Canada Minority Government survives by one tied vote

Over the last few weeks, Canada's Federal government has been in a political crisis. It started in 2004, when on the June 28 vote there was no clear majority for any political party, thus forcing a minority government: the first in 25 years. This can have a silver lining, since no party holds absolute power and all things have to be negotiated.In April, the Gomery inquiry, charged with investigating the Ad Sponsorship Scandal from a decade ago, made public some explosive testimony about the Liberal Party funneling the money for elections.Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, saw this as an opportunity to topple the current government interpreting the polls in his favor. He called for a confidence vote, but Paul Martin, the Liberal Prime Minister countered that by the upcoming vote on the budget. A political crisis was looming, with the prospect of a forced vote. Before that fateful vote, several suprises happened: Belinda Stronach, a wealthy business woman and Conservative member of parliament crossed the floor to the Liberal side and got a cabinet position as Minister of Human Resources.This added one vote to the Liberal/New Democrat camp, which wanted this government to continue, and denied one vote to the Conservative/Bloc Quebecois, who wanted to bring the government down. However, this was not enough to secure the vote for Liberal/NDP camp. Three other independant members of parliament held the balance. Carolyn Parrish voted with the Liberals, although she was expelled from the party last year because of her outspoken jabs at G.W. Bush and Paul Martin. David Kilgour voted against the budget because he did not get the troops he wanted for Sudan. So in effect, Parrish and Kilgour cancelled each others' votes. This left Chuck Cadman of B.C., who was undecided till a few hours before the vote. He voted for the budget. This brought the vote to 152 for and 152 against, a tie!So, in a historic vote, the speaker of the house broke a tie on a confidence vote since Canada was formed. The speaker, Liberal Peter Milliken, broke the tie by voting in favor of the budget, and for the minority government to survive by just one vote.No wonder Paul Martin was elated, and each of the media outlets got to comment on it.

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