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Canadian opposition likely to trigger election

Canadian opposition likely to trigger election

opponents have tried to paint 51-year-old harper as a manipulator who resorts to questionable stratagies to thwart the opposition, most notably his suspension of parliament for three months last winter to bring about a shift in house committee chairmanships. TORONTO (AP) _ Canadian opposition parties said Tuesday the will vote against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government budget in a move that will likely trigger an election.
The opposition Liberals and Bloc Quebecois said after the budget was announced that they will vote against it. That meant it was left to the left-of-center New Democrats, who said they can't support the budget in its current form.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appeared to offer a concession to the New Democrats, but New Democrat leader Jack Layton says Harper missed an opportunity to make the minority Parliament work.
"The NDP will not be supporting the budget as presented," Layton said.
If the budget is defeated, Harper will have no choice but to call an election, possibly on May 2 or May 9. A vote on the budget is expected to occur either Thursday or Friday.
Canada is likely to emerge from an election with little changed. Opinion polls expect Harper's Conservative Party to win, but not outright, meaning he will continue to govern with a minority in Parliament, dependent on opposition votes to stay afloat.
Harper is riding on the perception that the election is pointless because nothing will change. It's the economy that he is counting on to win him re-election.
Canada has outperformed other major industrialized democracies through the financial crisis, recovering all jobs lost during the recession while its banking sector remains intact. It avoided a property crash, and most economists expect 2010 growth to come in at 3 percent.
But Harper is a center-right prime minister in a traditionally liberal country, and his plan to cut corporate tax rates has given the opposition, led by the left-leaning Liberals, an opening to argue that Canada is running a record deficit that will only worsen if taxes fall.
Opposition parties also are hammering the prime minister for planning to spend $9 billion on 65 American-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighters _ one of the biggest military purchases in Canadian history _ plus at least $5 billion more in maintenance costs.
Opponents have tried to paint 51-year-old Harper as a manipulator who resorts to questionable strategies to thwart the opposition, most notably his suspension of Parliament for three months last winter to bring about a shift in house committee chairmanships.
The double-trigger that may bring him down is the federal budget and allegations _ supported Monday by a Parliamentary committee _ that Harper acted in contempt of the house by failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets.


Updated : 2021-02-28 14:37 GMT+08:00