Canadian PM fights back to save government

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 3 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused the three opposition parties set to topple his minority Conservative Party government of “betraying” Canadians.Harper said at the House of Commons Tuesday that opposition parties were throwing all parliamentary “niceties” to the wind to grab power and accused them of “betraying” the people’s mandate.

Targeting Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion, who could be the new prime minister next week despite leading his party to a disastrous showing in the October election, Harper said: “If you want to be prime minister, you get your mandate from the Canadian people, not from the separatists (Bloc Quebecois).”

In response, Dion said the prime minister has failed Canadians in these hard economic times.

“If he (Harper) was a democrat, he would allow this House to show how much he failed,” said Dion.

The political temperature rose further when the Green Party, which has no seat in parliament, also threw its weight behind the opposition plan to oust the government.

Under a deal signed Monday, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) will form a new government, with outside support from the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which wants the French-speaking Quebec province to secede from Canada.

Amid the deepening political crisis, Governor General Michaelle Jean cut short her visit to Europe to return home Wednesday to decide whether to let the opposition to form a new government or order another election.

In the Oct 14 elections, the Conservative Party was voted back to power with 143 seats in the 308-member House of Commons.

But the re-elected government failed to announce any package to stimulate the economy in its economic update (before a full budget later) last week, bringing the opposition Liberal Party, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois together to topple it in a trust vote.

The vote could be held as early as Monday.

The opposition parties were also infuriated by the government’s decision to roll back public funding for them.

Under the deal that lasts till June 2011, Dion will become prime minister till May, when his party chooses a new leader.

The NDP under Jack Layton will have six ministers in the 26-member cabinet.

To stop the opposition from toppling its government, the ruling party has launched a vigorous radio ad campaign to sway public opinion against the move.

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