Opposition rejects budget, but no election talk
Ian Munroe, CTV.ca News
Published Thursday, March 4, 2010 7:01PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:06AM EDT
The Conservatives' budget will likely pass a vote in Parliament, as the Liberals and the NDP said they will vote against the document -- but in small numbers that won't topple the government.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered the budget in the House of Commons. It laid out the Conservative government's plan to fight a deficit of $53.7 billion by reining in federal spending.
"We will vote against it, but in a way that does not provoke an election," Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters, speaking in French. "I don't see a path in this budget that gets Canadians back to work. This is the key thing."
Ignatieff said the speech neglected to address long-term funding for pensions. He also said he would like to hear from the Parliamentary budget officer, to verify the budget's numbers.
"The issue is not about cuts, but are you cutting in the right places? Are you cutting to the bone of what Canadians depend upon?" Ignatieff asked. "That's the issue we will be looking at when we get these guys back in the House."
Rather than bring down the government, the Liberal leader said he was focused on building up his party to become a strong alternative for Canadians.
NDP Leader Jack Layton also criticized the Tory budget, but stopped short of announcing that New Democrat MPs would vote against it.
"It's the wrong set of choices that the prime minister has made here," Layton told CTV News. "It leaves so many people who are the victims of this recession behind."
"We're not going to vote for it," he added. "We'll decide as a caucus how we will proceed."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said his party would vote against the budget, which he said ignored the interests of Quebecers.
The Conservatives failed to provide enough funding for industries important to the province, Duceppe said, such as forestry and hydroelectricity. Instead, it favours industries based elsewhere in the country, such as the auto industry, which is concentrated in Ontario.
"The Quebec nation does not see its own interests addressed in that budget," Duceppe said.