Harper plans early Parliament recall on crisis

Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:43pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Newly reelected Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet other world leaders and put Parliament back to work quickly to hammer out ways to weather the credit crisis and keep the country's economy competitive, he said on Wednesday.

In the wake of Tuesday's federal election, which strengthened Harper's minority government, other opposition leaders said they were ready to work together to tackle the fallout from global economic instability.

"The No. 1 job of the prime minister of Canada is to protect this country's economy, our earnings, our savings, and our jobs, during a time of global economic uncertainty," Harper told a news conference in Calgary, Alberta.

"The mandate we received allows us to continue moving forward," he added, presenting a six-step plan to ensure Canada remains as unscathed as possible.

Harper said Ottawa would take "whatever steps are necessary to ensure that Canada's financial system is not put at a competitive disadvantage" but gave no details.

He plans to summon Parliament later this autumn and present an economic and fiscal update before the end of November. He will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and senior European Union officials for talks on the crisis this Friday.

Rivals frequently accuse Harper of playing partisan politics but he was keen to shoot down suggestions he would be thinking only of his future electoral prospects.

"The last thing I want to talk about today is another election ... I don't think the people of Canada do either. I think that's a message that all parliamentarians will understand," he said.   Continued...

<p>Conservative Party leader and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gestures to supporters at his election night headquarters in Calgary, October 14, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>