Canada opposition works out deal to take power
Canada's opposition parties have reached a deal to form a coalition that would replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government less than two months after its reelection, legislators said on Monday.
The deal, which has yet to be formally signed, was struck by the opposition Liberals and the left-leaning New Democrats, who insist the government must go because it has failed to tackle the effects of the global financial crisis, Reuters reported.
"Mr Harper has clearly lost the confidence of the House of Commons ... a majority of the House of Commons wants to form a new government, which is perfectly constitutional and legitimate," Bob Rae, a Liberal legislator, told reporters after the party's members of Parliament backed the deal at a meeting.
They also agreed that leader Stephane Dion -- who led the party to a big defeat in the Oct 14 election -- would head a coalition government if it were formed.
Given Dion's poor campaign performance, the choice is likely to be highly controversial. He has already agreed to step down next May once his replacement is chosen.
Just as challenging will be the fact that such a coalition government -- which in theory will last for 30 months -- would have to rely on the separatist Bloc Quebecois for support. The Bloc has agreed to back the coalition for 18 months.
Harper accused his rivals of trying to subvert democracy.
"I'm sure all Canadians will really ask themselves whether overturning the results of an election a few weeks later in order to form a coalition that nobody voted for ... and can govern only with the veto of the people who want to break up this country -- do they really believe that is in the interests of this country?" he told Parliament.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice called the proposed coalition "a poisonous and temporarily happy alliance."
Parliament is due to hold a confidence vote on December 8 and if the government loses, the opposition parties could get their chance to govern the country.