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Life is about to get harder for Canada’s minority government

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, Canada’s prime minister, can be sure of passing the next test he faces. This month Parliament will hold a vote of confidence in his government. Although his Liberal Party is in a minority and Mr Trudeau has been weakened by scandal, the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) will back the government. The prime minister has promised enough to families and businesses hurt by recession to keep the legislature’s fourth-largest party from voting against him.

After that, things will get harder. The Conservative Party picked a new leader on August 23rd: Erin O’Toole, a former air-force helicopter navigator and minister of veterans’ affairs. He will give new energy to the parliamentary opposition. Seven of the ten provincial premiers belong to his party or lean towards it. They are at odds with Mr Trudeau over spending priorities, the environment and the role the federal government plays in provincial affairs. The NDP will push for more concessions from the prime minister, for example higher taxes on the rich. He may be preparing for a national election as early as spring 2021 in which he will hope to win a majority.

The speech from the throne outlining the government’s plans, delivered on September 23rd by the governor-general, Julie Payette, was a programme for muddling through the pandemic and winning an...

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