Canada's government survives, safe till November

Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:26pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's minority Conservative government got enough opposition support in Parliament on Friday to stay in power at least until November.

Budget measures easily passed the House of Commons as expected, with the support of the official opposition Liberal Party. They were confidence measures that would have triggered Canada's fourth election in five years if they had failed.

Parliament adjourned until September 14, and the next opportunity for the opposition to try to bring the government down will be at the end of September or early in October. If the government falls then, an election could be held on November 9 or 16.

The Liberals, the only other party besides the Conservatives to have governed Canada, agreed to continue backing the government on the condition that negotiations be held between the two parties during the summer on ways to improve eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance.

An Ekos poll released on Thursday showed the Liberals winning an election if one had been held during the June 10-16 polling period, with 123 of the 308 seats in the House, and with the Conservatives reduced to 111 from their current 143.

However, the poll also showed Liberal support dropping early this week, when the party threatened to bring the government down. In any case, Ekos said the results were so close that it would have been risky for either of the two leading parties to head into an election.

The Ekos survey had the separatist Bloc Quebecois taking 44 seats and the left-leaning New Democrats taking 30.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 19, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>