NDP suggests could keep government in power

Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:45pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's opposition New Democrats on Wednesday dropped the strongest hint yet that they would keep the minority Conservative government in power if Parliament votes on a non-confidence motion next month.

The left-leaning New Democratic Party, which has been among the Conservatives sternest critics, welcomed a promise by the government this week to introduce legislation to boost payments to the unemployed.

The Liberals, the biggest opposition party, say they will bring the government down as soon as possible on the grounds it is mismanaging the economic crisis.

If all three opposition parties vote in favor of the non-confidence motion, the government will fall and Canada will face its second election in a year and its fourth in just over five years.

Senior NDP legislator Thomas Mulcair said the party would study the draft legislation outlining the jobless benefits to see if it contains everything the government said it did.

"If that is indeed the case, then, of course, we will make sure that what we fought so hard to get -- which is more help for the unemployed -- will flow through as quickly as possible," he told reporters.

Parliament would not hold a final vote on the jobless benefits bill until well after the proposed Liberal non-confidence motion -- suggesting the New Democrats would decide next month to keep the Conservatives in power in the interim.

Mulcair said the government had shown movement on the jobless benefits issue but said his party would carefully study the bill: "We're not going to buy a pig in a poke."   Continued...

<p>A view of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 13, 2009. Parliamentarians will return from their summer break on September 14. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>