling that Dion had this in the back of his mind when he stuck around….

  2. C’mon Andrew.. even if you oppose this turn of events, admit it.. you must like this as a political observer/reporter etc.

  3. Good.

  4. Mr. Coyne: “What does it mean to say the Bloc “would have to support” the deal. Sez who? How would this be enforced?”

    Either they have to give written assurance that they will support a vote of confidence in a coalition government or Duceppe has to show up in person and tell the GG the same thing.

  5. Soon someone might have to edit Edward Blake’s wikipedia page.

    “He and current leader Stéphane Dion are the only federal Liberal leaders never to become Prime Minister of Canada (with the exception of interim leaders of the party, none of whom have led the party into an election).”

  6. Go NapolDion Dynamite!

  7. The Conservatives would have their opposition days to propose amendments that would be “good for quebec” but that would instantly be shot down by the “government.” We’ll see how long the BQ sticks with that.

  8. “pulled sharply to the left”

    That would be back to the centre Andrew!

  9. Damn !! The Sans-Culottes are in the suburbs !! Aux barricades !!

  10. As for Andrew’s point about how this will play out in terms of the Liberal’s own future:

    I suppose it’s just as likely that it will give the Liberals a chance to reestablish themselves as the more small c conservative party of the coalition, the centre of it, which is the role they need to return to, anyway.

  11. Two thoughts:

    1,) Leaking this tonight is a panicked attempt to fight off a news cycle of that Layton tape.

    2.) Leaking this tonight before showing it to Ignatieff, Rae, and Leblanc is a dirty pool way to prevent them from vetoing it. Dion really is a turd sandwich, isn’t he?

  12. I still don’t think this is gonna happen (Prime Minister Prentice will figure out a way to stop it) but still. For the next year or so whenever the Tories want to try to push the envelope, the opposition will have this plan in their back pocket.

    Even if it doesn’t happen before Christmas, it just got a lot less scary for the opposition to bring down the government.

  13. Awesome. Vive la coalition! Oui on peut!

  14. ABC – Better anyone than Stephen Harper and Co.

  15. Second thought: What does it mean to say the Bloc “would have to support” the deal. Sez who? How would this be enforced?

    Oh Jesus, now he’s writing “sez.”

    It’s a good question, though, I admit.

    Gawd, isn’t it great to be Canadian?

  16. absolutely f#@king disgusting.

  17. Ti-Guy, today, we are all Italians.

  18. This is a great time to be a politics junkie. I was thinking that after my election high I would have to settle down for a couple years of quiet seething anger for CPC policy idiocy.

  19. Second thought: What does it mean to say the Bloc “would have to support” the deal. Sez who? How would this be enforced?

    same as the people to enforce the coalition itself, no on. it can fal apart at any point. that is the point of coalition as opposed to merged parties.

    also I think people are overplaying the Iggy thing. watch his interview with Taber from national television today. if he was fingered for this thing failing now, he would have zero legitimacy and his days would be numbered.

    andrew you should be excited we are moving towards PR in practice, if not in design, as messy as it is.

  20. “Third thought: Prime Minister Dion.”

    Indeed. 11% approval ratings notwithstanding.

  21. I must say – as temporary as this fix may be – these shenanigans are doing more good than Prozac for depressed Liberals. (Or at least for me)

    After two years of drifting in the mean blue tide – we are finally making some waves of our own. There is nothing sinister about the elected progressive centre Members of Parliament representing the voters who elected them.

    Our political system is what it is – dysfunctional perhaps – but with levers in place to move democracy along and to restrain minority governments with out of control arrogance and hubris.

  22. Ti-Guy, today, we are all Italians.

    Dio grazie! Gli Italiani sono meravigliosi.

  23. We are living in interesting times. This is just the sort of thing this country needs to start becoming a real democracy.

  24. I don’t buy that analysis Andrew. The Liberals will obviously present themselves to the public as the centrist aspect of the coalition, It gives them a scapegoat if it goes poorly, and an easy way to dissolve the commons if/when they decide they want to try for a solo mandate. Add to that the fact that Stephan Harper has just clearly demonstrated that he isn’t above using his public office to stack the deck in his own perpetual favour and I’d say that the electoral risks of leaving Harper and his Tories in office far outweigh the risks of giving some small amount of governance to the dippers.

    Ultimately, when you get down to it, it’s better to be in power then out of power.

  25. So it seems that Jack Layton duped poor Dion and paved the way for taking apart remnants of once so powerful Liberal Party of Canada. This will turn into a real fun when a week from now Dion “the manipulator” learns that he was the subject of quite clever manipulation by everybody involved. It seems that Iggi smels a rat and this is why he is staying out of it.

  26. Does anyone honestly think that Ignatieff can win the leadership race if it was his people who stopped the party for governing, even if it was in a coalition? He’d be insane to go against it.

  27. Iggy might have the support of the majority of Liberal MPs, but that doesn’t mean he can scuttle this deal. How many of those MPs would still support him if he became THE obstacle to returning to power like right now? I have a feeling he’d find out just how (not) strong caucus loyalty is. If Hall-Findlay, Bob Rae and others back it, and if Chretien is in the background urging this, does Iggy really have any say in the matter? I think not. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that Iggy would see his front-runner status evapourate immediately if he tried to throw himself in front of this.

