Canadian PM to order snap poll this week

September 2nd, 2008 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 2 (IANS) It is official now. Canada is set for a snap poll - a year before it was due.If Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped broad hints about it last week, Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Monday that an election was inevitable.

After meeting the prime minister for 20 minutes in Ottawa, Dion said: “Yes, there will be an election. Yes, it’s official.”

The prime minister is likely to seek dissolution of the House of Commons this week, and seek a fresh mandate before Oct 14.

The prime minister, who is leading a minority Conservative party government, says the opposition is not letting him carry out his legislative agenda. He has been meeting leaders of the three opposition parties - the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois - to discuss the issue.

After their meetings with the prime minister over the past week, all the three opposition leaders said that he was determined to force an election on the country.

Under the fixed-date election law, engineered by the prime minister himself, the next election is due only in October 2009. The opposition says Harper is breaking his own law by ordering a snap poll.

Calling his meeting with the prime minister a “charade”, Dion, who heads the main opposition Liberal Party, said, “It’s unacceptable for a prime minister not to respect the rule of law.”

Dion said Harper will violate the trust of the nation if he ignores his own law and orders an election. He said he will make this an election issue.

The opposition leader said under Harper the economy was sliding, and “he doesn’t want Canadians to have too much time to see how much he is ill-prepared to face the economy.”

However, a spokesman for the prime minister said after the meeting that it was the opposition which was bent on forcing an election on the country.

“There are a number of things the government would like to move forward on. We are simply looking for broad areas of agreement where the government can proceed,” the spokesman said.

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