By JEFF GRAY
Globe and Mail Update
Thursday, November 23 Online Edition, Posted at 11:47 AM EST
NDP Leader Alexa McDonough says entering a formal coalition with a minority Liberal government — even if Jean Chrétien's party agrees to the NDP's demands on expanding health care — is not in the cards.
Reporters repeatedly questioned her about her party's plans at a press conference in Saskatoon Thursday. Saskatchewan's NDP government currently relies on its coalition with provincial Liberals to maintain power. In 1972, the NDP played power broker with the Liberal minority of Pierre Trudeau without formally joining the government.
"No, I've made that clear from the first day of this campaign, and I'll repeat it again that a formal coalition with the Liberal government is not of interest to New Democrats, period," Ms. McDonough said.
If the Liberals were to come out of the election with fewer than 151 seats in the House of Commons, they would need to rely on another party to pass legislation and remain in power. But that party need not formally join in a coalition and accept cabinet positions.
Ms. McDonough said that whoever forms the government, her party will continue to fight for universal health care. "We will be using whatever numbers we have, every opportunity we have to advance the priorities and advance the program that the New Democratic Party has set out during this campaign."