Harper, Martin, Layton, and Duceppe ‘playing nice’ for the camera’s during the 2004 Leaders Debate
According to the Globe & Mail, Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP Leader Jack Layton reached an “agreement in principle” meaning that the NDP will support the minority Liberal Government’s budget when voting time comes. The NDP support came in exchange for the Liberals cancellation of promised corporate taxcuts (but not the proposed taxcuts for small and medium sized businesses).
Here is an exert of the “Agreement in Principle” from Jack Layton:
“It appears likely that we will have an agreement in principle reached with the government. Families will pay less for their kids’ education. Workers will get better training. We’ll reduce pollution. Build affordable housing. Protect pensions – and have a place in the world that makes us proud.
This likely agreement in principle also gives real hope that the child care money and first installment of the gas tax can start to flow back to communities. It also lets the investment in the Kyoto plan move ahead. The Liberal plan doesn’t keep our Kyoto promise. It has major flaws. But it is vital we move ahead and ensure even the most basic first steps are protected…from year one to year five.”
As a Liberal with NDP tendencies, I like it! I like the idea of a Liberal-NDP Agreement and I like the idea of scrapping the corporate taxcuts.
But, if you take a look at the numbers in the House of Commons, it may not make a difference in the face of a Conservative/Bloc non-confidence vote. So far, what we know is that if the Conservative/Bloc Quebecois alliance pushed a No vote on the Liberal Budget, two of the Independent MP’s (former Reform/Alliance/Tory MP Chuck Cadman, and former Tory/Liberal MP David Kilgour would also vote No.
A Liberal/NDP coalition (which would support the budget) would receive the support of Independent MP Carolyn Parrish.
So, according to the numbers, here is how things work out…
Will vote for the budget
Liberal – 132
NDP – 19
Independent – 1
TOTAL – 152
Will vote against the budget
Conservative – 99
Bloc Quebecois – 54
Independent – 2
TOTAL – 155
So, an Liberal/NDP Agreement may not be enough… depending on who shows up for the budget vote… interesting times ahead.