Canadian Government Falls

#1
Canadian Government Falls on No-Confidence

By ROB GILLIES (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
November 28, 2005 11:07 PM EST

TORONTO - A corruption scandal forced a vote of no-confidence Monday that toppled Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government, triggering an unusual election campaign during the Christmas holidays.

Canada's three opposition parties, which control a majority in Parliament, voted against Martin's government, claiming his Liberal Party no longer has the moral authority to lead the nation.

The loss means an election for all 308 seats in the lower House of Commons, likely on Jan. 23. Martin and his Cabinet would continue to govern until then.

Opposition leaders last week called for the no-confidence vote after Martin rejected their demands to dissolve Parliament in January and hold early elections in February. Monday's vote follows a flurry of spending announcements in Ottawa last week, with the government trying to advance its agenda ahead of its demise.

Martin is expected to dissolve the House of Commons on Tuesday and set a firm date for the elections. Under Canadian law, elections must be held on a Monday - unless it falls on a holiday - and the campaign period is sharply restricted.

"The vote in the House of Commons did not go our way," Martin said. "But the decision of the future of our government will be made by Canadians. They will judge us."

The Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper joined with the New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois parties to bring down the government - prompting the first Christmas and winter campaign in mostly Christian Canada in 26 years. Recent polls have given the Liberals a slight lead over the Conservatives, with the New Democrats in third place.

The same surveys suggest the Bloc Quebecois would sweep the French-speaking province of Quebec, making a majority government unlikely no matter which party wins the most seats.

Harper would become prime minister if the Conservatives receive the most seats in Parliament. He favors tax cuts and opposed Martin's successful bill to legalize same-sex marriage throughout Canada.

Martin has had frosty relations with the White House, standing by the Liberal Party decision not to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He also declined to join in Washington's continental ballistic missile shield, infuriating the Bush administration, has been called weak on terrorism, and was vocal in his opposition of high U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber.

His push to legalize gay marriage throughout Canada also raised the hackles of Republicans south of the 49th parallel, but Martin is widely respected worldwide for Canada's neutrality and open arms toward immigrants and minorities.

Canada's Conservatives, by contrast, are seen as much more receptive to improving relations with Washington, though a majority of Canadians opposed the war in Iraq and the policies of President Bush.

"This is not just the end of a tired, directionless, scandal-plagued government," Harper said after Monday's vote. "It's the start of a bright new future for this country."

The opposition is banking on the public's disgust with a corruption scandal involving the misuse of funds targeted for a national unity program in Quebec.

An initial investigation absolved Martin of wrongdoing, but accused senior Liberal members of taking kickbacks and misspending tens of millions of dollars in public funds.

The government ran into peril this month when it lost the support of the New Democratic Party, whose backing earlier this year helped Martin escape a previous no-confidence motion by a single vote. New Democrat leader Jack Layton said he had not received enough assurances the Liberal Party would fight the increased use of private health care in Canada.

Martin appears prepared to take his chances with a holiday campaign and blamed his opponents for any inconvenience to the predominantly Christian electorate.

The prime minister had promised to call an election within 30 days of the release of a follow-up report on the corruption scandal. The document is expected Feb. 1, which would have meant elections in the first week of April, a time that suits Canadians better than the bitterly cold and busy holiday season.

Although no formal agreement is in place, all the parties are likely to agree to a pause in the campaign around the Christmas and New Year holidays. The campaign is expected to start Tuesday, after Parliament is dissolved.

Grace Skogstad, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said she believes Canadians will pay little attention to the election until after the New Year, so Martin's opponents are unlikely to face a backlash for forcing a holiday campaign.

"It's going to be those last three weeks after Jan. 1 that are going to matter," said Skogstad, who believes the Liberals will win another minority government. "For the Liberals, they are going to try to put all the focus on the economy, which is doing phenomenally well."

Unemployment in Canada is at a 30-year low and Canada runs a budget surplus.

