The three leaders attended a historic press conference today and signed an Accord which provides for a coalition government to take over once the Tory government is voted out in a confidence measure (hopefully December 8).
The following is a summary of the Accord:
The prime minister will be the leader of the Liberal Party (now Dion, and from May the new leader), and the Finance Minister a Liberal.
A cabinet of 24 members, 6 NDP and 18 LPC; if cabinet increases, same proportion kept.
The Coalition will agree on transparency rules for appointments to the Supreme Court, Senate and other federal bodies.
Both parties will caucus separately, and will work through a managing committee.
The Accord ends June 30, 2011 unless extended.
Aim is to restore the deficit to a surplus within 4 years.
The stimulus plan is aimed at the following:
“The top priority of the new Government is an economic stimulus package designed to boost the domestic economy beginning with (but not limited to):
-Accelerating existing infrastructure funding and substantial new investments, including municipal and inter-provincial projects (such as- transit, clean energy, water, corridors and gateways). This would certainly include addressing the urgent infrastructure needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit;
- Housing construction and retrofitting; and
- Investing in key sector strategies (like manufacturing, forestry and automotive) designed to create and save jobs, with any aid contingent on a plan to transform these industries and return them to profitability and sustainability.”
All revenues from Employment Insurance premiums to be used for unemployment payments; current 2 week waiting period for receiving payments to be scrapped.
RRIF required payments in 2008 to be reduced by 50% (gives seniors a break).
Income support program for older workers who lose jobs to ease transition to old age security and pensions.
Tory budget cuts of culture to be scrapped.
Immigration reform to be pursued.
“As finances permit, we are committed to moving forward with improved child benefits and an early learning and childcare program in partnership with each province, and respectful of their role and jurisdiction, including the possibility to opt out with full compensation.”
Cap and trade emissions program to be instituted, using 1990 as a base, and working with USA new president to achieve a north American scheme.
Parliament not to be dissolved during Accord term by Liberals unless government defeated on non-confidence motion presented by the Tory opposition.
Bloc will support the Liberal government for 18 months with respect to the agreed matters in the Accord, but reserves the right to vote against other matters not covered in the Accord (as long as such matters are not confidence matters which will lead to the fall of the government).
Bloc agrees with the Accord up to June 30 2010, unless renewed.
1. No dollar figures in the Accord for the stimulus package; as Layton said in the press conference, the Tory figures are suspect and the new government needs to get a handle on the exact figures.
2. Duceppe said at the press conference that the Bloc could not agree on a period beyond 18 months because the three parties could not agree on any proposals regarding Quebec sovereignty issues.
3. Dion confirmed he will not be running for leadership of the LPC in the convention in May.