(Ottawa) Both the Conservatives and the Bloc have difficulty believing in a scenario where the New Democratic Party (NDP) would abandon its agreement with the Liberals to follow up on a resolution adopted unanimously at the New Democratic convention.
The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, on Monday compared the support and confidence agreement to a “lifeline” to which the New Democrats are clinging as if in the midst of a sinking of the Titanic.
“This agreement is fundamentally illegitimate, does not correspond to the will of the voters, but it is the lifeline of the NDP, so I have a hard time imagining the NDP falling to the bottom of the table. Titanic [et] would say “No, no, no! I don’t want a lifeline!” », imagined Mr. Blanchet in the press scrum.
For his metaphor, he used the famous cinematographic and historical reference to the sinking of the Titanicwhich occurred after the ship hit an iceberg.
The Bloc leader was called upon to react to the unanimous adoption, by New Democratic delegates, of a resolution evoking a possible withdrawal of the New Democrats from the support and confidence agreement linking them to the Liberals.
The wording of the resolution specifies that it is not binding on the NDP caucus, but MP and party health critic Don Davies said Jagmeet Singh’s troops were “unanimously” in favor of favor of such a withdrawal.
According to the text adopted during the NDP congress over the weekend, the delegates argue that the breakdown of the agreement should occur in the scenario where the bill that the Liberals promised to table by the end of the year on prescription drug insurance does not “commit [pas] clearly towards a program […] universal, complete and entirely public.
Asked whether he took the New Democrat threat with a grain of salt, Mr. Blanchet replied that he “thinks there will be serious noise if the insurance [médicaments] is not in the next Liberal budget.
“The Liberals will make the decision on this,” he said.
Even there, Mr. Blanchet strongly doubts that the Liberals have any desire to abandon the agreement with the NDP. “I have the impression that they will try to find common ground for a long time because neither of them is doing particularly well in voting intentions,” he maintained.
Conservative Kevin Waugh expressed the same skepticism about the possibility of the NDP withdrawing from the agreement, expressing himself categorically by saying “it’s not true!” it’s wrong ! », in the press scrum.
His colleague Gérard Deltell believes that the NPD congress showed a “torn” party. “These people never got elected by saying “yes, yes, we are going to stand hand in hand with the Liberals, then we are going to swallow all the snakes that are necessary for them to stay in power”,” he said about the New Democratic MPs.
The NDP’s support and confidence agreement with the Liberals is designed to ensure that they, in a minority government situation, can remain in power until 2025.
In exchange, the Liberals promise to accomplish a series of things, such as launching a drug insurance program.
Faced with criticism that the agreement is “illegitimate” and contrary to the will of the electorate, the New Democrats maintain that the agreement made it possible to seek gains for people, such as assistance with access to dental care.
Asked whether, in this vein, the NDP could have a price to pay if it withdrew from the agreement, Mr. Davies argued that “sometimes you have to stand up on questions of principle.”
Health Minister Mark Holland said he was hopeful that collaboration with the NDP on the drug insurance project would continue.
“I think there are difficult conversations happening not only with the New Democrats as partners in the support and confidence agreement, but with all parliamentarians, stakeholders, about what in the art of the possible,” he concluded.
According to him, the recommended roadmap must take into account the “difficult tax situation”.
With Michel Saba, The Canadian Press