The House of Commons has approved the Conservative government’s supplementary spending estimates in a bill that had threatened to topple PM Stephen Harper’s minority government. As expected, Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats voted against the bill, which passed comfortably, 214-82.
Earlier this week intrepid Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff demanded that the Conservative government present him with a plan to reform Employment Insurance, but started backing away almost immediately. A few days later, the chief Grit agreed to a working group that would study the problem over the summer and recommend ways to boost employment insurance benefits.
The PM and Mr. Ignatieff have each allowed the other to save face so that a summer election could be avoided—a sensible solution to the sort of stand-off we can expect from a minority government. Neither leader’s election prospects were particularly bright and either could have worsened the position of his respective party.
This is the sort of reasonable behaviour we should expect more of from the leaders of the two main parties. I am pleased that they have shown they can work together in a minority situation without getting involved with the increasingly irrelevant leader of the New Democrats, Jack Layton, and the recalcitrant separatist, Gilles Duceppe.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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