Mr. Speaker, on September 9, 2004, the three opposition leaders wrote to Her Excellency, stating that if the House failed to support the government, she should consult the opposition before dissolving the House. However, that is where the parallel with today's situation ends.
The September 9 letter was issued almost a month prior to the recall of the House and served to successfully pressure Paul Martin to amend the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne rather than to lose office to a coalition. All talk of coalition vanished from the moment the Address in Reply had been approved.
At the start of 2005, when the opposition again threatened to bring down the government, everyone understood that the only possible result would have been a dissolution.
The timeline in 2004-05 was only marginally longer than the one facing us today. Thus, as yesterday, I submit that if the House votes no confidence in the government, it will be against precedent for the opposition coalition to take power and, thus, new elections will be the only constitutionally permissible outcome.