Canada's PM sets May 2 election

Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:04am EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper set May 2 as the date of the next election on Saturday and said people would be "crazy" to vote for opposition parties he accused of trying to illegitimately seize power.

A clearly angry Harper railed against the three opposition parties that brought his minority Conservative government down on Friday. The opposition said the government was tainted by sleaze, had managed the economy poorly and was in contempt of Parliament.

Polls show the right-of-center Conservatives are set to retain power in what will be Canada's fourth election in less than seven years.

Harper, in power since 2006 with two successive minority governments, says Canada does not need an election at a time when economic recovery is still fragile. Canada's economy is one of the best performing among industrialized nations.

Harper told reporters that if Conservatives don't win a majority in the election, the three opposition parties would form what he called an illegitimate, unstable and reckless coalition.

"They are still trying to keep the door open because they will do it if they get a chance ... you don't try and form a government if you lost the election. That is not legitimate," he said, visibly struggling to curb his temper.

Voting for the opposition, he added, "would be crazy, given the circumstances Canada faces".

Harper spoke after visiting Governor General David Johnston -- the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state -- to seek the dissolution of Parliament.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks following a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>