Justin Trudeau strikes power-sharing deal with leftwing New Democrats | Canada

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has struck a deal with a political rival that would keep in him power until 2025. In exchange for support from the New Democratic party on key votes, Trudeau’s Liberals have pledged progress on national pharmaceutical and dental care programs.

“With so much instability around us, Canadians need stability,” said the prime minister as he announced the deal with the NDP on Tuesday morning.

Trudeau said “nobody benefits” when parliament “doesn’t work properly”, and that his Liberals would look for common goals with the NDP and other opposition parties.

Trudeau was elected to a third term in September, but commands only a minority of seats in parliament, meaning he requires the support of other parties to government. Minority governments have a relatively short lifespan and governing parties attempt to legislate with the ever-present fear of a looming election.

Under a confidence and supply agreement, an opposition parties agree not to vote to defeat the government for a period of time. With Tuesday’s announcement, the NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, and his party will support Trudeau’s government on confidence votes like the federal budget. The leftwing NDP has backed Trudeau’s Liberals in key votes since 2019.

Singh’s party underperformed expectations in the previous election, adding only one seat. While no New Democrats will be given cabinet seats, the agreement gives the party, which placed fourth in the election, outsized influence in shaping federal policy.

In addition to pushing pharmacare and dental care for low-income Canadians, Trudeau said his government will tax banks whose profits surged during the pandemic. He also said Indigenous rights and climate change preferences.

The deal was sharply criticized by the interim Conservative leader, Candice Bergen, who called the agreement “a callous attempt by Trudeau to hold on to power”.

“This is an NDP-Liberal attempt at government by blackmail. Nation-building is replaced by vote-buying; secret deal-making over parliamentary debate; and opportunism over accountability,” Bergen said in a statement late on Monday evening after media reports of an impending deal. “If this NDP-Liberal coalition stands, Canada is in for a very rough ride.”

While parties often support each other during minority governments, formal confidence and supply agreements are relatively rare in federal politics. At the provincial and territorial level, three governments have entered into similar agreements since 2017. The most prominent deal, between the British Columbia NDP government and the Green party, lasted three years.

Leave a Comment