Andrew Stark, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, also maintained that the campaign would not be decided until the final days. Stark, however, believes the Conservatives will win a minority government if Canadians view another Liberal and New Democrat coalition as being unaccountable with tax money.

The last time a Canadian political campaign coincided with the holiday season was in 1979, when Joe Clark's minority Conservative government was toppled just weeks before Christmas. That vote was delayed until February, however, when Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals took back Parliament.

The latest collapse comes 17 months after an election that turned a Liberal majority into a fragile minority on June 28, 2004.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press.
 
#4
Parts of Toronto need a thermonuclear strike, lasting memory of Tor sitting in a briefing for the upcoming ex, windows open as it was redders, WO giving briefing, suddenly hear a distressed 'help, help' as some crack head nicks a birds handbag. Now I know it happens in UK but Ive never seen it, broad daylight as well with a lot of people around. Also, one of the other Canuck units based where we were, Airborne lot who we had the fortune to play at their own wild drinking game and hammer the lot of them.....anyway thats another story, these airborne guys on our last night had beaten a tramp to death outside the armoury, lowered my opinion of them a bit. Loads of trmaps just sprawled out on the pavement, literally in a drunken coma, people just walk round them without batting an eyelid. They operate an open base policy to, so weird to see no fences or barbed wire, gates left open, and waking up looking out the window and seeing a crack head sleeping right their next to it. A great country and stunning city, lovely people, but just a true ghetto in some places, all very strange to a young undertravelled Brit.
 
#5
307 said:
Parts of Toronto need a thermonuclear strike, ........................ stunning city, lovely people, but just a true ghetto in some places, all very strange to a young undertravelled Brit.
There are some areas of TO even the Police won't go willingly.
 
#6
In case any one cares- Turncoat Belinda managed to get re elected, despite changing parties last year in absolutely spectacular fashion. At least now the Conservatives are in, she is relegated to an opposition post (is she a candidate to take over from Martin?) . More detail on CBC.ca

DISTRICT: Newmarket-Aurora

Candidate Party Vote Count Vote Share Elected
Belinda Stronach LIB 27176 46.22% X
Lois Brown CON 22371 38.05%
Ed Chudak NDP 5639 9.59%
Glenn Hubbers GRN 2805 4.77%
Dorian Baxter PCP 729 1.24%
Peter Maloney CAP 79 0.13%
 
#7
Neat how it all works out , isn't it?

64% of the country voted against the Conservatives but they get to be the government [ in minority ] and call the shots 'til next time.. we're becoming as disfunctional as Italy with multi-parties, one issue groups and minority rule changing hands back and forth..Can't wait until the Marijuana Party gets its sh*t together and forms the government.. :lol: :lol:
 
#8
This is the classic complaint from smaller parties in any country that does not use proportional representation-the Greens complaint in Canada at the moment for sure, as despite $1M federal funding for the election they failed to get even one member elected. Now, what was that complaint they made about the leader not being allowed to take part in the televised leaders debate?
 
#10
Rocketeer said:
Neat how it all works out , isn't it?

64% of the country voted against the Conservatives but they get to be the government [ in minority ] and call the shots 'til next time.. we're becoming as disfunctional as Italy with multi-parties, one issue groups and minority rule changing hands back and forth..Can't wait until the Marijuana Party gets its sh*t together and forms the government.. :lol: :lol:
Well, at least you kept some traditions from the old country- TCB was returned to power with almost the same percentage of the vote.

RCSignals said:
What is typical, is how much of Ontario and Quebec still vote Liberal
Liberals got 17.9% of the vote in Quebec, although presumably by some freak of the first past the post system, they got 21 of 75 seats.


At least the new boy gave the idiot living downstairs something to think about on his first day, eh?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4652746.stm

Heard the spoof Liberal attack ad by Rick Mercer on NPR the other day- brilliant.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5168834

"Steven Harper owns a dragon- he keeps it in a shed." :lol:
"The Liberal Party- lets see how badly we can lose this thing." :lol: