Harper says opposition chief should like budget

Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:32am EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - In another sign that Canada's minority Conservative government will not be brought down over its budget next week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his chief rival should be very happy with the document.

The government needs the support of the main opposition Liberal party to pass the budget, which will be unveiled on Tuesday afternoon. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says he is ready to vote against if it does not help Canadians cope with the growing recession.

"If he makes his judgment according to what he's been telling the public, he should be very happy with the budget," Harper told the Ottawa Sun newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

Ignatieff said on Wednesday that Canada needed an early election "like a hole in the head".

Harper, whose Conservatives won the October 14 election with a strengthened minority, said he would prefer that the Liberals "work with the government in the months and the couple of years to come".

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)