Duceppe prepares for showdown over federal budget
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe speaks with reporters following Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:02PM EST
OTTAWA - Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe says his party will vote against the next federal budget if it doesn't include $2 billion in compensation for Quebec for harmonizing the GST and the provincial sales tax.
A spring election could be triggered if a majority of Parliament's 308 MPs vote against the budget.
Quebec harmonized its sales tax in 1992 but has not seen any compensation from the federal government, unlike Ontario and British Columbia which recently implemented the measure.
Duceppe says negotiations with Quebec have stalled but sources have been saying for several weeks that federal and provincial negotiators are on the verge of a deal.
Duceppe tells The Canadian Press he is not guaranteeing Bloc support of the budget even if the compensation is included.
He will evaluate the budget as a whole and see if it benefits Quebecers.
Duceppe starts a tour on Thursday to consult Quebecers on their interests and concerns.
And before the House of Commons resumes sitting on Jan. 31, Duceppe will visit four ridings the Bloc would like to snatch from the Conservatives in the next election.