MONTREAL — At least two opposition leaders say a federal election just might be the bitter cure needed to rid Canada of the Harper government.
NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe said Friday they’ve heard from voters this summer who are tired of the Tories and want them gone.
Both admit there’s little public appetite for an election, but they say people are telling them it’s time to get rid of Stephen Harper’s government.
“I haven’t heard a stampede of people saying they want an election,” Layton told a news conference.
“But ironically, you’ll also get the same person saying, ’Get that Harper out of there!”’
Layton compares an election to a popular brand of cough medicine.
“Canadians live in this kind of paradox all the time,” he said.
“They have an opinion about their government and whether they like it in or want it out. But they also, if you ask them, won’t generally stampede towards an election.
“It’s like that cough medicine — you know, it tastes bad, but sometime you’ve gotta take it.”
Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe agrees people don’t want an election less than a year after the last one.
But he says people he’s talked with over the summer don’t like the Tory attitude to Employment Insurance and are asking him to get rid of the government.
“If you’re asking people whether they’re willing or not to go to the polls people will say, ’Well, we just had an election a year ago,’ ” Duceppe said.
“On the other hand if you ask them, ’Do you agree with the Tories’ attitude on Employment Insurance,’ people will say, ’No.’ And people are telling me, ’Could we get rid of that government?’
“So this is the real question. When the campaign starts, then we’re discussing the real question.”
The opposition leaders made their comments at separate news conferences in Montreal after meeting with university student groups.