“Separatists” will keep Harper minority government alive (once again, with feeling?)Sep 15th, 2009 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009. 4:30 PM EDT. Well, well, well … Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe has now officially announced that his party will support the Harper minority government’s ways and means budget motion this coming Friday, September 18 — and thus at least avert yet another Canadian federal election in the utterly immediate future.
Jack Layton’s New Democrats will apparently wait until the government’s new employment insurance legislation is tabled tomorrow, before deciding whether they will also support the motion this Friday. But as long the Bloc votes yes the government is safe. (It takes 155 votes for a bare majority in the current 308-member House. The Conservatives have 143, Liberals 77, Bloc Québécois 48, and NDP 36. There is one Independent and three vacancies.)
So … the Harper minority government now seems safe until at least the end of the month. Parliament does not sit next week, and thus the Conservatives will likely not have to face another confidence test until either the last week of September or early October, when the Liberals will have an opportunity to move their own motion of no confidence in the government. (And the great question remains, if that happens what will the Bloc and the NDP do then?)
Meanwhile, various Ottawa wags have quipped that if both the Bloc and the New Democrats wind up supporting the government motion this Friday, Mr. Harper will be saved (?) by the same “coalition” of “separatists and socialists” that he “attacked Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for seeking in a speech … earlier this month in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.” Even if only the Bloc does the trick this Friday, some very long-term counterweights readers may have a sense of deja vu all over again — as they recall our headline on February 21, 2006: “Now we know .. the new government in Ottawa will be a Conservative-Bloc Québécois alliance after all.”
For an update on Canadian federal politics as of Friday, September 18, 2009, see L. Frank Bunting’s In Brief report: “All fired up and ready to go in Canada?”