In a surprise move (at least to me) the Quebec budget passed by a 46-44 vote thanks to the Parti Quebecois having 33 members abstaining from voting. Late last night, there was word that the PQ was going to send enough members to defeat the budget but then table a motion of confidence in the government, essentially allowing the Budget to fail, but the government to stand and give more time for a deal to be done. The ADQ lead by Mario Dumont has behaved strangely, by turning down offers to work with the government and the PQ to resolve the issues. Apparently at the last moment, the PQ decided it was not time for another election, especially since they are in the middle of bringing a new leader to power. As for Charest, he has won a minor victory, his $950 million dollar tax cut aimed at the ‘upper’ middle class (according the opposition) held firm while the PQ got over $100 million more in health care funding. That money will be made up from a law raising the taxes of oil and refinery companies. The ADQ contends that these costs will be quickly passed on to Quebeckers at the gas pump and has opposed the law.
With the current budget passed, the threat of an election in Quebec is low, at least through the rest of this year. All the parties head into party elections this fall, where there will be a new PQ leader, Dumont will try and strengthen his new parties position and Charest will have to hold off challengers. Once party business is completed look for an election next spring.
Most of the Information was taken from the Toronto Globe and Mail.