Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Canada's opposition party on watch for opportunities

A reinvigorated Liberal Party is uniting under new leader Michael Ignatieff, who is considering strategies to defeat the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Facing a coalition of opposition parties planning to bring down the government in a "nonconfidence vote" last Monday, Harper instead suspended the sitting of the House of Commons until Jan. 26.

In the meantime, Harper said his Conservatives would work on an economic strategy to appease the opposition and present it Jan. 27 as a budget statement.

Unpopular Liberal leader Stephane Dion stepped aside rather than wait for a May leadership convention to allow Ignatieff to take over now.

Ignatieff said that he is prepared to work with the government to draft an economic blueprint but that it would be up to Harper to show he has changed from his "spiteful, divisive and polarizing" attitude.

The government has "offered no hope, no solutions, no plan for our country," Ignatieff said.

The defeat of the government would mean either a coalition government of the opposition parties would take over or another federal election would be held — even though the last vote was only two months ago.

Harper considers 'stacking' Senate

Harper is moving to "stack" the nonelected Senate with 18 of his supporters.

The Conservative appointments would be one of the largest blocks of patronage rewards by the ruling government in years.

It would also be a sharp reversal for Harper who has called for Senate reform, saying the Upper Chamber is undemocratic and unaccountable while senators should be elected for fixed terms.

Even with the appointees, the Liberals will have the majority with 58 senators compared with 20 Conservatives.

In addition, three senators are Progressive Conservatives, four are independents, one represents the Independent New Democratic Party, one is "nonaligned" and there are 18 vacancies.

News in brief

• A recession has officially arrived, says the Bank of Canada. The country's central bank slashed its trendsetting interest rate to 1.5 percent, the lowest level in 50 years. Many economists forecast economic growth at or below zero for next year with job losses topping 100,000 and an unemployment rate of more than 7 percent.

• The $27.8-billion U.S. leveraged buyout of BCE Inc., Canada's largest telecommunications company, has collapsed amid economic turmoil. Buyers said a key condition of the deal was not met in what would have been the world's largest leveraged buyout.

• Students took cover in classrooms for several hours at a Montreal university after hearing what they believed were gunshots. Police found only exploded firecrackers in an elevator at the University of Quebec along with a bag with two knives and unused .22-caliber bullets. The incident sparked memories of the rampage at Montreal's Polytechnical School in December 1989, when a gunman killed 14 women.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar had edged up in value, reaching 80.75 cents U.S. Friday while the U.S. greenback returned $1.2385 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada dropped its key interest rate by 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent while commercial banks lowered their prime lending rates by 0.50 percent to 3.5 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange advanced over the past week with the composite index reaching 8,231 points on Friday while the TSX Venture exchange index was lower at 507 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 6, 12, 18, 27, 42, 43; bonus 7. (Dec. 6) 4, 8, 29, 37, 40, 48; bonus 45. Super 7: (Dec. 5) 8, 9, 14, 16, 18, 29, 42; bonus 35.

Regional briefs

• British Columbia remains financially sound as the Dominion Bond Rating Service reconfirmed high credit ratings. It noted good finances, a conservative budget, solid economic conditions and the second-lowest debt burden in Canada. Business and consumer confidence remains strong and the province has a below-average reliance on the U.S. export market to provide some protection.

• Eight members of the Tingley family in New Brunswick have been arrested on drug trafficking and weapons counts. The Mounties conducted a yearlong organized crime investigation in several compounds in the rural area of Salisbury, Staff Sgt. Robert Power said.

• Bus driver Rick Bazinet of London, Ontario, said he was tempted to keep a money bag containing $65,000 (U.S.) in $20 bills he found at a coffee shop, but he didn't regret turning it over. It turned out the bag was left behind by a Brinks armored truck guard who had filled an ATM. There was no word on any reward for Bazinet, but the Brinks' driver who returned to retrieve the bag offered to buy the coffee.

Jim Fox can be reached at

Canada's opposition party on watch for opportunities 12/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:56am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  2. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  3. Hernando sheriff: Orlando mother turns in 18-year-old son in pawn shop burglary


    Times Staff Writer

    SPRING HILL — Hernando deputies have arrested a fourth person in connection with a pawn shop burglary, but they really didn't have to do anything to find him.

    Elijah Pickard, 18, of Orlando, was turned in by his own mother in connection with a pawn shop burglary, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office [Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Bob Buckhorn and Tampa council say county vote on Confederate statue doesn't speak for them


    TAMPA — It was the Hillsborough County Commission that voted not to remove a statue honoring the Confederacy, but Tampa officials are worried that the city, not the county, will pay the price.

    The Hillsborough County Commission voted 4-to-3 this week to leave in place a Confederate monument outside the old county courthouse. It was dedicated in 1911 with a speech calling African-Americans "ignorant and inferior'' and saying a president who would appoint a black resident to a job in the South "engenders sectional bitterness, encourages lynchings, injures the negro," and is "a traitor to the Anglo-Saxon race." CHRIS URSO   |   Times