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Manitoba’s Socialist government loses vote of confidence

March 9, 1988

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.″

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