  28. Ranter: Indeed. I see, if anything, him quietly going along for the ride and then clucking his tongue afterwards if it goes poorly.

  29. Miranda
    I got some bad news for you; next week Michael Ignatieff is joining Conservatives and he is taking eleven more Liberals with him.

  30. Its no wonder that Ignatieff is in high dudgeon. Dion is the big winner. He negotiated the deal. He gets to be Prime Minister. He has nothing to lose, he has already been given the bums rush by the party, what does he care what long-term damage gets done to the party. Indeed, such a coaltion may attempt to recruit conservatives and smash party politics. However, that is not how we voted in the last election.

    The biggest losers in this are the leadership candidates. If Dion gets to be PM on a technicality, the Libs will be frozen in their tracks. How can Iggy not support DIon? Dion can isolate Iggy from power and start ladling sips of real power and history-making to tempt those who put Iggy’s loyalty above their own self – interest.

    it is crucial that these madmen do not trigger an election if their plan to succeed. If Harper has lost the initiative, he must at least guarantee that any successful non-confidence motion forces an early election in order to make sure there is hell to pay.

  31. I thank God every day for my graduate degree in political economics.

  32. “returning to power”

    Your 2 partners combined have more seats than you do.

    Weakest party in Canadian history to ever form a government.

    Thing is, you could have waited until you had a new leader, voted down the gov’t, contested and won an election on merit. All in six months.

    Instead you’re stuck with a PM you didn’t want for Leader, and then you are saddled with the NDP and the Bloc for two and a half years.

    Can’t wait to see the list the NDP and Bloc have been making for 6 weeks.

  33. Karol, I’ll donate $1100 to the CPC if you’re right, if you’ll donate same to the LPC if you’re wrong. Wanna take the bet?

  34. Always surprised at the state of affairs in Canadian politics. Or more to the point how the majority of the scribes in the country report it. How amazing is it when the Potash Corp of Sask can announce 32k worth of new jobs in the Province of Saskatchewan and Bruce Power in the stages of announcing an 8 billion dollar reactor with infrastructure in the same dollar range. Unemployment at its lowest levels in 30 years, Alberta Manitoba and Newfoundland all still showing growth Saskatchewan leading the nation and you hear nothing about it. Its all doom and gloom. Yes the auto section is getting whacked, and it has been for the better part of ten years + . Canada isn’t the states even though our economy’s are tied together as out largest trading partner. Nothing that happens here will have any bearing period until Pres elect Obama and his band of Keynesian funsters have their say with the US economy. That will be a real disaster think Jimmy Carter and the land of 23% interest. This should be hardly a news flash. I don’t think for a second Mr Dion, Layton and the Bloqheads have a friggin sniff of a collective thought about what to do about anything, nor how to run a country let alone and the prime minster has exploited them all for the long term betterment of the country. You don’t see Rae or Iggy bleating off on this do you? Be careful of what you wish for because it isn’t you may get it , but how you may get it. The Libs will be in the wilderness for more than a generation if this comes to pass. Iggy and Rae know it through and through.

  35. Karol — haven’t you heard the news? Ignatieff is taking over from Harper and Harper’s joining — the Bloc! With David Emerson as sous-chef. I know, crazy, eh, but I couldn’t make this stuff up!

  36. Darryl, Potash Corp may reconsider given that the price of its underlying asset has returned to rational, historical levels and its stock down 70% in four months.

  37. Karol, are you being sarcastic? Or just thick? Would the Liberals really negotiate this deal and carry it through, only to lose a dozen members to the Conservatives – which would hand them a majority of 155 seats?

    I’m pretty sure the Liberals took, like, a straw poll or something in caucus, and found that they wouldn’t lose any MPs, and certainly not more than one or two. It would be kind of important to ascertain the level of caucus support before doing this deal. That way they could be sure of, you know, caucus support. And stuff.

    I will say that if Iggy himself does oppose this, and leaves the Liberals because of it, my respect for him will have increased considerably. But I don’t think he’s all that anxious to fall on his own sword like that, even if he does make it out of the room before his once loyal band of MPs start feasting on his carcass.

  38. Darryl Millar, the Liberals are likely drawing up their will and testament as we speak. But that doesn’t mean they won’t do it. And Rae already supports the deal, because he realizes he can’t NOT support it. Iggy, it would seem, does not yet realize he has no choice. But he soon will.

  39. Iggy won’t leave the Liberals to become yet another puppet in Harper’s Harem. Get real.

  40. Ignore Karol. Karol is a troll. Same pasted-in stuff in four threads, so far.

  41. Raging Ranter I just hate to burst your bubble but Liberals are bankrupt and all the other guys want to take advantage of them and people who got elected on Liberal ticket want to dump them.
    This fake coalition was the best scenario to do it. Left leaning Liberals will go to NDP and right leaning Liberals will go to Conservatives.
    Subsidies will get eliminated after remaining Liberals pay off their debts.
    It looks very bad on all Canadian politicians when one of their parties owes so much money to the banks.

  42. LKO has a very good point – however this all plays out, no more threats of everything being a confidence vote.


    I clicked on your updates only to find that Iggy will be the coalition leader! Interesting times.

    On the issue of prorogue of Parliament…If Harper does so, he not only is again showing himself anti-democratic as well as hypocritical, but he is prolonging a political crisis at a time of economic crisis for personal gain. If he does so, he is even less deserving of his office.