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April 26, 2005
Martin Purchases NDP Votes To Retain Power

Paul Martin, whose minority Liberal government appeared to approach collapse in the wake of the explosive Adscam testimony, may have used Canadian tax money yet again to retain power -- this time by spending it on NDP budget priorities in order to buy Jack Layton's support and fend off an expected no-confidence vote next month from the Tories:

The New Democrats have reached an "agreement in principle" with the Liberals on support for a key budget vote, says NDP Leader Jack Layton.

The tentative deal could help the minority Liberal government survive. Layton said the details of the agreement are still being worked out, but it involves a guarantee of $4.6 billion in new investment in "people and the environment," plus an increase in foreign aid.

He said Liberal promises of tax cuts for small-and medium-sized businesses will remain, while large corporations will no longer get planned cuts.

Even having the NDP on board doesn't guarantee that Martin will defeat a no-confidence vote. The additional 19 MPs still only provides Martin with 151 votes, with 155 needed to defeat an attempt to topple his government. It does make it tougher for Stephen Harper's Conservatives to get to 155, however. Assuming that BQ will vote with Harper, he has 153 members -- which means both sides will play Monty Hall with the three independents. Two come from the west, and may therefore have more sympathy for the Tories, but the sure bet on a Liberal collapse looks long gone.

Ironically, Martin may have saved his party by conducting the same kind of manipulation of Canadian tax money as Adscam, albeit legally this time. He has taken money from the tax base and used it to satisfy political allies and garner support for the Liberals. Layton, on the other hand, has deliberately bolstered a government with demonstrable ties to corruption and graft -- a position that will not likely win many new converts to the NDP among Canadians.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 26, 2005 5:30 PM

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