canadian politics finally get interesting.



Liberals, NDP, Bloc sign deal on proposed coalition

The Liberals and New Democrats signed an agreement on Monday to form an unprecedented coalition government, with a written pledge of support from the Bloc Québécois, if they are successful in ousting the minority Conservative government in a coming confidence vote.

The accord between parties led by Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe came just hours after Liberal caucus members agreed unanimously that Dion would stay on to lead the Liberal-NDP coalition, with support in the House of Commons from Bloc MPs.

The Bloc would not officially be a part of the coalition, but the new government’s survival would depend on its support.

Duceppe said his party entered into an agreement that is “in the best interests of Quebec, of Quebecers during this time of economic difficulties.”

“We chose for the time being to give priority to the economic situation and to the assistance we must provide to people,” he said.

He added he did not agree to support the coalition beyond the 2011 date because the various parties could not agree on “concrete action to recognize the Quebec nation.”

Details of the deal

The proposed coalition government includes:

  • 24 members of cabinet and Dion as prime minister
  • 18 Liberal cabinet ministers (including a yet-to-be-named Liberal finance minister)
  • 6 NDP cabinet ministers
  • 6 NDP parliamentary secretaries
  • The 2 caucuses would sit side by side in the House of Commons
  • The agreement between the NDP and Liberals would expire on June 30, 2011, unless renewed. The Bloc is only committed to 18 months.

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