WITNESS: Oh no! A global crisis just ate Canada's election

Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:19am EDT
 
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David Ljunggren has been the Reuters national political correspondent in Canada for nine years. Previously he worked for Reuters in London, Moscow and Brussels. This is his fourth Canadian election campaign and in the following story, he describes what it was like to cover it when the markets suddenly went into meltdown.

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - It's not every day you get slapped down on live television by the leader of a major industrialized nation, but these are unusual times.

A month ago, at a news conference to mark the start of Canada's election campaign, I asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper why he was so sure he could keep the budget in surplus.

The ailing U.S. economy was headed for much bigger trouble, I said. And given that the United States swallows 75 percent of all Canadian exports, this was surely bad news for Ottawa.

Harper, an economist by trade, looked at me sternly.

"First of all I would just call on everybody to engage in analysis more sober than that," he said to snickers from the audience.

It was unlikely there would be a U.S. crash or recession so everyone should remain calm, he added.

Then the real meltdown started: we all found ourselves thrust into an increasingly surreal world, one far removed from the three previous Canadian campaigns I had covered.   Continued...

 
<p>David Ljunggren has been the Reuters national political correspondent in Canada for nine years. Previously he worked for Reuters in London, Moscow and Brussels. This is his fourth Canadian election campaign and in the following story, he describes what it was like to cover it when the markets suddenly went into meltdown.</p>