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Pro-coalition rally draws 1,000 in Vancouver

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to go: That was the message from a vigorous labour union-led rally in Vancouver last night meant to stir local support for an Opposition-led coalition government in Ottawa.

But the election-style rally came after news sank in that Harper's Conservative government had earlier in the day succeeded in quashing the current session of Parliament, stalling any non-confidence vote in his leadership until January.

"This is an unprecedented crisis in Canadian history," NDP MP Peter Julian told the crowd.

"Our cities are suffering," said Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal, with the left-of-centre Vision Vancouver civic party. "We need another government in Ottawa."

The drama in Ottawa has brought out political campaigners locally, with last night's pro-coalition rally drawing some 1,000 people at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

The rally preceded a scheduled demonstration against the Opposition parties and for the Conservative government slated for Saturday at Library Square in downtown Vancouver.

Irwin Loy reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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