Canada’s opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh threatened on Wednesday to vote against minority government in the throne speech unless Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abided by what called “addressing some of his political concerns”.
The Liberals lost their parliamentary majority in last month’s elections, and they must now try to govern with the help of other parties. The NDP is the closest-minded to liberals on many issues.
“We are completely open to vote against the throne speech if it does not include some priorities that we know Canadians need” – Jagmeet Singh
Trudeau is due to unveil his plans before the House of Commons in the so-called “throne speech”, which is followed by a vote of confidence, on December 5.
“We are completely open to vote against the throne speech if it does not include some priorities that we know Canadians need”, Singh told reporters, adding that he does not draw any lines in the sand.
Singh’s priorities include developing a national plan to pay for prescription drugs, working on climate change, and concrete efforts to improve relations between indigenous peoples and the government.
Trudeau promised similar measures during his campaign. Liberals are 13 seats away from the majority in the 338-member House of Commons, while the New Democratic Party has 24 seats.
The leader of the Quebec bloc, Yves-Francois Blanchet, said after meeting with the prime minister earlier Wednesday that Trudeau would seek to avoid major confrontations with other parties in the throne speech. “I think the government will avoid the worst possible areas of conflict”, he said after what he called a 45-minute friendly conversation with Trudeau.
Blanchet said the bloc, which seeks independence for the French-speaking province of Quebec and has 32 seats, could cooperate with liberals in areas such as fighting climate change and improving the lives of elderly people.