Liberals, Conservatives duel over recovery

Fri Sep 4, 2009 3:55pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty dueled on Friday over the health of Canada's economy and the impact of a possible autumn election.

Flaherty accused Ignatieff of "fighting the recovery" and pushing for an "unnecessary" election.

Ignatieff, the leader of the main opposition party, dismissed claims the economy was rebounding and rejected the contention that a recovery posed a political dilemma for the Liberals.

"There is nothing (in an election) that would jeopardize recovery. Our recovery is halting and slow under this government," Ignatieff told reporters in Vancouver, where he was scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally.

"We think we could accelerate recovery and make it more effective," Ignatieff said.

The Liberals this week said they would stop supporting Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government, setting the stage for a possible election this autumn.

The Conservatives contend an election would damage the economy, and accused the opposition of trying to force Canadians to the polls now because they are worried about the political fallout of better economic times.

"We're interested in fighting the recession. We're not like the leader of the opposition," Flaherty said.   Continued...

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the opening ceremonies for the World Skills Competition in Calgary, September 1, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>