Canada’s Trudeau strikes surprise deal to keep power until 2025
Trudeau’s Liberal Party won re-election in September but failed to win a majority of seats in parliament and must rely on the opposition to pass legislation
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday was assured of completing a full four-year term, despite his ruling Liberal Party having a minority in the House of Commons, following a surprise agreement for coordination with the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).
The Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement was announced Tuesday morning in identical statement issued by Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
The two parties are now expected to coordinate on committees and in the House of Commons, where voting together, they will enjoy a comfortable majority of 184 total votes. A majority is 170 in the 338-member House and the Liberals have 159 by themselves.
Trudeau precipitated snap elections last September, just two years after the 2019 general elections, but could not secure the majority he sought. Instead, he had to depend on the NDP to pass legislation.
The NDP, under Singh, has been cooperative in several instances, including the passage of the controversial emergency last month; an extreme measure implemented to tackle a protest by truckers against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Trudeau said the agreement was about “focusing on what we agree on, instead of what we disagree on”.
It also means the government can now “function with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets and get things done for Canadians”, he said.
The agreement does not mean the two parties are forming a coalition. Instead, the NDP is giving the Liberals outside support.
“In these highly uncertain and difficult times, Canadians expect us to come together and get to work to help make their lives better. The Liberal Party of Canada and Canada’s New Democratic Party have agreed to improve the way we approach politics over the next three years for the benefit of Canadians,” the statements issued by Trudeau and Singh said.
The agreement goes into effect immediately. It will remain in place till June 2025, “allowing four budgets to be presented by the government during this time”.
“To ensure coordination on this arrangement, both Parties commit to a guiding principle of ‘no surprises’,” it said.
“The NDP would not move a vote of non-confidence, nor vote for a non-confidence motion during the term of the arrangement,” the statement also said.
The agreement formalises a relationship, becoming increasingly evident under Singh’s leadership, where the NDP often bailed Trudeau out during crucial voting. It drew criticism from the principal opposition Conservatives, and its interim leader Candice Bergen described the arrangement as a “power grab” by Trudeau.
The details were discussed with MPs of the two parties last evening and finalised despite objections from several members.