December 1, 2008

Liberals, NDP firm up deal to topple Tories

OTTAWA — The Liberals and NDP have reached a deal to bring down the federal Conservative government and form an unprecedented coalition to take its place that would last 30 months and include cabinet seats for both parties.

Sources confirmed Sunday night that the two sides have ironed out an agreement that would see a cabinet of 24 members — 18 Liberals and six NDP. The Liberals are expected to meet in caucus Monday, where MPs will be able to discuss the arrangement.

The Harper government, meanwhile, scrambled over the weekend to save itself from a historic parliamentary defeat, backtracking on two contentious measures even as the opposition moved forward with plans to forge a coalition government.

Such a coalition would put the Canadian government into uncharted waters. The only true coalition cabinet to have ruled Canada was Conservative prime minister Robert Borden's Union government during the First World War, which included Liberal members.

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