Manitoba’s Socialist government loses vote of confidence
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) _ The New Democratic Party government in Manitoba, the only socialist administration in Canada’s 10 provinces, was defeated Tuesday in a confidence vote.
Premier Howard Pawley’s government had been clinging to power with a one- seat majority in the provincial legislature.
But Jim Walding, a New Democrat legislator, voted with the opposition Conservative and Liberal parties on a crucial budget measure and the result was considered a vote of no confidence.
The vote was 28-27 against the government.
Opposition members pounded their desks victoriously after the vote.
″Obviously we are in a very difficult situation,″ Pawley said, and he indicated his party will meet Wednesday to decide whether to call an early election.
It is traditional in Canada for a government defeated on a major measure considered to be a confidence vote to go to the polls.
The crisis in Manitoba has national ramifications since Pawley is the most active provincial opponent of the free-trade agreement federal Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government negotiated last year with the United States, but which has yet to be ratified.
Pawley also opposes a constitutional accord Mulroney secured with the province of Quebec, recognizing the predominantly French-speaking province as a ″distinct society.″