Harper sought to govern with support of BQ and NDP in 2004

Signed joint letter with Duceppe and Layton


Ottawa (2 Dec. 2008) - As Opposition Leader in 2004, Stephen Harper sent a letter to the Governor General asking her to consider letting him govern — supported by the Bloc Quebecois and NDP — should the minority Liberal government of Paul Martin lose the confidence of the House of Commons.

Mr. Harper's proposal then was similar to what is being proposed now by the Liberal-NDP coalition − with support from the Bloc.

"Stephen Harper is hypocritical," says James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "In 2004 he raised with the Governor General the prospect of becoming prime minister with the agreement and support of Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton.

"I would point out that had the Governor General accepted Mr. Harper's proposal he would have needed the support of Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois in order to govern," says Clancy.

"Mr. Harper should respect the fact that our parliamentary democracy allows for both the arrangement he proposed in 2004 and the arrangement being proposed today by the opposition parties," he says.

"It would be hypocritical and anti-democratic for Mr. Harper to run and hide from the rules of our parliamentary democracy by shutting down parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote." - NUPGE 

September 9, 2004

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.Governor GeneralRideau Hall1 Sussex DriveOttawa, Ontario K1A 0A1


As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government's program.

We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practicehas determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

Your attention to this matter is appreciated.


Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.Leader of the OppositionLeader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Gilles Duceppe, M.P.Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Jack Layton, M.P.Leader of the New Democratic Party