Poll bells start ringing in Canada

September 5th, 2008 - 10:11 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 5 (IANS) The deadlocked Canadian parliament will be dissolved Sunday, paving the way for a snap poll Oct 14.Reports say Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet Governor General Michaelle Jean Sunday to request her to dissolve the House of Commons.

The prime minister, who is heading the minority Conservative Party government, is seeking a fresh mandate on the grounds that the current hung parliament is not letting him carry out his party’s agenda.

Under the new fixed-date poll law, which was mooted by the prime minister himself, the next election should be held Oct 19 next year. The current minority government was elected Jan 23, 2006.

The prime minister has held a series of meetings with the top leaders of the three opposition parties - the Liberal party, the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois - during the past three weeks to sound them out about a snap poll.

Even as the prime minister remains adamant about a fresh mandate from people, opinion polls show that his party is slightly ahead of the main opposition Liberal Party.

Opinion polls also show that Harper enjoys a huge lead over Liberal party leader Stephane Dion as the choice for prime ministership.

“We are a strong team and we are ready to work hard for Canadians at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper is determined to break his word and force an early election,” Dion was quoted as saying by the Canadian media.

He said, “We Liberals are prepared to defeat the Conservatives because we know that Canadians are tired of this government and want change.”

There are seven MPs of Indian origin in the outgoing 308-member Canadian parliament.

Deepak Obhrai, who is an MP for the ruling Conservative Party and serving as parliamentary secretary (minister of state), is currently the only Indian in the Canadian government.

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