Tories survive Liberal non-confidence motion
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have survived a non-confidence motion put forth by the Liberals.
The final tally in the House of Commons Thursday afternoon was 144 - 117, with NDP MPs abstaining from the vote.
The Liberal motion stated that the government had lost support of Parliament and should be replaced. The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois supported the motion.
However, the government will remain in power thanks to a deal it struck with the NDP to increase spending on Employment Insurance by about $1 billion.
The vote came after Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said that the prime minister was harming the country through a series of missteps.
Ignatieff used the bill's debate time to launch a series of political salvos on his rival, including accusations that the Conservatives have had a series of "failures" while in government.
He also said that Harper uses highly divisive methods to stay in power: "All adversaries are enemies, all methods are fair and all public money is available for partisan purposes."
"This is unworthy of the political traditions of this country," he said.
But the most stinging attack came when Ignatieff accused the Conservatives of trying to change the very nature of federal politics.
"It will weaken and eventually it could change Canada beyond recognition," Ignatieff said.
Transport Minister John Baird retorted to the attacks by accusing Ignatieff of being out-of-step with the everyday needs of Canadians.
Baird then challenged the opposition leader to "look beyond the view from the terrace of his condo in Yorkville" and learn what the country really needs.
In a spirited exchange, Ignatieff said the government needs to be thrown out of office because:
- It has delivered a massive deficit which has far outstripped predictions
- It hasn't adequately defended Canadians abroad
- It doesn't yet have a swine flu vaccine
- It has dragged its feet on getting stimulus spending out to communities
Meanwhile, the Liberal desire to take Canadians to the polls has hurt them in some opinion polls.
The party had supported the government for about three years before Parliament's toxic atmosphere led to the current showdown.