On March 23, the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party signed a confidence-and-supply deal that will offer “stability” to Canadians until June 2025, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The deal was already publicly known the day before, on March 22, but both party leaders confirmed the deal just the day after.
Trudeau, Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party said that “it was not an easy decision”, yet “Canadians needed stability”.
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party, a political party considered to be on the left of the Liberals, reiterated that “this is not a coalition”, as New Democrats will not get any seats at the cabinet table. “We will continue to fight to ensure that people get the help they need”, said Singh, who declared that this deal is “not a destination, but a starting point”.
The deal covers “confidence and budgetary measures” as well as other key policies and is stated in a 7 point agreement between the two major left-wing parties in Canada. The deal, entitled “Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement”, encompasses: national dental care for low-income Canadians; the Canada Pharmacare Act; affordable housing; and a commitment to tackle climate change. This deal also means that the NDP won’t initiate a non-confidence agreement against the Liberal government until the next parliament.
Candice Bergen, the Interine Opposition Leader from the Conservative Party, said that “this deal disrespects parliament, and disrespects every single Canadian voter”. Other Conservative officials said that the deal was a “cynical power grab”.
Maxwell Cameron, from the University of Columbia, told Global News:
“They [the NDP] could lose their identity. The problem for the smaller party, when you get into one of these arrangements, is that it is fairly easy for voters to forget that you were there to provide that support.”
It’s not a novelty that coalitions, even informal ones, are extremely uncommon in the Anglosphere. There are, however, other examples of informal left-wing coalitions in Spain and Portugal, for example. A recurring theme in these coalitions (again, even in the informal ones) is, as Cameron said, “that it is fairly easy for voters to forget that you were there”. This happened with the Portuguese Communist Party and the Left Bloc in Portugal, as many of their proposals were just appropriated by the Socialist Party. This ended up with the tumble of these two smaller left-wing parties in the last Portuguese elections.
However, another thing that the Portuguese left-wing informal coalition can teach Canadians, is to never underestimate a confidence and supply agreement. The Portuguese “Geringonça” lasted for 6 years, against the expectations of everyone.