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August 22, 2005
NDP Splits With Liberals: Radio Canada

Radio Canada reports in its French-language news service that Jack Layton and the NDP have abandoned their partnership with Paul Martin and the Liberals, just two months after winning a major tax concession in exchange for propping up Martin during the Adscam scandal (via CQ reader SpaceNeedleBoy):

Le chef du Nouveau Parti dmocratique, Jack Layton, a confirm au quotidien Le Devoir, que l'alliance entre sa formation politique et les libraux de Paul Martin tait termine.

In other words -- c'est fini. If this gets confirmed, the Liberals will suddenly be vulnerable to a Tory/BQ no-confidence motion as soon as Parliament comes back into session. The Liberals may have avoided the axe in May and June, but they have not capitalized on their political manuevering at all. Their national polling has them stuck at the mid-30s, a number which clearly gets them short of a Commons majority. Without a legislative partner, the Liberals cannot maintain a government.

It appears all Harper has to do is show up once Parliament returns next month. Martin may have to prorogue Parliament in order to maintain his grip on power, or else attempt to wrest BQ away from Harper to keep the Liberal government going. Neither option looks good or reasonable for the Liberals' long-term health.

UPDATE: The first Anglophone report comes from 580 CFRA (via CQ reader SpaceNeedleBoy again):

NDP Leader Jack Layton says his party is no longer in bed with the federal Liberal government.

Layton says the Liberal-NDP alliance that kept Prime Minister Paul Martin in power in the spring ended when the federal budget received Royal assent.

The Liberals struck a 4.6 billion dollar deal with the NDP in the spring to help pass the federal budget.

Layton isn't ruling out a possible coalition with the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives to bring down the government this fall.

That last shot across the bow will definitely have the Liberals calling the BQ to head off another attempt to bring down the Martin government. If they cannot, I expect Martin to prorogue Parliament with the excuse that he wants to give Judge Gomery enough time to report on the Adscam testimony and evidence before anyone calls for an election.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 22, 2005 7:08 AM

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