Canada budget passes, keeping minority govt alive

Tue Mar 4, 2008 5:47pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian budget passed the House of Commons on Tuesday, keeping the minority Conservative government alive.

It was the government's third budget since it was elected in January 2006. If it had failed, it would have triggered an election, but the main opposition Liberals decided not to topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper over it.

Only a few Liberals showed up to vote, joining the smaller opposition parties in opposing the budget but not in enough numbers to defeat it.

The budget introduces new tax-free savings accounts and extends an accelerated write-off of capital investment but the government said it was unable to provide few other major tax or expenditure initiatives because of the economic slowdown.

The budget still must pass the Senate, but that unelected chamber traditionally gives its approval to budgets.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 4, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>