Cracks in coalition starting to show: Liberal MP
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, December 4, 2008 7:22PM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:40PM EDT
A Liberal MP hinted Thursday that a Grit-NDP coalition to bring down the government might not last into the New Year, following the announcement that Parliament had been suspended until January.
"I cannot see it holding together," Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis told CTV's Rosemary Thompson.
The coalition also has the support of the Bloc Quebecois, but with 143 seats in Parliament, the Tories would need the support of 12 opposition MPs to clinch a majority and derail the coalition's stated goal of bringing down the government.
Karygiannis added that Liberals and New Democrats have a long history of battling each other, meaning some factions could end up pitting MPs in the coalition against each other.
The coalition's prospects weren't helped by an embarrassing episode on Wednesday night, when the Liberals were late to deliver a taped address to the nation featuring Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.
When the tape was finally put on national television, the video was blurry and of poor quality.
"That was the YouTube approach ... it was a disaster," said Karygiannis.
Meanwhile, during a tense caucus meeting Thursday afternoon, cracks in the Liberal party were beginning to show, according to CTV's Roger Smith.
"There is a fierce debate going on right now in that caucus room," he told CTV Newsnet as the MPs met behind closed doors in Ottawa.
"It seems the knives are out for Stephane Dion, and it's not just Jim Karygiannis carrying them."
However, Liberal leadership hopeful Michael Ignatieff later dismissed the prospect of the coalition breaking apart as nonsense, and he called Karygiannis' comments "extremely disappointing.
"This caucus is 76 men and women striving to be worthy of the hour," said Ignatieff, adding that the Liberals are working in the best interests of Canadians facing an economic downturn.
"Every single one of us is trying to rise to the expectations that Canadians have of us."
Dion hints of support for Tories
Earlier in the day, Dion said that the Liberals could support a Tory budget, but only if it represented a "monumental change" from the current Conservative attitude.
So far, Dion said Harper has "failed completely" to seek consensus and build bridges with the opposition parties.
"What we have seen is the exact opposite," Dion said. "Despite repeated promises to the contrary he has merely paid lip service to the ideals of co-operation and consensus."
Dion said he has no reason to believe that attitude will change, though he did seem to open the door slightly to co-operating with the Conservatives on drafting the budget.
"The challenge now is for Mr. Harper to do what he says he wants to do, rather than what he has done. And let me tell you it's a monumental challenge," Dion said.
By contrast, the leaders of the NDP and Bloc both took a more hardliner stance.
Layton said Thursday was "a sad day that has happened for Parliamentary democracy."
The coalition, he said, was ready to take over in government and move on without the Conservatives to work together to take "bold and strong action" on the economy.
"This plan was rejected by the prime minister and his party. In fact, they chose to play politics instead of focusing on the economy. The prime minister is now choosing to protect his own job rather than focusing on the jobs of Canadians who are being thrown out of work today," Layton said.
He added that he has lost all faith in Harper.
"And now he's coming forward with an element of contrition and saying he'll listen, but I don't think Canadians trust him," Layton said.
Duceppe echoed statements from Layton that accused Harper of evading democracy.
He also said the Bloc is still willing to support the Liberal-NDP coalition, if it continues to exist, and said the objective hasn't changed.
"We are determined to fulfill our mandate and get rid of Stephen Harper and his government," Duceppe said.
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