Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed an agreement has been reached that will see the NDP prop up the minority Liberal government on confidence votes for the next three years.
“I’m announcing that the Liberal party has reached an agreement with the New Democratic Party to deliver results for Canadians now,” said Trudeau, speaking at a Tuesday morning news conference in Ottawa.
Trudeau says the new deal will provide Canadians with stability and give his government the opportunity to follow through on its commitments to voters.
The deal between the two parties is being billed as a “confidence and supply agreement,” not a formal coalition, since no NDP MPs will sit in cabinet. It will effectively keep Canadians away from the polls until 2025 and see the NDP back the Liberals on the next four federal budgets.
“What this means is, during this uncertain time, the government can function with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets, and get things done for Canadians,” Trudeau said.
He says the agreement will not compromise the core values of each party but will instead allow them to prioritize shared values and include action on areas such as dental care, climate change, housing and paid sick leave (full list below).
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh held his own news conference shortly after Trudeau’s on Tuesday morning — he says the new agreement allows his party to use their power to help people.
“From the beginning, as soon as we were in a minority government I was interested in getting help to people,” said Singh. “This is always something that I wanted to do.”
“I always wanted to use the parliament as previous New Democratic leaders have used parliament. Used their power to get help to people.”
Singh says the deal falls apart if Trudeau and his government fall short on the conditions laid out. He says he will hold the Liberals to account to make sure they meet the stipulations of the agreement.
Speaking about the NDP deal with the Liberals, NDP Leader @theJagmeetSingh says he is using his power to help people. Notes conditions that government act on dental care, pharmacare and housing #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/4lAFqOMjTg— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) March 22, 2022
Interim Conservative and opposition leader Candice Bergen has condemned the deal and called it a desperate move by Trudeau to remain in power at all costs.
“This deal means that Canadians have woken up to, in essence, an NDP-Liberal majority government,” Bergen said Tuesday. “These Canadians have woken up to the fact that they have been hoodwinked.”
She says Canadians can count on her party to be consistently conservative and continue to fight for Canadians.
“This is little more than backdoor socialism,” said Bergen in a statement released Monday. “Trudeau is truly polarizing politics, which is what he likes.”
“This is an NDP-Liberal attempt at government by blackmail. Nation-building is replaced by vote-buying; secret deal-making over parliamentary debate; and opportunism over accountability.”
The agreement is a version of the deal the B.C. NDP struck with the Greens in that province in 2017, where an opposition party agrees to support the government on confidence motions and budget or appropriation votes for a certain period of time.
The deal was given general support by Liberal MPs in a caucus meeting on Monday night while it awaited a stamp approval by the NDP.
The Liberals need the support of at least one opposition party to survive confidence votes after they failed to win a majority of seats in the 2021 election. The party currently holds 159 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, 11 seats short of a majority. The 25 seats held by the NDP give them enough seats to survive any matters of confidence.
In theory, Trudeau could run again when the next possible election is held in 2025. But there are widespread doubts that he will do so, given that he would have been in power for 10 years. The PM would not comment on Tuesday when asked if he planned to stay leader beyond 2025.
Liberals and NDP agree to prioritize the following actions
- Launching a new dental care program for low-income Canadians. Would start with under 12-year-olds in 2022, then expand to under 18-year-olds, seniors and persons living with a disability in 2023, then full implementation by 2025. Program would be restricted to families with an income of less than $90,000 annually, with no co-pays for anyone under $70,000 annually in income.
- Continuing progress towards a universal national pharmacare program by passing a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of 2023 and then tasking the National Drug Agency to develop a national formulary of essential medicines and bulk purchasing plan by the end of the agreement.
- Recognizing that health systems have been stretched because of COVID, the parties realize that additional ongoing investments will be needed in the immediate future to address these pressures. Work with the provinces and territories to determine how to deliver better health outcomes for Canadians, including more primary care doctors and nurses, mental health support, aging at home, and better data.
- Tabling a Safe Long-Term Care Act to ensure that seniors are guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live.
- Extending the Rapid Housing Initiative for an additional year.
- Re-focusing the Rental Construction Financing Initiative on affordable units (under 80% AMR) and use 80% AMR or below as definition of affordable housing.
- Moving forward on launching a Housing Accelerator Fund.
- Implementing a Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights and tackling the financialization of the housing market by the end of 2023.
- Including a $500 one-time top-up to Canada Housing Benefit in 2022 which would be renewed in coming years if cost of living challenges remain.
- Through introducing an Early Learning and Child Care Act by the end of 2022, ensuring that childcare agreements have long-term protected funding that prioritizes non-profit and public spaces, to deliver high quality, affordable child care opportunities for families.
- Advancing measures to achieve significant emissions reductions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Continuing to identify ways to further accelerate the trajectory to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
- Moving forward in 2022 on the creation of the Clean Jobs Training Centre to support workers retention, redeployment and training.
- Moving forward with Just Transition legislation, guided by the feedback from workers, unions, Indigenous peoples, communities, and provinces and territories.
- Developing a plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including from Crown corporations, including early moves in 2022.
- Moving forward in 2022 on home energy efficiency programs that both enhance energy affordability for Canadians and reduce emissions, with investments to support multiple streams including low-income and multi-unit residential apartments. Ensuring that this funding includes support for creating Canadian supply chains for this work to ensure the jobs stay in Canada and create the skills to export these valuable energy efficiency products around the world.
- Ensuring that the 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers starts as soon as possible in 2022.
- Introducing legislation by the end of 2023 to prohibit the use of replacement workers, “scabs,” when a union employer in a federally regulated industry has locked out employees or is in a strike.
- Making a significant additional investment in Indigenous housing in 2022. It will be up to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to determine how housing investments are designed and delivered.
- Accelerating the implementation of the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People with Indigenous partners.
- Creating a standing Federal-Provincial-Territorial table on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People to facilitate and coordinate this work.
- Providing the necessary supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities who wish to continue to undertake the work of burial searches at the former sites of residential schools.
- Moving forward in the near term on tax changes on financial institutions who have made strong profits during the pandemic.
- Implementing a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry by the end of 2023.
-- with files from The Canadian Press