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NDP, Liberals reach deal to topple minority Tory government

CBC News

The NDP and Liberals have reached a deal to topple the minority Conservative government and take power themselves in a coalition, CBC News has learned.

A deal has been negotiated between NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion that would see them form a coalition government for two and a half years, the CBC’s Keith Boag reported, citing sources.

The NDP would be invited into cabinet and get 25 per cent of seats, Boag said, adding that the party wouldn’t get the position of the finance chair or the deputy prime minister’s post.

“That’s the big step forward tonight,” Boag reported.

The Bloc Québécois wouldn’t be a part of the coalition, but would have to support it, he said.

“The most difficult question is who’ll be the leader,” Boag said, adding that Dion, who negotiated the deal, believes he has the right to be prime minister.

First thought: This is a huge win for the NDP. With a quarter of the seats in cabinet, they would gain instant legitimacy as potential contenders for power, of a kind they have never had before. Indeed, just negotiating the deal is a win, even if they never get to put it into effect.

The Liberals have just pulled their chief rival on the left in from the margins of irrelevancy to a serious alternative, at the same time allowing themselves to be pulled sharply to the left, in public perception if nothing else. They may live to regret this. Worse, they may not.

Second thought: What does it mean to say the Bloc “would have to support” the deal. Sez who? How would this be enforced?

Third thought: Prime Minister Dion.

UPDATE: On the other hand there’s this:

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff is unlikely to support the coalition deal being negotiated by lame duck leader Stéphane Dion – a decision that would doom the opposition parties attempt to bring down the government next week in a vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons.

And this:

Coalition deal may unravel

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