Not even two months after the last federal election in Canada (Oct.14, 2008) signs are strongly pointing towards the defeat of Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s minority government, as early as Monday, Dec. 8, 2008.
Opposition parties have signed a deal this week outlining their plan to form a coalition government following the predicted defeat of the Conservative government in a confidence vote early next week. According to the opposition, they are preparing to bring down the government over their lack of response to the financial crisis. The proposed coalition government would be led by the former President of the UNFCCC COP 11 Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. His cabinet would consist of members from his own party and those of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Both parties advocated for deeper climate targets than the ruling Conservatives in the last election, however the Liberal Party suffered at the ballot box largely due to public (and internal) opposition to a controversial carbon tax plan.
The formation of a coalition government is unheard of in modern Canadian politics. The timing of this rare political manoeuvre could have an impact on Canada’s representation at the Poznan COP. It is now unclear as to who will show up in Poland to represent Canada for the high-level segment in the second week of the conference. If the Conservative government falls, it is likely that a NDP member would be assigned the Environment portfolio given the Liberals preference for the cabinet posts related to the economy. It has been reported that part of the agreement signed between the Liberals and NDP would include support for a North America wide cap-and-trade market to restrict carbon emissions. Even if the government does not fall before the Poznan meetings conclude, Canadian participation in the meeting may well be overshadowed by domestic politics.
This is a cross posting from the Canadian Youth Delegation to Poznan blog.