EDMONTON - The man who may hold the fate of the Conservative minority government in his hands continues to be coy on whether his party will prop up the Tories in Parliament this week.

NDP leader Jack Layton told the annual convention of Alberta's NDP today that New Democrats have a chance to force the governing Conservatives to pay attention to the needs of Canadians.

Layton's speech in Edmonton came the day before Parliament resumes sitting, with the NDP holding the balance of power if the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois make good on threats to vote down the Tories.

Sources have told The Canadian Press that a budget-related vote that would be a confidence matter could happen Friday.

If the ways and means motion is defeated the government would fall and an election would be triggered.

After his speech Layton said he thinks Parliament should not be getting involved in partisan games but didn't hint how his party will vote if the motion does come to a vote Friday.