The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

January 28, 2009

Conservatives on probation

January 28, 2009  Ignatieff   said he wouldn’t “exclude” the possibility of forming a coalition in the future if needed.

Liberals put Harper Conservatives on probation

Budget amendment will require first progress report in 60 days

OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff today announced he will require the Conservative government to accept mandatory reporting requirements in order for the budget to be adopted. The first comprehensive report on progress on the economy will be required by March 26, 2009.

“The budget introduced yesterday is far from perfect. It does not fix the employment insurance system for thousands of workers who have lost their jobs in the past several weeks. It still threatens pay equity for women. It breaks their promise to every province from only two years ago on equalization,” said Mr. Ignatieff.

“To say that action is long overdue is an understatement. Canadians deserve action. I believe it is in the best interests of Canadians that parliamentarians get to work on the economy, so I will move to amend the budget and include a requirement that the Government report back to the House of Commons repeatedly, with the first report being required within 60 days on their progress. Mr. Harper must accept these accountability measures or his Government will fall.”

“We’re in this position because of choices made by a government that has systematically mismanaged our public finances for the last three years,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “For Canadians, this crisis isn’t about structural deficits or loan guarantees or the business cycle. It’s about the nest egg they’ve saved up over their entire working lives, only to see it cut in half overnight. It’s about worrying about how they’ll pay for their kids’ education, or how they’ll put food on the table for their families. The country needs stability in this time of economic difficulty and that is why I am taking this action.”

“This government’s mismanagement of the economic crisis and failure to act has rightfully given Parliament – and Canadians – a reason to question the credibility of this government on economic matters,” added Mr. Ignatieff. “We are ready to act in the national interest, as the gravity of this economic crisis demands. I hope Mr. Harper is prepared to do the same.” 

 
To read the full text of Mr. Ignatieff’s statement, click here.

“OTTAWA – The Conservatives are expected to support a Liberal amendment that would require the government to provide regular updates on the implementation and cost of the budget, Canwest News has learned. “The budget already required reporting, so we see no reason to oppose this,” a government official close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Canwest News on Wednesday.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s declared support for the minority Conservative government’s budget earlier in the day, but said his party would propose an amendment requiring the budget-monitoring reports.

That prompted New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe to accuse Ignatieff of “propping up” Harper. They declared the death of the opposition coalition deal reached early last month.

A senior minister also appeared agreeable to Ignatieff’s proposal that the government table three reports in Parliament on the budget’s implementation and cost – one in March, one in June and one in December. “It sounds like a responsible approach,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney 

The reports would require the government to provide a month-to-month accounting of how much infrastructure project money has flowed to cities, how many unemployed have signed on to training programs and other details. If the Liberals aren’t satisfied with the government’s progress reports, they reserve the right to defeat the government, Ignatieff vowed.

“We are putting this government on probation,” he said. “We will be watching them like hawks to make sure the investments Canadians need actually reach them”

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