Political coup in Canada; Dion to replace Harper as new PMDecember 2nd, 2008 - 9:05 am ICT by IANS
Toronto, Dec 2 (IANS) In a political coup, Canada’s three opposition parties have joined hands to oust the just elected minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.In a deal signed by the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) and backed by the separatist Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa Monday, the first two parties will form a new government, with the third supporting them from outside.
Under the deal, Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion will become the new prime minister till May when his party chooses a new leader to replace him.
Dion has sent a letter to Governor-General Michaelle Jean - who is away in Europe - about the decision of the combined opposition to defeat the current government in the House and form a coalition government.
The coalition deal will last till June 30, 2011, when the two parties will review their relationship. But the Bloc Quebecois, which is supporting them from outside, said it will back the coalition only till June 30, 2010, and then review the arrangement.
The cabinet will have 18 ministers from the Liberal Party and six from the NDP. It will be the first time since 1926 that a Canadian government will be replaced without an election.
In the 308-member House of Commons, the ruling Conservative Party has 143 MPs, the Liberal Party 77, the NDP 37 and the Bloc Quebecois 49.
In the Oct 14 general election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party was returned with a tally of 143 seats in the 308-member House of Commons. But it fell short of the 155-seat majority mark, leading to the current crisis.
Curiously, the man (Dion) who will be Canada’s new prime minister had led his Liberal Party to its worst-ever defeat in decades, reducing its tally from 95 to 77 in parliament.
He is scheduled to step down in May when his party chooses a new leader who will then become the prime minister.
What brought the opposition parties together was the last week’s economic update by the ruling party which failed to announce any package to stimulate the economy and cut public funding for political parties.
An outraged Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadians will not like the overturning of “the results of an election a few weeks later in order to form a coalition nobody voted for and everybody denied.”
Referring to the Bloc Quebecois which wants French-speaking Quebec province to break away from Canada, the prime minister said, “And to have a coalition like that that can govern only with the veto of the people who want to break up this country.Do they really believe that is in the interests of this country?”
Tags: bloc quebecois, coalition deal, governor general michaelle jean, liberal party leader, new democratic party, new prime minister, opposition parties, political coup, prime minister stephen harper, stephane dion