ZOOMER Magazine

UNHOLY ALLIANCE?

- —PM

WHEN THE CONFIDENCE-and-supply agreement between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was announced March 22, Conservati­ve leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre condemned it as “a socialist coalition power pact,” while a Globe and Mail editorial fumed that Trudeau’s deal had “subverted the role of Parliament.” The rest of the country seemed largely unfazed; an Ipsos poll released soon after found most Canadians (63 per cent) supported the deal, which will see the Liberals push NDP priorities in return for NDP support on budget and confidence votes. Trudeau argued the arrangemen­t provided the “predictabi­lity and stability” he needs to govern, but didn’t mention it virtually guarantees he’ll remain in power until 2025. It also endows his Liberal minority government, which garnered slightly less than a third of the vote in the last election, with all the trappings of a majority. Many felt Singh, in trading his party’s independen­ce for a few policy baubles, was badly outfoxed by Trudeau. Supporters, however, point out the NDP leader has already leveraged the deal to get a national dental plan in this year’s budget and a national drug plan, slated for next year – two senior-friendly policies that otherwise would never have seen the light of day. Plus, Singh isn’t the first federal NDP leader to forge an alliance with the Liberals. In the 1960s, when NDP party founder Tommy Douglas held the balance of power in a Liberal-led minority Parliament, he negotiated a similar governing arrangemen­t with then prime minister Lester B. Pearson. The big payout from that deal? A universal health-care system.

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