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Harper likely to survive Friday’s non-confidence vote, but could fall week of September 28

The Canwest News Service reports that, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper will face his first confidence vote of the fall political season Friday — but his government has a reasonable chance of surviving with the support of as many as two of the three opposition parties.”

“The Liberals said they would do what leader Michael Ignatieff vowed to do last month and vote to bring the government down on the first opportunity — which should come Friday afternoon on a budget-related ways and means motion (which spells out some of the regulatory and legislative details for some measures announced in the budget, such as the home renovation tax credit and drought and flood relief).”

“The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois, however, are keeping their options open, saying they’ll decide later this week how they will vote. If any one party supports the government on Friday, it will survive.”

“On Monday, the government announced it would change EI rules to allow thousands of workers to extend their benefits by up to 20 weeks, a measure aimed at helping workers who, after a long period of steady employment, found themselves out of work earlier this year as the recession hit. Many of those workers are in the auto, manufacturing and forestry sectors. Although the NDP, like the other opposition parties, wants the government to go farther with EI reforms, the party seems prepared to endorse the Conservative proposal.”

“The EI legislation will be tabled formally on Wednesday. Although that legislation is not a confidence vote, the NDP’s support for the government on Friday’s ways and means motion is tied to their acceptance of that EI legislation.”

“The Bloc Quebecois, on the other hand, say that while it has no confidence in the government’s overall program, its litmus test has always been whether they believe a particular measure is good for Quebec. And, on this point, the BQ seems prepared to conclude that the home renovation tax credit and the other measures in the ways and means motion are just as popular with Quebecers as they are in other provinces.”

“If the government makes it through this week, it will have ensured it survival at least until early October. The next checkpoint will be motion of non-confidence that the Liberals likely will introduce during the week of Sept. 28.”

A non-confidence vote would again place the likely election date on November 9 or 16.

The full article is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Parliament+hinges+Friday+confidence+vote/1992125/story.html.