Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau and New Democratic Party Leader Singh announced Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement. The Agreement is designed to last from March 22, 2022 until Parliament rises in June of 2025 and will see the NDP support the government on confidence and budgetary matters during this time. In exchange, the government agrees to move forward with a dental care program and other initiatives of mutual agreement (more details below).
The Agreement, however, does not form a coalition government and no NDP MPs will serve in Cabinet with both party leaders stipulating they are not interested in a formal coalition. This is similar to an agreement reached in British Columbia between the NDP and Greens in 2017 and is seen in many other Parliamentary systems around the world.
More specifically, the NDP has agreed to support the government on budgetary matters including fiscal policy, budget implementation bills, estimates and supply. They also commit to not move a vote of non-confidence, nor vote for a non-confidence motion. In cases where the government deems other votes a matter of confidence, they will alert the NDP and allow them to inform the government of their voting intention before declaring it publicly to allow negotiations to take place.
Outside of confidence votes, both parties recognize that they will not always agree and will continue to conduct themselves accordingly, including working with other parties. Both parties also agree to communicate on issues that could impede the government’s ability to function through Parliamentary Committees.
The Agreement has specific oversight provisions, including: A Leaders meeting at least once quarterly; regular House Leaders meetings; regular Whip meetings; and monthly stock-taking meetings by an oversight group made up of a small group of staff and elected officials.
NDP Leader Singh has publicly stated that if they do not feel the government is living up to its commitments, they will pull their support.
The Conservatives Party and Bloq Québécois are both vociferously opposed to the agreement with their leaders referring to it as a “power grab” and a “false majority” respectively.
The Liberals and NDP agreement prioritizes the following (many of which overlapped in the two parties’ election platforms):
- Healthcare including:
- Creating a new dental care program for low-income Canadians, starting with under 12 year-olds in 2022 and expanding to under 18 year-olds, seniors and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025. Program will be limited to families with incomes of less than $90,000
- Making progress towards a universal pharmacare program by passing a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of next year.
- Increasing resources for the healthcare system and tabling a Long-Term Care Act to support care for seniors.
- Affordability for people:
- Implementing housing initiatives, such as extending the Rapid Housing Initiative and launching a Housing Accelerator Fund, as well as implementing a Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights and looking at the “financialization” of the housing market before the end of 2023.
- Introducing an Early Learning and Child Care Act by the end of the year, supporting signed and soon-to-be-signed agreements with the provinces.
- Advancing Climate Change initiatives
- Introducing measures to achieve significant emissions reductions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and further identifying ways to accelerate net-zero by no later than 2050.
- Creating a Clean Jobs Training Centre.
- Developing a plan to phase out public financing of the fossil fuel sector.
- Ensuring 10 days paid sick leave for federally regulated workers beginning in 2022, and introducing legislation by the end of 2023 prohibiting the use of replacement workers when a union employer in a federally regulated industry has locked out employees or is in a strike.
- Making additional investments in Indigenous housing.
- Accelerating the implementation of the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People with Indigenous partners and creating a standing Federal-Provincial-Territorial table to facilitate and coordinate this work.
- Providing support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to undertake the work of burial searches at the former sites of residential schools.
- Introducing corporate tax increases on financial institutions that made strong profits during the pandemic
- Exploring ways to make federal elections more accessible
Looking forward, we are expecting a federal budget in April and the ongoing Conservative Party of Canada leadership campaign with the election taking place on September 10, 2022.