Trudeau government survives confidence vote

trudeau

The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal minority has survived a confidence vote by securing the backing needed to avoid plunging the country into a snap pandemic election.

After a day of nail-biting tension and accusations of partisan brinkmanship, the New Democrats and Green MPs sided with the Liberals to defeat a motion to create a new committee to probe alleged Liberal corruption.

The final vote result was 146 for, and 180 against.

Backing the Liberals in this key test of their power means that the push from the Conservatives, supported by the Bloc Quebecois, has failed. MPs will be going back to the drawing board on how to conduct additional scrutiny into the government’s COVID-19 spending, allegations of conflicts of interest, and the WE Charity controversy. 

With just over an hour to go before the key confidence vote took place, Paul confirmed that the Green Party’s three MPs would vote against the motion, but she sought to make clear her caucus’ move should not be read to be an endorsement of either the government or the other opposition parties. 

“This kind of behaviour should not be rewarded,” Green Party Leader Annamie Paul told CTVNews.ca. “We have to be the ones who say what is obvious to everyone, which is that second wave of a pandemic is not the time to be holding an election,” she said. 

Because the Liberals declared the vote to create this committee a matter of confidence, if it had been successful it could have triggered an election call, on the one-year anniversary of the last federal election that saw the Liberals reduced to a minority.

Trudeau framed the vote as a decision for the opposition parties to make: whether to back up their statements of non-confidence and force an election or not. However, the accusation of dangerous partisanship had been levelled right back at the Liberals for appearing willing to go to the polls over a push for more accountability.

Ahead of the vote, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his caucus would “not give prime minister Trudeau the election he’s looking for.” 

The Liberals coming out on top with this vote is a demonstration that enough MPs have confidence in the Liberals continuing to govern amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Parliament continuing to function. 

In minority Parliaments, governments stay in power so long as they maintain the confidence of the House of Commons. That confidence is often tested several times a year with votes on budgets and other monetary matters, but governments can also designate other key votes on important issues as matters of confidence. 

All sides said they don’t want an election right now, given new COVID-19 cases climbing and some parties still trying to drum up funds after the last race ended just 365 days ago. 

Defeating the Conservative motion means that Trudeau doesn’t have to make the trip to Rideau Hall to speak with Gov. Gen. Julie Payette about the House of Commons losing confidence in his leadership, and the prospect of campaign tours hitting the road within days, is off the table for now. 

-- with files from CTV News --