Harper Says He'll Decide Soon on Election Timing
By Theophilos Argitis and Alexandre Deslongchamps
Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated allegations that opposition parties are obstructing his agenda and said he'll decide in the coming weeks whether to call elections.
``What I will have to decide over the next few weeks is whether or not we can have a productive fall session of Parliament, or whether in fact a government needs a new mandate,'' Harper told reporters today in Hamilton, Ontario.
Harper's government is 27 seats short of a majority, meaning it must rely on backing from opposition parties to pass legislation and stay in power. Harper, 49, has been in office since February 2006 and up to this month had said he wouldn't use his authority to dissolve Parliament and trigger elections before completing a four-year term.
Under a law that fixed election dates, Canada's next vote is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2009, though one could take place sooner should the government fall or if Harper dissolves Parliament.
Stephane Dion, leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said the government is hampering the work of parliamentary committees and accused Harper of wanting to trigger an election before lawmakers finish a probe into spending practices by the ruling Conservative Party during the 2005-06 election campaign.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Dion said while he hasn't decided whether to bring down the government, voters seem to have more appetite for elections than they did last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
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