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Harper links Japanese quake, opposition threat of snap election

Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a crime-prevention announcement in Surrey, B.C., on March 15, 2011.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the economic impact of the earthquake in Japan offers a warning to MPs thinking of triggering an election.

During a news conference in the midst of a two-day visit to British Columbia, Mr. Harper ruled out direct economic impacts to Canada linked to the disaster but noted drops in the stock market will be felt.

"All of these things should remind everyone, should remind everybody in Canada, should remind all the parties in Parliament, that the global economy remains extremely fragile. It does not take very much to make us all, not just in Canada and the United States but all around the world, very worried," he said.

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"The fact of the matter is this should be a wake-up call that we cannot afford to take our focus off the economy to get into a bunch of unnecessary political games or, as I said, an opportunistic or unnecessary election that nobody was asking for."

The comments dovetailed with Mr. Harper's earlier remarks suggesting any MP concerned about the economy will find something to support in the looming federal budget.

He added that Canada's key concern around the earthquake is the human toll.

The Prime Minister said he had been briefed on the earthquake in Japan and that there is no evidence of any scenario that presents a risk to Canadians.

He said the government is not looking at an evacuation of Canadians from Japan because there continues to be air service from the country. "If people want to leave, they have that option," he said.

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