The Canadian Parliament has approved a motion of no confidence in the government by a vote of 156-145.
Under the Canadian system this means that the Government of Stephen Harper has fallen and an election campaign will go forward. Canada has been operating under a minority government for the last 5 years, so it was not entirely stunning that a united opposition of Liberalds, New Democrats and Bloq Quebecois would result in a defeat.
However this is only the 6th such vote in the last 144 years and the only one prompted by the idea that the government was ‘in contempt of Parliament’. The comtempt issue is rather complicated and stems from a variety issues where the members felt Harper was not properly forthcoming.
Harper is expected to go to the Governor General, who represents the Queen in Canada as early as Saturday and request a new election. The election would take place over a fairly short period of time by US standards, with a vote and new government in place by mid May with May 2 and May 9 as the most likely dates.
Interestingly most of the current polls show that the Conservatives are likely to win and if they get a majority in Parliament then the 3 party coalition that threw them out would have strengthened their hand.
A poll released by Ipsos Reid shows the Conservatives at 42 percent of respondents, compared with 24 percent for the Liberals and 16 percent for the NDP. That lead of course could grow or evaporate over the next 6 weeks.
If the Conservatives come in 1st but do not get a majority then you’d see a 3 party coalition, which would probably not last more than a year or two (given the difficulty of keeping 3 parties together).