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Despite PM's promise, date for a federal election is a moving target
The first budget vote was easily carried 250-54 with only the Bloc Quebecois opposed; it was the second -- a vote on the NDP-proposed changes to the budget -- that was a cliffhanger.
Together, the Liberals and NDP had 150 votes. They picked up an expected one from independent MP Carolyn Parrish. But the vote they desperately needed came from independent MP Chuck Cadman, bringing their total to 152.
On the other side, the Bloc Quebecois and Tories had 151, and then picked up the vote of independent MP David Kilgour. And so they were deadlocked 152-152.
It was left to Speaker Peter Milliken to cast the deciding vote, the first time in Canada's history that a Speaker has broken a parliamentary logjam on a confidence matter.
"Parliamentary precedents are clear. The Speaker should vote whenever possible for continuation of debate on a question that cannot be decided by the House," Mr. Milliken said in announcing his decision. "Therefore, at this stage of the debate on the bill, the House cannot make a decision, I cast my vote for second reading of Bill C-48."
On the other side of the floor, Steven Fletcher, Conservative MP for Charleswood - St. James - Assiniboia, was surprised to learn Stronach would join what he calls a "corrupt" party. Fletcher described the move as "breathtaking hypocrisy," saying Stronach was bashing the Liberal government as recently as last week.