Layton: PM must 'reach out' to avoid election

No 'backroom' deals to prevent fall of minority Conservative government, Harper vows

Last Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2009 | 6:31 PM ET


Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to "reach out" to the NDP in Parliament to avoid the fall of his minority government and a fourth election in five years, New Democrat Leader Jack Layton said Thursday.

NDP Leader Jack Layton says the ball is in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's court to prevent his minority Conservative government from being defeated in the House of Commons. (Mike Dembeck/Canadian Press)Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has already signalled his party will move a motion of no-confidence or vote against the Conservative government at the first available opportunity. The first chance for the Liberals to introduce their own no-confidence motion is on Oct. 1.

Speaking in Halifax, Layton said it is up to the government to work to find common ground in a minority Parliament.

"The prime minister has a responsibility to understand that he cannot govern alone," Layton said. "If Mr. Harper wants to avoid an election he must reach out to other parties. If he fails to do so, then we have an election."

Layton insisted his party has publicly presented its position on employment insurance, pension protection and limits on credit card interest and ATM fees in the House of Commons.

To survive a no-confidence vote, the Tories would need the support of the NDP or Bloc Québécois in the House.

Speaking to reporters in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Harper said his government is committed to working on the economy and is open to hearing proposals from other parties to help Canada's economic recovery.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to reporters Wednesday in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

But the prime minister vowed the Conservatives will not cut any "backroom" deals with opposition parties to stay in power.

"As I've said before, if other parties have good ideas, effective ideas on the economy, let us see what they are and we'll take a look at them," he said.

"As you know, we've been very flexible in terms of bringing forward initiatives and programs, but we will not be doing backroom deals."

Layton has repeatedly ridiculed the Liberals for voting with the Tories numerous times in the past two years and has previously said his party had no confidence in Harper. On Thursday, he denied he was changing his position by listening to what Harper would offer.

"We did not have confidence before, but if he shows leadership at this key time and says he will work with the other parties in order to improve the situation of Canadians and build the economy by looking at some of our key proposals … then that means that there is an opportunity to have discussions," Layton said.

After a face-to-face meeting with Harper in Ottawa last week, Layton told reporters the NDP would be the "least likely" of political parties to support the Conservatives in office "because we have very fundamental differences with the direction that they're taking the country."

Liberal MP Bob Rae said he wasn't surprised that Layton was trying to compel the prime minister to offer something to the NDP, or that Harper refused to make any concessions.

"To me, that fits in with the character of both individuals," Rae told reporters in French outside the Commons.

Harper: 'This is not a game'

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during his party's summer caucus retreat in Sudbury, Ont.Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during his party's summer caucus retreat in Sudbury, Ont. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press) The prime minister also raised the memory of last December's proposed coalition between the Liberals and NDP, with support from the Bloc.

"People know that there's a deal between the NDP and the Bloc and the Liberals," he said. "People didn't like that. I don't think we want to go there."

But when asked about Harper's comment and whether any agreement still existed with the Liberals, Layton replied: "The answer is no."

Harper also lashed out at Ignatieff for saying the NDP and Bloc Québécois had some "cards to play" with the government ahead of the fall session.

"This is not a game," Harper said.

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said Wednesday his party would continue to support the interests of Quebec in the House of Commons, but did not rule out supporting the government in a no-confidence vote.

Ignatieff broke off EI deal: Finley

On Wednesday, Ignatieff said there is nothing the prime minister could offer his party to change his mind.

"We're not in negotiation here. We did that in June," he said.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley insisted the Conservatives tried to work with the Liberals over the summer on shaping EI accessibility rules, but Ignatieff broke a deal that would have seen a committee of Liberals and Conservatives report on their progress by the end of September.

"Mr. Ignatieff wants to trigger an election, which will negatively affect the jobless," she said in Ottawa on Thursday. "He’s just in it for himself. We were trying to make progress."

Liberal human resources critic Mike Savage has been quoted as saying his party gave up on the panel because the Conservatives did not show up "prepared to work."




Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Jack Layton should be reaching out to Canadian Children by supporting the private member's bill for a legal presumption of equal parenting.

That is not going to happen. Jack Layton's No Dads Party is hell bent on continuing Canada's war on men. A more proper term would Male Sharia Law.

Jack Layton did his best to oppress fathers with his highly degrading "White Ribbon Campaign" which was nothing less than a public promotion of hatred towards men.

Jack Layton, was born a male but spends his efforts pandering to the extreme feminists who wish to continue Canada's policy of Male Gender Apartheid that totally remove a male's right to legal access to the courts and coincidently, moved right out of any legal right to have anything to do with a child expect provide s-perm and c-child s-upport.


Mr. Harper's publicity genius at work again, What a beautiful picture, "Action Plan" and a stack of uniformed police officers, just to add "credibility" to "his public image".

It worked for the republicans for decades, now, Harper , Canada's Republican Puppet, is following a well rehearsed battleplan that impresses the ignorant, the red necked, the stupid, that swallow it all hook line and sinker.


post re terrorist conviction in Toronto


This is a classic case of "ENTRAPMENT"
There very obviously, never was any "terrorist threat" until the establishment used a very corrupt young Muslim who decided to recruit , train , facilitate "evidence" that could be used for a conviction.

Their star witness had a lot of motivation towards entrapment, to the tune of millions of dollars. It really begs the question, as to weather or not, these accused are really deserving of the charges or if the establishment has overstepped its undercover work to discover or create local terrorists.

When ever you see such a highly paid, controvserial informant, you can hear the alarm bells of injustice ringing.

There is more to this story than meets the eye , and most probably, more than any judge in any criminal trial will get to see, because CSIS and the establishment will see to it that it can never be used as "evidence"

Its time for Byant to take a very long overseas trip and retire when and if he returns.