Government seen surviving confidence test

Wed May 7, 2008 5:35pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's minority Conservative government will face a confidence test in coming days but will not be toppled, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Stephane Dion, said on Wednesday.

The leftist New Democratic Party, the smallest of the opposition parties in the House of Commons, will kick off debate on Thursday on a motion expressing a loss of confidence in the government over its "unbalanced economic agenda."

If the motion is passed, the government will fall. But that is unlikely to happen as Dion's Liberals, the largest of the opposition parties, have enough votes to keep the Conservatives in office.

Dion told reporters he would not trigger an election on the New Democrats motion.

The Liberals trail the Conservatives in most polls and have been unwilling to chance an election. The Conservative won power in January 2006 and a new vote is scheduled to be held in October 2009 if the government is not defeated beforehand.

The vote on the New Democrats' motion will take place on Monday.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)