Speaker breaks tie by voting for Canadian budget

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Composition of Canadian House of Commons as of May 19, 2005 (Liberal 133 (includes speaker), Conservative 98, Bloc Québécois 54, NDP 19, Independent 3, Vacant 1)

Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, broke the tie on the vote on the second reading of the Canadian budget amendment, C-48, by voting in favour of the government, most likely averting a spring election, CBC Newsworld reported.

The amendment to the budget adds $4.6 billion in social spending and delays of tax cuts.

The outcome of the second reading vote on the main budget bill, C-43, was less dramatic as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said that his party would support it.

The vote for the amendment was tied at 152-152 until the Speaker's intervention, who only votes in the case of the tie. He stated his vote for the bill was in order to continue Parliamentary debate leading up to a third reading. It is the first time in post-Confederation Canada that the Speaker has had to break a tie on a non-confidence motion.

The Liberal party together with the NDP had 150 votes, including former Conservative MP Belinda Stronach who crossed the floor only days prior. (One Liberal MP agreed to sit out of the vote as a courtesy to Conservative MP Darrel Stinson, whose cancer surgery prevented him from attending the vote.) The Conservatives together with the Bloc Québécois had 151 votes, so the votes depended crucially on the three Independent candidates: Chuck Cadman and Carolyn Parrish who voted for the amendment, and David Kilgour who voted against, forcing a tie.

The budget and the budget amendment were confidence motions, meaning that the government would have fallen and an election would have been called if either one failed.

During the vote, Wikinews reporter Andrew pmk noted that the website of CBC, a major Canadian television network, was unavailable.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page and notes page for more details.