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Snap poll in Canada likely

world Updated: Sep 01, 2009 16:07 IST

Canada, which has not seen a majority government since 2004, faces the prospect of its fourth general election in five years.

In his statements on Monday, opposition Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff didn't rule out the possibility of a snap election to end the minority rule of the Conservative Party.

The ruling party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to power in January 2006 after toppling the Liberal Party which was plagued by a so-called sponsorship scandal under which it doled out millions to its favourites in Quebec province.

But the minority government opted for election last October but gained only a few more seats more, still falling 11 short of the majority mark in the 308-member House of Commons.

Responding to Canadian transport minister John Baird's statement earlier Monday that an election at this stage will derail the economic recovery, Ignatieff said the statement was a "load of nonsense".

"We are going to have a good discussion and we will make a decision when it suits us," he said.

He didn't rule the possibility of his Liberal Party joining two other opposition parties to force an early election.

Recent surveys show that the two parties are neck and neck, with the ruling Conservative Party enjoying a slight edge.

The Conservative Party is trying hard to make inroads into immigrant vote banks in urban areas which overwhelmingly go to the Liberal Party.

In the Oct 8 election last year, the ruling party drew a blank in seat-rich Toronto city, with all the 23 seats going to the Liberal Party (21) and the left-wing New Democratic Party (2).

However, the Conservative Party came close to clinching a couple of seats, including the one held by the glamorous Ruby Dhalla on the outskirts of Toronto.

Dhalla may face a stiff battle in the next election because of some recent controversies swirling around her.

Currently, there are nine Punjabi-origin MPs in the Canadian parliament.