NDP to decide fate of 40th parliament

It seems that NDP leader Jack Layton has a big decision to make. In a last-minute effort to avoid an election, the Harper government has sprinkled its budget today with two and a half of the four measures the NDP demanded in return for its support for the 2011 budget. Reportedly, the Conservatives will re-introduce the home energy retrofit program; create an initiative to attract doctors and nurses to remote and rural areas; and provide more support for low-income seniors. But it appears they will not be making any changes to the Canada Pension Plan and will not be altering how sales tax is applied to home heating bills, meaning the Harper government meets just some of the NDP criteria. This puts Mr. Layton in a pickle, as the government needs the support of just one party to pass its budget – and that will not be the Liberals or the Bloc. So, the pressure is mounting on Layton, a man who is also fighting prostate cancer and underwent hip surgery earlier this month.

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