Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tories Court Bloc and NDP in bid to hold onto power

This is from CTV.

Hmm...seems to me that not long ago the Conservatives were making loud noises about the Liberals joining with the separatists and socialists. If there is a choice between ideological consistency and power, power always wins it seems. The NDP too appears inconsistent in that up until now the Conservatives are not to be trusted. I guess if they will throw a few crumbs to the NDP or Bloc that makes them trustworthy!

Tories court Bloc and NDP in bid to hold onto power
Updated Wed. Apr. 29 2009 10:09 PM ET News Staff
Tory insiders say the party is hatching a survival plan to keep the surging Liberals at bay and delay any potential election long enough to enjoy the international limelight at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
A major plank of the plan would see the Tories delay next year's budget and deliver it in late March -- two months later than when the budget was handed down in 2009.
That would deprive the Grits of an important confidence vote before the Olympic flame arrives in Vancouver next February, at which point the Conservatives hope the economy will have turned around.
Over the past months, the recession has provided much grist for the Grit mill, and allowed the official opposition to attack the government as insensitive and incompetent.
"We intend to be there (for the Olympics)," one senior Tory told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
A second part of the plan will see the Tories launch a series of attack ads this summer focusing on the Liberal's popular new chief, Michael Ignatieff.
However, the Tories will need the NDP and the Bloc to play ball if they hope to stave off a non-confidence vote before the 2010 Winter Games, to be held from Feb. 12 to 28.
So far, it appears the NDP and the Bloc are willing to back up the Tories -- at a price.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has been pushing for a tax-harmonization deal with Ottawa and wants improvements to the EI system. It's expected that Duceppe will lay out his formal demands on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Parliament witnessed a bizarre move when the Conservatives voted in favour of a Bloc motion that transfers $2.6 billion to Quebec and allows the province to administer its own sales tax.
Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton appears open to the idea of working with the Tories. However, his support is contingent on the condition that Ottawa deliver EI reform, provide stricter credit card regulations and increase pension protection.
For his part, Duceppe likely has an interest in holding off an election as a new poll puts the Liberals ahead of the Bloc in Quebec for the first time in five years.
The La Presse/CROP poll put the Liberals at 37 per cent in the province, followed by 31 per cent for the Bloc.
The Conservatives were way back at 15 per cent and the NDP was at 12 per cent.
Political commentator and former Liberal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre said that Ignatieff appears to have a lot of "goodwill" among Quebecers, but the party is still lacking in their organizational capacities.
"But goodwill is not enough to get those votes in the ballot box," he told CTV's Power Play.
Ignatieff could win big in the province if he pursues policies that will play well in Quebec and can build a new team of supporters, Lapierre added.
"Right now, he has nothing on the ground. He has old soldiers that are tired and he's got to recruit a new team."
On the surface, both the NDP and the Grits didn't appear to be running to support the Tories.
When asked about the poll, Duceppe said he will continue to consider every issue surrounding confidence votes as they happen.
"I don't comment on polls. I win elections," Duceppe quipped.
And Layton said he has yet to hear from the Tories about his proposals for EI, pensions and credit cards.
"We're going to keep trying to push them to act," Layton said Wednesday as he exited a caucus meeting.
"So far, lethargy and denial seems to be the dominant attitude."
With files from The Canadian Press

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