September 23, 2015 / 4:13 PM / 3 years ago

Wouldn't back Conservative minority government: Leader of Canada NDP

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The leader of Canada’s largest opposition party, neck and neck with rivals ahead of an Oct. 19 election, on Wednesday said he would never support a Conservative minority government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair makes a point during the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk

The comments by Thomas Mulcair of the New Democrats underscored the real possibility that the ruling Conservatives would be quickly defeated if they did not win a majority in the House of Commons.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau made similar anti-Harper comments on Tuesday.

Polls indicate Harper stands little chance of winning a majority government and so to stay in power he would need the support of opposition legislators.

“There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell,” Mulcair told reporters when he was asked whether he could back Harper, who came to power in early 2006.

If Harper did get a minority, the New Democrats would need Liberal support to defeat him and then govern.

Trudeau, who has in the past ruled out the idea of a coalition with Mulcair, on Tuesday appeared to soften his tone by saying he would be prepared to work with other legislators if no party had a majority.

There is, however, considerable distrust between the two leaders and when Mulcair was asked about possible cooperation with the Liberals, he replied testily: “Every time we’ve tried they’ve slammed the door.”

Reporting by Randall Palmer Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Christian Plumb and James Dalgleish

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