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May 13, 2005
Reuters: Canadian Gov't Will Fall

Reuters analyzes the latest manueverings in the Canadian Commons and sees little chance of the Liberal government surviving, regardless of when a confidence vote is held:

The main opposition Conservative Party wants the vote immediately but indications are that whenever it is held, the Liberals have a poor chance of surviving, even though the vote will be close.

"This government is finished," a senior member of the cabinet confided. If the Liberals fall next Thursday it would open the way to a June 27 election.

The Liberals and their left-leaning New Democrat allies have 151 seats in the 308-seat parliament, while the Conservatives and the separatist Bloc Quebecois have 153. The speaker of Parliament is a Liberal but he only votes in case of a tie. One seat is vacant.

To have any chance of winning the Liberals need the support of two independent members of Parliament, at least one of whom now says he will in all likelihood vote against the government.

The independent that has apparently switched his vote is David Kilgour. He surprised the Grits yesterday by proclaiming his dissatisfaction with Martin's reaction to the Darfur crisis and the budget allocation for it. Kilgour threatened to vote with the Tories unless Martin reconfigured his budget for more relief funds for the besieged Sudanese region. That means that Chuck Cadman suddenly becomes less crucial in all calculations, because in order to tie, the Liberals needed all three independents to support Martin.

Stephen Harper complained today that Martin's timing was designed to catch the Tories shorthanded for any confidence vote, as MP Darrel Stinson must have cancer surgery on Wednesday and will not be available for a Thursday vote. However, in a new development, NDP MP Ed Broadbent has volunteered to withhold an NDP vote to balance out the missing Tory vote of Stinson:

His absence would in theory give the Liberals a greater chance of survival but the New Democrats said for the sake of fairness they are ready to withdraw one of their own legislators from Parliament during the vote.

"What we are potentially doing is failing to take advantage of a sick member, and we're simply refusing to do that," New Democrat Member of Parliament Ed Broadbent told reporters.

Reuters shows the Tories carrying the vote by two. I suspect that when it comes down to an actual vote which will carry the stigma of supporting a political party that clearly corrupted the electoral and government systems for their own enrichment, the gap will go wider than that.

UPDATE: Harper and Duceppe just adjourned Parliament early again, 138-57, and the Liberals appear to have given up hope of accomplishing any of their agenda until the budget motion comes up for a vote.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 13, 2005 12:16 PM

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I'm back from four days in Toronto, where causes for political amusement and outrage weren't hard to find. The editorials and television were utterly saturated. The gist: Canada's Liberal government hangs in the balance. It will likely fall next week... [Read More]

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