Liberals say cooperation, Conservatives say victory

PM, Ignatieff reach tentative agreement on EI reform

It looks like the Conservative government will survive the summer after all. After a two hour meeting at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s residence on Tuesday night—followed by another talk Wednesday morning—Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff decided not to vote against the government on Friday, as he originally threatened to do. It seems as through Harper and Ignatieff have reached a truce—on the issue of employment insurance and other Liberal issues. Their pact includes a plan to set up a blue ribbon panel—half of whose members are to be appointment by the Liberals—to examine potential employment insurance reforms.

Ignatieff says the agreement holds the government to account and paves the way for better bipartisan cooperation: “We have found a way to make progress for Canadians on EI and we’ve found a way to make this government accountable and I feel that this is a good day for our country.” But an internal memo circulated within Tory ranks suggests that the Prime Minister’s Office is claiming victory over Ignatieff. “The Liberals have reversed themselves on EI reform (their 360-hour demand has been abandoned) and withdrawn the threat to force an unnecessary summer election,” the memo says.

Winnipeg Free Press

Toronto Star

The Canadian Press

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