Politics

Ignatieff questions economic argument for suspending Parliament

Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff on Tuesday slammed comments from Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggesting an economic argument for proroguing Parliament until March.

Harper's claim that unstable Parliament hurts economy a 'laugh': Liberal leader

Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff on Tuesday slammed comments from Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggesting an economic argument for proroguing Parliament until March.

"That was the biggest laugh I had yesterday —  the whole idea that democracy creates instability," the Liberal leader said in Montreal.

In an interview broadcast Monday on BNN, Harper suggested a minority government under constant threat of confidence votes creates instability that affects the economy.

"The games begin when Parliament returns," he said in the interview. "The government can take our time now to do the important work to prepare the economic agenda ahead."

Speaking to reporters after meeting with students at the HEC Montréal business school, Ignatieff said that the suggestion that democracy creates instability is "ridiculous."

"I think he has a basic problem in accepting limits to his power as prime minister."

For his part, Harper reiterated Tuesday his comments that the government could face a succession of confidence votes when Parliament returns.

"Well, all I can say is that's the reality of a minority government," he said in Rivière-du-Loup, Que., where he was making a joint announcement with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

"The Canadian people don't want an election. I don't want an election, and I hope it is the same thing for opposition parties," Harper said.

Parliament is to resume on March 3.