The minority Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could be defeated in the House of Commons on Friday.
The government tabled its budget this week. It has been long expected that both the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois would vote against it. Yesterday the New Democrats, not finding enough “sweeteners” in the budget, announced that they also will vote against.
The immediate trigger for an election, however, would be a motion by the Liberals that the government has lost the confidence of parliament on account of having been ruled “in contempt” for failing to provide the House with information on some of its policy costings.
If there is an election, it will likely be in early May, and it will be the county’s fourth in about seven years. The Conservatives, who have been leading in the polls but not usually sufficient for a majority of seats, are counting on their budget to have enough in it to please Canadian voters even if it did not please any opposition parties. In fact, it appears that was precisely the government’s strategy: send a budget the opposition would “have to” reject, and have an election.
If Harper falls just short of a majority, he is likely safe for another few years as head of the government. But what if he falls well short again? Could talk of a coalition, like the aborted one after the last election, be revived?