September 20, 2010 / 6:34 PM / 7 years ago

Liberals plays down early election talk

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s main opposition Liberal Party said on Monday it wanted to make Parliament work so legislators could focus on the economy, apparently killing any remaining chance of an election this fall.

<p>Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (2nd R) is applauded by his caucus while delivering a speech on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 20, 2010.</p>

Polls show the Liberals virtually tied with the ruling Conservatives, who have a minority of seats in the House of Commons and rely on the backing of opposition legislators to survive confidence votes.

“We’ll have to work through this one day at a time through the fall. We’re obviously going to try to make this session work,” deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale said of the chances that his party might try to trigger an election.

He said Canadians wanted legislators to focus on the economy and increasing levels of household debt -- the Liberals say Prime Minister Stephen Harper has bungled the job of dealing with the after-effects of the global recession.

All three Canadian opposition parties would have to unite to defeat the Conservatives, who won successive minorities in January 2006 and October 2008.

The Liberals were also tied with the Conservatives in September 2009 when leader Michael Ignatieff unexpectedly vowed to bring down the government. The Liberals plunged in the polls and took many months to recover.

Last week a key minister said the government did not want an election this autumn. The most likely date for the next federal vote is in the first half of next year, once the government has unveiled what is likely to be a tough budget.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Janet Guttsman

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