TORONTO — Canadian opposition parties toppled Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in a no-confidence vote yesterday, triggering the country’s fourth election in seven years.
The opposition parties held the Conservative government in contempt of Parliament in a 156-145 vote for failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts, and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets.
Opinion polls expect Harper’s Conservative Party to win reelection but not a majority, meaning he probably will continue to govern with a minority in Parliament, dependent on opposition votes to stay afloat.
But in the latest twist, there is a chance the left-of-center parties might join forces in a coalition. The election is expected to take place May 2.
The opposition tried this once before, after Harper won minority reelection in 2008. But before he could be defeated in a no-confidence vote, Harper shut down Parliament for three months and whipped up public opposition against the coalition. The Conservatives accused the Liberals of treason for uniting with the Bloc Quebecois, which seeks independence for French-speaking of Quebec.
Harper’s government is once again trying to marshal public sentiment against a possible coalition government. His underlings attacked the opposition Thursday with accusations it will try to form a coalition if another minority Conservative is the result of the election.
The Conservatives noted that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff didn’t rule out forming a coalition government with the other opposition parties when he was asked about it on Wednesday.