Canadian PM Buys Time With Parliament Shutdown

Opposition had been gearing up to replace Harper's Conservative government
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2008 2:52 PM CST
Former New Democratic Party leader Ed Broadbent, left, chats with current leader Jack Layton.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper got permission today to close Canada’s Parliament until Jan. 26, avoiding a vote next week that would likely have forced him from power, the Globe and Mail reports. Harper’s Conservative government is under fire from a liberal coalition over inaction on the economic crisis. Over opposition howls, Harper pledged to use the time to build consensus on budget plans.

“We must realize the enormity of what has happened here today,” said Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, among possible candidates to replace Harper in an alliance with the New Democratic Party and Québec separatists. “For the first time in the history of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada.”