Canada’s ruling Liberals have reached a deal with a left-leaning opposition party to prop up their minority government until 2025, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, promising to advance a range of issues, including a dental care programme for low-income families.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the “supply-and-confidence” agreement with the New Democratic Party (NDP) would bring “stability” to Canadian politics after a series of snap elections in recent years.
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The deal gives the Liberal Party government a total of 184 votes in the 338-seat House of Commons – a majority is 170 seats – and the ability to stay in power for the full, four-year term, with the NDP agreeing to back it on budgets and confidence votes.
“What this means is that during this uncertain time, the government can function with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets, and get things done for Canadians,” Trudeau said.
“Both parties have identified key policy areas where we share similar objectives and we’ve agreed to work together to put the needs and interests of Canadians first.”
In a statement, the NDP outlined key policies the parties have agreed to advance as part of the agreement, including a dental care programme for low-income Canadians and a universal prescription-drug coverage programme.
They also pledged to continue fighting the climate crisis and phase out public financing of the fossil-fuel sector.
“We’re making sure people get help to get their teeth fixed, to get the medication they need,” Jagmeet Singh, the NDP leader, told reporters on Tuesday morning.
“And we’re not going to let the Liberal government off the hook. We’re going to continue to fight hard for people and continue to make sure we hold them to account to deliver these things that people need,” he said.
The NDP has backed the Liberals in key votes since 2019, as the ruling party failed to gain a majority of seats in Parliament in two successive federal elections, the latest of which was held in September.
While the so-called “supply-and-confidence agreement” is not unheard of in Canadian politics, it is unprecedented to have such a deal in writing at the federal level.
The opposition Conservative Party slammed the agreement, saying in a statement on Monday that it was “a callous attempt by Trudeau to hold on to power”.
“Canadians did not vote for an NDP government. This is little more than backdoor socialism. Trudeau is truly polarising politics, which is what he likes,” said interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also called the deal a “false majority” that betrayed last year’s vote.