Canada must elect a majority Conservative government or risk instability, Stephen Harper said Saturday.
The Conservative leader said he's being frank with voters when he says the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois will never settle for losing to the Conservatives. He says the only way to ensure a stable government is to vote Conservative.
It's a break from previous campaigns when he's avoided using the word "majority," fearing Canadians weren't comfortable with the idea of the Conservatives having full control of Parliament.
"Of course I would like to have a majority. Every party would prefer a majority than a minority. But if Canadians elect a Conservative government, whether it's a Conservative minority or a Conservative majority, I will accept their mandate," Harper said.
"That's my responsibility. That's the democratic result."
Harper said Friday's defeat of the government was disappointing.
"It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as prime minister, especially prime minister of the best country in the world as together we have faced the most difficult days of the global recession," said Harper Harper spoke about the economic challenges still facing the world and other challenges such as the conflicts in Libya, and said the opposition parties are forcing an election that the country doesn't want and the economy doesn't need.
And as he has in the past, he attacked the notion of a Liberal-led coalition usurping another Conservative minority.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Saturday morning he won't form a coalition, saying he'd try to work with other parties on individual issues, pointing to previous Liberal prime ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau who led minority governments.
Harper, however, said he doesn't buy it.
"Now they're trying to run on it as a hidden agenda. They've done it before and they will do it again," he said, urging Canadians to elect a Conservative majority.
Harper was asked about a letter he signed in 2004 with NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe telling the Governor General Harper he was ready to form a government should Paul Martin's Liberal minority lose the confidence of the House of Commons. At the time, Harper's Conservatives had the second-most seats in the House.
Harper said that was different from what he says the Liberal Party did in 2008, when then-leader Stéphane Dion tried to form a coalition with Layton, supported by Duceppe.
"There's a difference between working with other parties and forming a coalition," Harper said. "(The Liberal Party) tried to take power without a democratic mandate."
The Conservative campaign headed to Quebec City later in the day, where Harper spoke of this past week's proposed federal budget.
"We presented an important budget, a solid budget, a fair budget," he said.
In his remarks Harper said that, in the budget, his party had been "sticking to our reduction targets and not raising taxes."