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Focus on economy, not election, PM says

Last Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 8:23 PM ET

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said now is not the time for an election in the midst of a global economic instability.

Harper said despite signs of optimism, the world is still in the middle of the biggest economic crisis since the Second World War and parliamentarians must focus on that issue.

"We do not need another round of political instability and another round of elections — we need parliament to focus on the economy," Harper said in Adstock, Que., as he announced a $225-million project to expand high-speed internet to rural areas across Canada.

The Tories and Liberals are locked in a battle over changes to employment insurance. The Liberals have threatened to defeat the government if they can't reach a deal.

Harper was also asked about the case against Earl Jones, who is accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars, and whether the government would deal more harshly with people who commit fraud.

The prime minister said he couldn’t comment specifically on the Jones investigation but expressed sympathy for those who have lost their life savings in those types of cases.

He also said opposition parties have resisted his government's attempts to strengthen the criminal justice system for white collar crimes along with violent crimes,

"I do hope that this, today, will open everybody’s eyes, that these crimes have real victims. They may not be victims of violence but they are real victims who are suffering real pain and we should have a criminal justice system that responds accordingly."

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