Canadians' priority is economy, not election: PM

Thu Mar 3, 2011 3:57pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The priority of Canadians is the state of the economy and not having an election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday, referring to a budget that could trigger the downfall of his government.

The Conservative government needs the backing of one of the three opposition parties to adopt the budget, which will be presented on March 22. It is unclear whether any of the parties will in fact side with the Conservatives.

"We need to focus on what is the real priority of Canadians ... the priority is not politicking or elections -- it's the economy and job creation," he told reporters in Toronto during a televised news conference.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks to students while pledging support for the "Pathways to Education Canada" in Toronto, March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>