Canada's Trudeau survives confidence vote

"Canadians don't want an election," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said before the confidence vote.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has survived a confidence vote after a key opposition party backed his ruling Liberals, blocking the chance of a snap election as a coronavirus outbreak worsens.

Legislators on Wednesday voted 180-146 against a motion from the Conservatives, Trudeau's main rivals, to set up a committee to probe whether Ottawa improperly handed contracts to friends as it battled the pandemic earlier this year.

Trudeau won only a minority of seats in the House of Commons in an election a year ago and needed the support of other parliamentarians to survive.

The left-leaning New Democrats backed the Liberals, saying the House of Commons should keep working to help Canadians harmed by the pandemic.

The result means Canadians will be spared a snap election as winter approaches and the country faces a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The creation of committees is usually a low-key affair but Trudeau pushed to make the Conservative proposal a matter of confidence, placing his political survival on the line.

"Canadians don't want an election. But Canadians need to know that their parliament continues to work constructively," he said in the House of Commons shortly before the vote.

Australian Associated Press