Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/6/2009 (4504 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff appear close to a pact that will allow the Conservative government to survive a confidence vote that could trigger a rare summer election.
The tentative agreement includes a blue-ribbon panel -- half of whose members are to be appointed by the Liberals -- to examine possible enhancements to employment insurance over the summer.
A well-placed source said late Tuesday that's only one aspect of a larger deal and cautioned that nothing had yet been locked in.
News of the potential pact trickled out after Ignatieff and Harper held two face-to-face, hour-long meetings, the first at the prime minister's office in the Langevin Block, the second after dinner at the prime minister's official residence. Both sides described the meetings as "productive."
The two men promised to speak again this morning.
No other details were provided by either side. Their mutually agreed upon circumspection suggested the two political rivals were close to a deal to stave off a summer vote they both say they do not want.
Representatives for Harper and Ignatieff issued almost identically worded, brief statements saying that the two leaders agreed to "talk" or "speak" again this morning. The choice of wording suggests the pair do not feel it necessary to meet again in person.
That in turn suggests they require only a last-minute chat to verify details before reporting to their respective caucuses, which hold regular weekly meetings every Wednesday morning.
Ignatieff will face a divided caucus. Many Liberals are eager to bring down the Conservative government while polls show their party with a slim lead. But others fear the party isn't sufficiently ready for an election and worry about a voter backlash if they force an election in the midst of a deep recession.
Ignatieff will have to persuade them that he's wrested sufficient concessions from Harper to justify supporting the government in a confidence vote scheduled for Friday.
-- The Canadian Press
Details of the Tories' proposal to change the employment insurance system
When the ballooning deficit will be eliminated
How much money has been spent on stimulus projects
How the medical isotope crisis will be addressed