To save his own government, Stephen Harper is deliberately trying to deceive Canadians about the facts surrounding a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent said Wednesday.
In an interview with CBC News in Toronto, a furious Broadbent had harsh words for the prime minister, saying Harper was also trying to pit English Canada against Quebecers in his attempt to discredit the proposed coalition to replace him if the Conservative minority government falls.
"I've never seen the leader of a Conservative party, certainly not Bob Stanfield, certainly not Joe Clark, lie — I choose the word deliberately — the way Mr. Harper has," Broadbent said.
The former NDP leader, who helped negotiate Monday's deal between the New Democrats and the Liberals with the support of the Bloc Québécois, said Harper also lied when he said the three opposition leaders refused to sign their agreement in front of a Canadian flag because Gilles Duceppe, a Quebec sovereigntist, objected.
In fact, there were at least two flags present at Monday's signing ceremony, as well as a painting of the Fathers of Confederation.
Broadbent said Harper is conducting a "shameful operation" by trying to turn certain defeat in the House of Commons into a national unity crisis.
"I'm concerned I have a prime minister who lies to the people of Canada and knows it," Broadbent said. "It's one thing to exaggerate. It's another to deliberately tell falsehoods."
The former NDP leader also accused Harper of lying about the details of the proposed coalition, including his charge that the Bloc Québécois is a formal partner and that six Bloc MPs would be offered Senate positions under the coalition government.
ed broadbent: harper lying to save his own skin