Liberals survive first confidence vote in new Parliament
OTTAWA -- The minority Liberal government has survived its first test of confidence in the House of Commons, passing the supplementary estimates—a spending bill allowing additional money to flow to get federal departments through to the fiscal year's end.
After a series of votes with the same result, Bill C-2—an appropriation act that approves $4.9 billion in new spending through to March 31, 2020— passed with the support of 205 MPs.
The Liberals had the backing of the Bloc Quebecois and NDP caucuses, as well as Green MP Jenica Atwin and Independent Jody Wilson-Raybould. The Conservative caucus and Green MP Paul Manly voted against the estimates.
The majority of the new money was being sought by the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Treasury Board; the Department of National Defence; and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“The Estimates includes funds in areas such as Indigenous communities and economic development, support for veterans, protecting oceans and wildlife, promotion of trade and development and international humanitarian assistance,” said Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez in a statement. “We look forward to continued collaboration in the House as the government and parliamentarians work together on an agenda for Canadians.”
Any votes that have to do with money, such as the federal budget or the estimates, are traditionally considered confidence votes. In any parliament, a government lives so long as it maintains the confidence of the House of Commons. This confidence is demonstrated each time a key vote passes.
MPs sat late into Monday night in a special committee of the whole to consider the estimates to move through all the usual legislative stages in one concise sitting to meet the Dec. 10 deadline built into the House rules to see this supply bill passed.
And, while this bill got the support needed, the Liberals were delivered a defeat moments earlier by the opposition parties, who teamed up to pass a motion calling for the House to create a special committee that will call upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other high-level officials to testify on the status of the Canada-China relationship. That motion was not a confidence vote.