Liberals survive confidence vote over economic estimates with NDP, Bloc support

The federal Liberal government survived yet another confidence vote in the House of Commons on Monday, this time over the party’s economic estimates amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The members were called to vote on motions relating to the estimates for the fiscal year, ending March 31, 2021.

In tweets Monday evening, the House of Commons said Bills C16 and C17 are acts “granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year” ending in March.

In order to spend money, the government must seek approval from Parliament.

To facilitate this, the President of the Treasury Board tables what is called an ‘estimates publication’ which provides information and details on government on spending.

The Treasury Board tables ‘main estimates’ as well as ‘supplementary estimates’ in the House of Commons.

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According to the website, supplementary estimates provide “information on additional spending requirements which were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates, or have subsequently been refined to account for developments in programs and services.”

The main estimates for the 2020-2021 fiscal year were initially tabled in February, but were tabled again for a second time in September due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Now, several months into the pandemic, the second of three supplementary estimates planned for this year is seeking parliamentary approval for $20.9 billion in spending, for a total of $152.8 billion.

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According to the Treasury Board’s website, the “majority” of the spending is for emergency responses to the pandemic including medical research, vaccine development, medical supplies and to aid with the economic response including support for businesses and essential workers.

Both C16 and C17 were adopted by members at all stages on Monday.

Members of parliament voted in favour of adopting the bills 210 to 118.

Liberal, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party and independent members of parliament voted for the motions, while Conservative members voted against.

The Liberals — who failed to form a majority during the 2019 federal election — needed to garner support from at least one opposition party to remain in power.

Monday’s vote is not the first time the Liberals have faced a confidence vote during the pandemic.

Trudeau’s party faced and survived its first at the end of September over the its COVID-19 benefit bill.

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