Liberals won't defeat government on
throne speech Politics Watch ® News Services
October 17, 2007, updated 5:33 p.m.
|Liberal leader Stephane Dion says Canadians
don't want a fall election.
OTTAWA (PoliticsWatch.com) —
Canada will likely not face a fall federal election after its
official opposition party decided Wednesday to prop up the minority
Conservative government on the throne speech.
After days of speculation, Liberal leader Stephane Dion
announced in the House of Commons that the Liberals will likely abstain on
the main vote on the throne speech, which is a matter of
The other two opposition parties -- the NDP and Bloc Quebecois --
had already said they would vote against the throne speech.
"Never before has a federal government fallen on the basis of a
throne speech," Dion said.
"Canadians can count on the official opposition to do
everything it can to make this Parliament work. We will not make the
government fall on its throne speech, which would cause a third
federal election in four years."
Dion said his party would propose amendments to the throne speech
and if they are rejected then the Liberals would abstain on the main
throne speech vote "in order to avoid causing an
The Liberal leader noted what he is doing is no different then what
Prime Minister Stephen Harper did in 2005 when as opposition
leader he ensured there would not be an election by having some of
his MPs not show for a vote on the Liberal government's
Harper later repeated his belief that if the throne speech passes
then the government has a mandate from the House of Commons to
implement its legislative agenda.
The prime minister said the government's first piece of legislation
in the new session of Parliament will be an omnibus bill of criminal
justice reforms called The Tackling Violent Crime Act.
Harper also said the crime bill will be a matter of
NDP Leader Jack Layton quickly criticized Dion's decision to
prop up the government.
"I offer to the leader of the opposition the option to do the
right thing, which is to join with the NDP which is going to be
rising in opposition to the direction of this government."
There was much speculation in Ottawa over the last 24 hours about
what Dion would do.
Leaks from the Liberal caucus gave the impression that Dion was
hawkish and was leaning towards voting against the throne speech
rather than prop up the Conservative government on a document that
declares Canada's Kyoto accord commitments could not be met.
At the conclusion of a three-hour caucus meeting on Wednesday
morning, Dion did not tell Liberal MPs what his decision was on the
throne speech vote.
"He listened for hours and hours to both sides of the question and
. . . the guy listened an unbelievable amount so now we have to see but I don't know exactly what he's going to
say," Liberal MP Garth Turner told reporters before Dion
announced his intentions.
Turner was one of the Liberals who had said the Liberals should vote
against the government's throne speech.
Other Liberals said the timing was not right for an election, given
the party is trailing the Conservatives in every poll.
Some Liberal MPs believe that their fortunes will turn around now
that Parliament has reconvened and the government will face
televised criticism in question period each day.
The Liberals went on the offensive in the first question period of
this Parliament on Wednesday afternoon with questions about an OPP
investigation of Ottawa's mayor that has mentioned the names of
senior Conservative party election officials and the Conservative
party court case with Elections Canada over transfers to local
ridings that were used to pay for television advertising.
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