House vote could bring down government next week
Published Friday, September 11, 2009 9:52PM EDT
The Conservative minority government could fall as early as next week, triggering the second election in a year, according to reports.
The Canadian Press reported that a ways and means motion, usually introduced in advance of a budget bill, could be introduced in Parliament next Friday, forcing a critical vote in Parliament.
Though the major parties have been prepping for an increasingly likely fall election for the past week, the exact timing still seemed to be unclear on Friday evening.
In fact, Liberal finance critic John McCallum suspected that the vote could be part of a Conservative plan to hasten a showdown.
"Perhaps the Conservatives are trying to bring themselves down?" McCallum told CTV News Channel.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Conservative House Leader Jay Hill told CP that no "final timing decision" had been made.
The political jostling comes only three days before Parliament resumes. The Liberals have vowed to vote against the government, potentially triggering the fourth federal election in only five years.
Earlier in the day, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff denied Conservative accusations that he would form a pact with the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois.
"Let me be clear: the Liberal Party would not agree to a coalition. In January we did not support a coalition, and we do not support a coalition today or tomorrow," Ignatieff said.
He added that the party will seek support and consensus of "partners" but will not sign a formal coalition deal. He said he does not believe Canadians are in favour of a coalition government.
"Having had the painful experience of working with Mr. Harper in minority government, I know how to work in a minority situation without forming a coalition," he said.
In a video leaked earlier this week, Harper said Conservatives needed a win in order to prevent the Liberals from signing a coalition deal with "the socialists and the separatists."
"The secret video makes one thing perfectly clear," said Ignatieff. "Stephen Harper believes he's entitled to a majority government."
In December, the Liberals, under then leader Stephane Dion, signed an agreement with the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP in an attempt to bring down the Conservative minority government.
When Parliament resumed in January, the parties did not adhere to the coalition.
Ignatieff said earlier on Friday that Canadians can expect more details on a possible non-confidence vote some time next week.
Attack ads launch in Quebec
Meanwhile, the Conservatives launched a series of new attack ads in Quebec zeroing in on high-profile Liberal MP Justin Trudeau.
In the ads, Trudeau badmouths Ignatieff for being contradictory and lacking wisdom.
"Ignatieff, he's a little all over the place sometimes," Trudeau states in French.
"For me, he's not someone with ... maybe he has the intelligence, but maybe not the wisdom required."
The comments were made at the height of the divisive 2006 Liberal leadership race, in which Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, backed Gerard Kennedy. Trudeau was elected as a rookie Liberal MP in 2008.
The ad ends with the narrator saying: "Liberals themselves doubt (Ignatieff's) judgment. How can we trust him?"
Responding to the commercials on Friday, Trudeau said the ads are yet another example of the Conservatives' cynical political games, which attempt to "divide and turn people on each other."
"Michael Ignatieff has demonstrated such strength of leadership, strength of character over the three years I've known him," Trudeau said.
Meanwhile, Ignatieff attempted to turn the tables on his Conservative counterpart, saying that Prime Minister Stephen Harper rules over his MPs with an iron fist.
"As compared to Mr. Harper, I can work very well with people who have opinions that differ from mine," Ignatieff said.
With files from The Canadian Press