Federal opposition parties smell blood, sign accord

Canada’s political soap opera continues to get more interesting. This afternoon the federal Liberals and New Democrats signed an historic accord to form a coalition government, in which the Liberals would get 18 cabinet seats and the New Democrats would get six. Liberal leader Stephane Dion would be Prime Minister until the party’s leadership convention in May. The Bloc Quebecois have signed a separate agreement committing it to support the coalition government until June 2010. With these formalities out of the way, the next step is Friday’s confidence vote, after which (and assuming the Conservatives lose the vote), the current government will fall and the Governor General will be asked to consider giving the coalition government the chance to rule. If this happens, the coalition has said it will move immediately to introduce an economic stimulus package, and since the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are all very committed to investing in green infrastructure, this could be very good news for the cleantech sector… stay tuned.

UPDATE: Dion was asked at a press conference this afternoon if he, as Prime Minister, would still try to carry through the carbon tax plan he campaigned on during the election. He said no, but did have this to say: “We need an effective cap and trade program in Canada, and we need it as soon as possible, with absolute emission targets.” This comment is more aligned with what NDP leader Jack Layton campaigned for, and it is also more aligned with what President-elect Obama wants to introduce — in contrast to the intensity-based caps that the Conservatives have pushed.

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