Canadian government toppled, country headed for fresh polls

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto: Opposition parties joined forces to topple the Canadian government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday through a no-confidence motion. With the ouster of the minority government of the Conservative Party, Canadians will be heading to the polling booths for the fourth time in seven years.

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Prime Minister Harper, whose government is credited with steering Canada’s economy successfully amidst the global meltdown, formed the minority government in 2009. It was his second consecutive minority government since 2006.

Recent surveys have put his Conservative Party ahead of the main opposition Liberal Party.

The non-confidence motion was triggered by a report this week by the opposition-dominated procedure and House affairs committee which held that the Conservative government committed contempt of parliament for failing to release information related to the costs of crime legislation and the purchase of stealth fighter jets.

As the no-trust motion came for voting Friday morning, all 156 opposition MPs belonging to the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois voted for it.

The next elections should be held after six weeks to elect the country’s 41st parliament.

Blaming main opposition Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff for forcing another election on Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Unfortunately, Mr. Ignatieff and his coalition partners in the NDP and Bloc Quebecois made abundantly clear that they had already decided they wanted an election instead, Canada’s fourth election in seven years, an election Canadians had told them clearly that they did not want.

“Thus the vote today, which obviously disappoints me, and will, I suspect, disappoint most Canadians.”

In the outgoing House of Commons, there were nine MPs of Indian origin.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])