Canada not yet out of recession, PM says

Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:22pm EDT
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CHELSEA, Quebec (Reuters) - Canada is not yet out of the recession that has gripped the world, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, adding that now is not the time for opposition parties to be contemplating an election.

Canadian officials are expressing caution over the economy, saying that while there are signs the worst of the recession is over, they are not declaring victory yet.

"Canada is not yet out of this world recession. We must continue our efforts, we have to persevere. Now is not the time for political instability," Harper told a news conference in the Quebec town of Chelsea.

The main opposition Liberal Party says it might introduce a motion of non-confidence in the minority Conservative government next month on the grounds that Harper is not doing enough to help those who have lost their jobs.

For the motion to succeed, all three opposition parties have to vote in favor, and that is far from certain.

Polls put the Conservatives slightly ahead of the Liberals but Harper dismissed the suggestion that he might try to engineer his own defeat.

Asked about a possible fall election, Harper replied: "I can assure you that I do not intend to trigger an election. We've just had a federal election ... and I think the population does not want an election."

Harper's Conservatives won a strengthened minority in an election last October.

(Reporting by Blair Gable, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at a news conference in Kitchener, Ontario, August 13, 2009 where he announced the creation of a regional development agency for Southern Ontario, part of the government's economic action plan. REUTERS/Geoff Robins</p>