Liberals say may stop backing government

Tue Jun 2, 2009 4:52pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main opposition Liberal Party said on Tuesday it was unhappy with the minority Conservative government's record and would likely decide next week whether to continue backing it.

"Canadians don't want an election. I don't want an election, but we have a problem, a serious problem, about this government's competence," Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters.

"We'll make a serene and clear decision (on whether to support the government), probably in the middle of next week."

The Liberals, who have until now kept the Conservatives in power, would need the support of both other opposition parties in the House of Commons to bring down the government, and that backing is by no means guaranteed.

Ignatieff said the government would submit its quarterly report card on its economic performance next week, and the Liberals would decide what to do after seeing that report.

Government officials have signaled that the report card would be delivered in early June but they refused on Tuesday to confirm it would be next week.

One flashpoint could come in a vote or series of votes on routine government financing measures. These votes, automatically confidence measures, will be held before the House adjourns on June 23.

The Liberals are also entitled before the end of the session to move a motion of non-confidence, which also could trigger an election if the other opposition parties back it.   Continued...

<p>Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 13, 2009. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>