Liberal and NDP officials ponder potential deal –

Stephen Maher: Following a meeting between Singh and Trudeau, officials from both parties have considered a deal to avoid confidence votes for three years.

High-ranking liberals and New Democrats are toying with the idea of ​​reaching a deal that allows the government to go three years without falling into a vote of confidence.

Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh met secretly to discuss the upcoming parliamentary session. Officials would not say they discussed a deal that would cause the NDP to agree ahead of time to support the government through three budgets, but sources say the idea is being discussed at higher levels within both sides, although there has been no talks.

The idea is not to establish a coalition, with NDP ministers in the cabinet, but rather an agreement like the one reached in Ontario in 1985, when then-NDP leader Bob Rae agreed to vote with the Liberals under David Peterson. while working on an agreement. on the agenda for two years. Some people in both parties say such a three-year deal could take the regular pressure off votes of confidence and allow the parties to work on shared priorities.

However, there is likely to be pressure within both parties to reject such an arrangement, which would pose political risks for both parties. One issue that complicates the situation is the decision of the Liberals, who announced Friday night, that they intend to appeal an order of the Canadian Court of Human Rights to compensate indigenous children who were mistreated by the child welfare system, but also suspend the litigation and try to negotiate a resolution. .

The political fallout from that announcement, which is happening as I write, could have an impact on the possibility of a supply agreement between the two parties.

A senior NDP source, speaking before the decision was published, said the NDP was pushing for liberals to let the decision stand. A high-ranking liberal source confirmed that Singh and Trudeau discussed it at their meeting and that Singh was pushing for a resolution.

The NDP official, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, said Trudeau and Singh did not actually discuss a possible deal, but said the new Democrats are discussing the possibility internally.

A liberal source, speaking in the same terms, said that liberals are also considering the possibility.

A government official, who spoke on the condition that his name not be used, said there is no deal, but the Prime Minister is looking for ways to make Parliament work. make Parliament a productive place and want to find, from the beginning, to identify areas of common ground and, of course, the NDP because there are many things on which we agree ”.

One downside for Singh would be that he might not necessarily be able to attack Trudeau as often as he did during the September election campaign in the next campaign if the Liberals have been relying on his party for votes for three years. Members of the NDP can point to the bitter recent experience of British Liberal Democrats, who suffered at the polls after forming a coalition government with the Conservatives.

But NDP supporters of a deal could point to the successful experience of Rae’s new Democrats in Ontario, which ended with Rae becoming prime minister in subsequent elections.

However, MPs from all parties would be relieved to be able to focus on parliamentary work without the regular possibility of votes of confidence triggering snap elections, what Rae called the “daily blackmail bullshit.”

Congressman Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, an outspoken and left-wing Toronto liberal, said in an interview Friday that he has been pushing for a deal with the NDP. “When I talk to people who are more influential than me, I say that we should work on an agreement with the NDP,” he said. “It’s an obvious thing.” Erskine-Smith believes that the two parties agree that it would be smart to work together.

“There are so many shared priorities, from climate action to promoting reconciliation, addressing affordable housing, addressing the opioid crisis, PharmaCare, long-term care, child care and so on, that we should establish an agreement for stability. in parliament, and to ensure that we deliver on our shared priorities for the next, hopefully, up to three years. “

However, some business-oriented liberals are already complaining about the cabinet’s left tilt announced this week.

An agreement between the parties would be unprecedented. In 2008 there were negotiations behind the scenes that led to the coalition agreement between Liberals, New Democrats and the Québec bloc. The three party leaders announced an agreement to work together to overthrow Stephen Harper and make Stephane Dion prime minister, but Harper carried over Parliament and the coalition fell apart before having to meet with the House.

If the NDP, with 25 deputies, agrees to support the government, the Liberals, who have 159 deputies, together would have 184 deputies, more than enough to avoid defeat in the Commons.

Such a deal would not necessarily be terrible for the Conservatives, who might be happy to know that they won’t have to go through another election anytime soon, but it could deflate the Québec bloc, since the Liberals would not need to negotiate with them. for the legislation to be passed.

1 thought on “Liberal and NDP officials ponder potential deal –”

  1. “Deputies”, “Congressman”. Is this written in Canada by anyone even remotely aware of Canada’s Parliamentary system and proper titles for elected members?


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