Ontario Liberals survive confidence votes with NDP support
No election for now, but budget will bring renewed threat of trip to polls for Ontarians
There won't be an election just yet in Ontario, as the governing Liberals have survived a series of confidence votes on Tuesday.
On Monday, the governing Liberals introduced a pair of supply motions, which essentially allow the minority government to pay its bills.
The supply motions are matters of confidence, which could have toppled the government if enough opposition members voted against them.
The Progressive Conservatives have long been pushing for an election and wanted the New Democrats to help them bring down the government.
But the New Democrats said it was irresponsible to vote against supply motions.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that had the supply motions been voted down, Elections Ontario would have been unable to spend money to run an election campaign that would have been triggered.
"It really makes no sense whatsoever," Horwath said on the subject of voting down the motions.
"We certainly are not about to throw the government of this province into chaos, we’re not going to throw the people of Ontario into chaos by turning down these motions. We are going to do our job responsibly and let these motions pass," she added.
'Licence' to focus on lesser matters
Ahead of the votes in the legislature on Tuesday, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak criticized the New Democrats’ support of the government that has allowed the Liberals to survive.
Hudak suggested it means the government can avoid tackling economic issues and stick to less critical legislative matters, including an initiative to put calorie counts on chain-restaurant menus, without fear of going to the polls.
"I know [the Liberals] can do this, because time and time again, the New Democratic Party props you up, no matter what you do," Hudak said during question period.
"You’ve been given a licence to bring forward secondary bills instead of dealing with the true issues around jobs and the economy."
The coming budget will be the real test of whether the government can survive another period without an election, as the minority Liberals will need one of the two opposition parties to support them.
For the past two years, the New Democrats have won concessions from the government in exchange for their support during the budget process.
When Finance Minister Charles Sousa was asked Tuesday about the delivery date of the coming budget, he said it had not been finalized, but will be decided upon "in short order."
With files from The Canadian Press