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Ignatieff Says Party Merger Report Is ‘Ridiculous’

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff said reports that the Canadian opposition group is in talks to combine with the New Democratic Party are “ridiculous.”

“No one has any authorization to even discuss this,” he told reporters in Ottawa today. “I’m a Liberal. I’m proud to be a Liberal. We’re going to form a Liberal government.”

New Democratic Party officials aren’t talking to Liberals, party spokesman Karl Belanger said in an e-mailed response.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported yesterday the two parties are in talks to combine the country’s second- and fourth-biggest opposition groups.

Ignatieff is struggling to improve on the performance of his predecessor, Stephane Dion, who led the party to its worst electoral showing in 2008.

A Harris Decima poll found 27 percent of 2,010 Canadians surveyed between May 13 and May 23 would support the Liberal Party in an election. That compares with 36 percent support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, and 16 percent for the New Democrats. Dion received 26 percent of the popular vote in the 2008 election.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandre Deslongchamps in Ottawa at adeslongcham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.

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