Harper strongly suggests fall election coming, dismisses fixed election date
46 minutes ago
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has all but stated there will be a federal election this fall, saying his fixed-election-date law won't stop him from pulling the plug on his minority government.
Harper has been ratcheting up the pressure on the opposition parties - particularly Liberal Leader Stephane Dion - for the last month, saying it is time to fish or cut bait.
On Tuesday, the prime minister indicated he won't be waiting to consult all the opposition leaders before making his decision on an autumn vote.
"It's not a matter of polls. As you know, the polls aren't particularly wonderful," Harper said at an Ottawa announcement on funding for Arctic mapping.
"It's a matter of my responsibility as prime minister to make a decision on whether I think the fall session of Parliament can be productive ...
"Certainly spending weeks and weeks playing telephone tag with guys doesn't help me confirm that things are going to be very productive."
Harper said the three opposition parties can't be surprised because they oppose the Conservative government's agenda.
And now that Dion has introduced the Liberal party's carbon-tax proposal, Canadians are presented with dramatically opposed economic plans for the country that must be resolved.
"I think what has changed qualitatively as I have reflected on things over the past few weeks is that Mr. Dion, by laying down his program - his alternative, has now in fact made it impossible for himself and his party to work with the government or find any common ground with the government," said Harper.
As for the three federal byelections the prime minister has already called for Sept. 8, they may not take place.
"We'll have to judge whether it's appropriate to ask people to vote twice in a space of a few weeks," Harper told reporters when asked about the byelections - a powerful hint that the election call is imminent and a general vote will take place before the end of October.
Harper's fixed-election-date legislation that he brought in when he first gained power also appears expendable under the circumstances.
"You can only have certainty about a fixed election date in the context of a majority government," said Harper.
If the majority of MPs want the government to fall, he said, "then it behooves the government to provide some responsibility."
"The country must have a government that can function during a period of economic uncertainty. And if it's not this government or not this Parliament, the public will have an opportunity to decide whom."
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 1:03 PM