After playing chicken the Conservatives now want to play more games. They want to entice the Liberals into supporting their economic update right wing agenda. It may not work. The opposition is drafting a non-confidence motion. When it passes they will ask the governor general leave to form a coalition government involving the NDP and Liberals.
Harper must hope that the Liberals will lose their nerve after the party funding issue has been neutralised. However, if the Liberals cave in they will look to be their old selves and in effect verify exactly what the Conservatives claim, that the Liberal opposition is solely about their losing funding! Harper may be right but certainly he is risking defeat without any good reason and giving the lie to the idea that he is now a team player interested in governing by consensus.
Conservatives drop party-funding cuts from key motion
Last Updated: Friday, November 28, 2008 1:18 PM ET
The government won't include a controversial proposal to end public subsidies of political parties in an upcoming confidence vote on the fall fiscal update, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Friday.
Kory Teneycke told CBC News that only tax measures will be part of the ways and means motion to be voted on by MPs on Monday.
"The portion dealing with political subsidies … will be part of a later bill," said Teneycke. "It will not be part of the ways and means on Monday."
It's a sharp reversal for the minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
When the fiscal update was delivered on Thursday, government officials and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the party financing measures would be considered matters of confidence.
Federal parties currently receive $1.95 for every vote they receive in a federal election, provided they win at least two per cent of the nationwide popular vote. The annual subsidy is used to pay for staff and expenses.
Cutting the subsidies would effectively gut the opposition parties, who are far more dependent on them than the Conservative party.
The Liberals and New Democrats quickly rejected the proposal and launched a series of discussions about forming a potential coalition government if the confidence motion fails to pass and the government is defeated. Former prime minister Jean Chrétien and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent are steering the talks, according to reports.
Teneycke said opposition parties are not acting out of concern for the economy, but because they're worried about losing the subsidies.
"It's surprising the opposition parties would act in such an undemocratic fashion," he said.
Teneycke said the government still supports cutting the subsidies during this economic downturn and will introduce them at a later date.
"The prime minister believes political parties need to do their share," he saidWith files from the Canadian Press