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Canadian PM Stephen Harper has led a minority government since the start of 2006 but frustration at opposition parties’ blocking of key aspects of his agenda may mean an early election.  The National Post reports that Mr Harper "plans to summon the Liberals to a meeting, where they will be asked to approve in advance everything the government wants done this fall. If the answer is no, Stephen Harper will call an election."  Mr Harper says "the fact of the matter is what I will have to decide over the next few weeks is whether or not we can have a productive fall session of Parliament or whether in fact the government needs a new mandate."

Opinion polls suggest that no party would win an election if it was called now but the Conservatives believe that Liberal plans for a carbon tax might be a real electoral liability during these strained economic times.

"We’re at a pretty critical time. There are economic challenges on the horizon," a government aide told Reuters, complaining that working in the current Parliament was like swimming in molasses: "An election would clear the air and give a government — ours or a Liberal government — some open waters to swim in."

Canadian politics is currently split four ways. Of 308 seats there are…

  • 127 Conservatives
  • 95 Liberals
  • 48 Bloc Quebecois
  • 30 NDP (a far left party).

[A handful of Independents get you to 308].

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