The federal Conservative government has been brought down on a historic vote in Parliament, setting the stage for a May election.

MPs voted 156-145 in favour of a Liberal motion citing Stephen Harper’s minority Tories for contempt of Parliament, and expressing non-confidence in the government.

The move sends Canadians to the polls for the fourth time in seven years.

Harper is set to visit the Governor General’s residence Saturday morning to dissolve the 40th Parliament and sound the starting gun on an election campaign.

The contempt charge marks a first for a national government anywhere in the Commonwealth.

The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP both supported the Liberal non-confidence motion, fuelling angry Conservative denunciations of a “reckless” and “undemocratic” coalition.