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Conservatives Lead in Pre-Election Canadian Polls


The latest opinion polls show Canada's opposition Conservative Party with at least a 10-point lead as the country prepares for Monday's parliamentary election.

If Prime Minister Paul Martin loses on Monday, the Liberal Party will be out of power for the first time in 12 years.

Mr. Martin, a former finance minister, is hoping the electorate will credit him with Canada's booming economy. However, his administration has been mired in a corruption scandal that originated under his predecessor, Jean Chretien.

Mr. Martin's opponent is Stephen Harper, who convinced several conservative political alliances to merge and form the Conservative Party in 2003.

The prime minister has tried to depict his challenger as an extremist on social issues. Mr. Harper -- an economist -- has been running on a platform of tax cuts and shifting more power away from the national government to the provinces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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