Coalition won't last: T.O. Liberal MP
A Toronto MP doesn't think a Liberal-NDP coalition to bring down the government will last into the New Year, following the announcement that Parliament has been suspended until January.
"I cannot see it holding together," Liberal Jim Karygiannis, veteran MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, told CTV News on Thursday.
The coalition also has the support of the Bloc Quebecois, but with 143 seats in Parliament, the Tories would need the support of 12 opposition MPs to clinch a majority and derail the coalition's stated goal of bringing down the government.
Karygiannis added that Liberals and New Democrats have a long history of battling each other, meaning some factions could end up pitting MPs in the coalition against each other.
The coalition's prospects weren't helped by an embarrassing episode on Wednesday night, when the Liberals were late to deliver a taped address to the nation featuring Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.
When the tape was finally put on the air, the video quality was blurry and of poor quality.
"That was the YouTube approach ... it was a disaster," said Karygiannis, who called on Dion to quit sooner rather than later.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Dion didn't do so good in the last election. We bombed. And he didn't do so good last night. And we bombed again."
Meanwhile, during a tense Liberal caucus meeting Thursday afternoon, other cracks in the coalition started to show through, according to CTV's Roger Smith.
"There is a fierce debate going on right now in that caucus room," he told CTV Newsnet as the MPs met behind closed doors in Ottawa.
"It seems the knives are out for Stephane Dion, and it's not just Jim Karygiannis carrying them."
However, Liberal leadership hopeful and Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP Michael Ignatieff emerged to dismiss the prospect of the coalition breaking apart as nonsense.
He called Karygiannis' comments "extremely disappointing" and his characterization of it to be entirely wrong.
"This caucus is 76 men and women striving to be worthy of the hour," said Ignatieff, adding that the Liberal and NDP are working in the best interests of Canadians facing an economic downturn.
"Every single one of us is trying to rise to the expectations that Canadians have of us."
Thousands did show up for a pro-coalition rally in Ottawa on Thursday, waving signs that had phrases such as "I'm a part of the 62 per cent majority."
A similar rally is planned for Toronto at noon on Saturday. It will take place in from of Toronto City Hall. Dion and NDP Leader Jack Layton will address the crowd.
"Rally for Canada," a pro-government group, will hold its Toronto rally at Queen's Park on Saturday. It is scheduled to start at noon.
Parliament suspended until January
Earlier on Thursday, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has approved Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to suspend Parliament, agreeing to put the government on hold until the end of January.
Harper addressed the media at just before noon after about two-and-a-half hours of meetings at Rideau Hall.
"Following my advice, the Governor General has agreed to prorogue Parliament," Harper told reporters from the front steps of the building.
He said the decision reflects the will of Canadians.
"Last Friday I asked Canadians to give us their opinion on the parliamentary situation. That feedback has been overwhelming and very clear. They want Canada's government to continue to work on the agenda they voted for -- our plan to strengthen the economy."
Harper also said that when Parliament resumes, the first item on the agenda will be the presentation of the federal budget and he will spend his time working almost exclusively between now and then on the fiscal blueprint.
He opened the door to co-operating with the opposition parties on the budget, saying Canadians expect all parties "to get on with it."
"It's the opportunity to work in the next six weeks on these measures, and I invite all the opposition parties, especially those that have a responsibility to the whole of Canada, to work with us, to inform us of their detailed position and we will be there to listen," Harper said in French.
Harper was seeking a suspension of Parliament in order to avoid a confidence motion scheduled for Monday that would have likely toppled his government.
They had hoped Jean would deny the prorogation request and let the confidence motion go ahead. If it did, and the government fell, Jean would have to decide whether to send Canadians to the polls for another election, or grant the coalition the chance to win the confidence of the House of Commons and possibly take over government.
With files from CTV's Graham Richardon, Rosemary Thompson and Roger Smith