NOVEMBER 27, 2008
As national governments around the world scramble to assemble bailouts and economic stimulus packages, the Harper government releases an annual update that forecasts a tiny budget surplus in the next fiscal year. It proposes to ban public-sector strikes and end public subsidies for political parties. Opposition parties threaten to force a new election.
The Liberals under Stéphane Dion serve notice of a motion of no-confidence and consider forming a coalition government with the NDP. Prime Minister Harper delays the confidence vote until Dec. 8.
Tories reverse the decision to cancel political subsidies and release a recording of an NDP conference call in which Leader Jack Layton refers to earlier discussions with the Bloc Québécois to topple the government.
The Harper government announces it will move its next budget up to Jan. 27 and drops the plan to ban strikes by public-sector workers.
The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research officially declares that the U.S. is in recession.
Liberal, New Democratic and Bloc Québécois parties sign deal to bring down the minority government. They call on the Governor-General to allow their coalition to form the government if the Conservatives fall on Dec. 8.
Mr. Harper uses a televised address to explain that he is asking the Governor-General to prorogue Parliament, arguing that the coalition government would be illegitimate, given that it would need the separatist Bloc Québécois's support. Other leaders present their defences of the proposed coalition.
Governor-General Michaëlle Jean agrees to Mr. Harper's request to suspend Parliament until Jan. 26, so the government can avoid the confidence vote.
Statistics Canada says the economy shed 71,000 jobs in November, the largest monthly loss since 1982.
On the same day, U.S. unemployment figures show a loss of 533,000 jobs in November, a 34-year high.
Liberals pick Michael Ignatieff to replace Stéphane Dion as leader.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty predicts for first time that the economy will contract and Canada will run a budget deficit next fiscal year - the first deficit in 12 years.
JANUARY 20, 2009
Mr. Ignatieff says he is trying to cool tempers ahead of the budget, but is still prepared to topple the Conservatives if the budget fails to meet expectations.
The parliamentary budget officer estimated a 2009-10 deficit of $13-billion, excluding any stimulus measures.
The Bank of Canada forecasts that economic output will shrink 4.8 per cent this quarter, and 1.2 per cent in 2009.
A senior government official tells reporters the government will post $64-billion in deficits over the next two fiscal years. Cabinet ministers begin announcing billions of dollars worth of the coming budget's economic measures.
Research by Marjan Farahbaksh