Canada's New Democrats to vote against budget

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:58pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's opposition New Democratic Party said on Tuesday it would vote against the minority Conservative government's budget, a position that was widely expected.

"This budget fails to restore confidence in (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper's ability to protect the vulnerable in Canada," said NDP leader Jack Layton. "In today's budget, he prioritized $60 billion in corporate tax cuts and only $1.15 billion for the unemployed."

The Conservatives will likely need the support of the main opposition Liberals to pass the budget and remain in power. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff will reveal on Wednesday whether he intends to back the budget.

Layton, asked if Ignatieff should vote against it, said: "Absolutely. There's a better way forward."

The NDP leader was referring to the idea of an opposition coalition to replace the government. The Liberals agreed last month with the New Democrats and the separatist Bloc Quebecois to topple the government and install a coalition, but the Liberals have since backed away from the idea.

Ignatieff was planning a reaction at 5:15 p.m. (2215 GMT) but a spokesman said he would not announce his decision on how the Liberals would vote.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Randall Palmer)