OTTAWA (Reuters) - Michael Ignatieff, Canada’s main opposition leader, said on Monday he would decide on Thursday whether to support the minority Conservative government in a confidence vote over the budget.
“That depends on what I see on Thursday,” Ignatieff told reporters when asked whether he expected an election this spring.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will present a budget on Thursday and can only stay in power if at least one of the three opposition parties votes in favor of the package. A defeat would bring down the government and trigger an election.
Ignatieff said he needs to see measures to support the unemployed and a credible plan to reduce the record deficit in order to back Harper. But he has kept his demands vague and has shown a reluctance to engage in political brinkmanship or lay down an ultimatum that would raise the risk of an election.
Polls have shown that neither party would win a majority if an election were held now, though an Ekos poll last week showed the Conservatives have rebuilt a slight advantage over the Liberals.
Ignatieff has suggested in recent weeks that Canadians are not interested in an election this spring.
Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Frank McGurty