Updated:March 22, 2022
The leadership of the Liberals and the NDP have reached an agreement that would see the NDP support the Liberal government to keep it in power until 2025 in exchange for a commitment to act on key NDP priorities, CBC News has learned.
The confidence-and-supply agreement was presented to NDP MPs for a vote late Monday night, according to multiple sources who spoke to CBC News on condition they not be named due to the sensitive nature of the discussions.
More details are expected to be unveiled when the two leaders hold separate news conferences this morning. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak at 9 a.m. ET and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is set to speak at 10:30 a.m. ET. CBC News will carry both press conferences live on cbc.ca and CBC News Network.
The agreement would see the NDP back the Liberals in confidence votes, including the next four budgets. In return, the Liberals will follow through on some elements of national pharmacare and dental care programs — programs that have long been promoted by the NDP.
Sources say the agreement would also see the two parties collaborate on parliamentary committees, as well as some pieces of legislation.
The deal does not involve the NDP joining cabinet.
Sources tell CBC News that the Liberal cabinet also met Monday evening virtually, followed by the Liberal caucus.
In the Liberal virtual caucus meeting, which was marred by technical difficulties, Trudeau faced questions from some MPs who were concerned about why the deal was needed without the threat of an election on the horizon, sources told CBC News.
Liberal MPs were not told the reason for the last-minute caucus meeting, sources said.
Under a “confidence-and-supply” agreement, an opposition party agrees to support the government on specific measures under specific conditions, and to not vote to defeat the government for a period of time.
British Columbia’s NDP government made a similar deal with the province’s Greens in 2017.
It differs from a formal coalition arrangement. In a coalition, typically, two or more parties share the responsibility of governing, with each party represented in cabinet.
Conservatives say deal is power grab
Sources say discussions between the two parties began soon after the September 2021 election. The Liberals reached out to the NDP to find a way to collaborate on policy and allow the Liberals to stay in power.
Conservative Leader Candice Bergen issued a statement late Monday saying the deal “is nothing more than a callous attempt by Trudeau to hold on to power.”
“This is an NDP-Liberal attempt at government by blackmail. Nation-building is replaced by vote-buying; secret deal-making over parliamentary debate; and opportunism over accountability,” she said.
“If this NDP-Liberal coalition stands, Canada is in for a very rough ride.”
Conservative MPs and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet will also speak Tuesday at news conferences to react to the deal.