UPDATE 1-Canada opposition Liberals dismiss talk of merger

* CBC says some Liberals talking quietly about merger

* Merger with NDP “ridiculous” Liberal leader says

* Liberals trail Conservatives in the polls
(Adds comments by Liberal, NDP leaders)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, June 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Canada’s main opposition
Liberals dismissed a report on Wednesday that they are
discussing a merger with a smaller party to increase their
chances of defeating the minority Conservative government.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp said some Liberals, alarmed
by how poorly they are faring in opinion polls under leader
Michael Ignatieff, have quietly sounded out the left-leaning
New Democratic Party to talk about a possible merger.

“No one has any authorization to even discuss this matter.
It’s ridiculous,” Ignatieff told reporters, blaming what he
called rumor-mongering for the story.

New Democrat leader Jack Layton dismissed the idea of a
merger as a “fiction”.

Polls show that the centrist Liberals, who lost power to
the Conservatives in early 2006, regularly trail the governing
party by five or six percentage points.

There are also mutterings within the party about the less
than sparkling performance by Ignatieff, who had spent much of
his life as a broadcaster and academic before taking over as
leader in December 2008.

The Conservatives, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, won
a strengthened minority in the October 2008 election and
currently hold 144 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.
The Liberals have 77 and the New Democrats — who have never
held power federally — have 36.

Political mergers are not unknown in Canada. The
Conservatives were created in December 2003 when the
Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance parties
joined forces.

That merger was more of a family reunion, since the
forerunner to the Canadian Alliance had broken away from the
Progressive Conservatives more than a decade earlier.

The Liberals, on the other hand, have governed Canada for
longer than any other party, while the New Democrats were
created almost 50 years ago.

The two parties had an informal power-sharing deal between
1972 and 1974, when the Liberals formed a minority government.

Ignatieff raised eyebrows over the weekend when he said
that a coalition between the Liberals and New Democrats would
be perfectly legitimate after the next election. Critics said
his remarks were premature.

Liberal John McCallum acknowledged Ignatieff was not doing
well but noted that Harper and former Liberal Prime Minister
Jean Chretien had both had trouble when in opposition.

“It’s not surprising that, from time to time, opposition
leaders have problems. It’s not a reason to abandon the Liberal
Party,” McCallum told reporters.

Investing Analysis
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

UPDATE 1-Canada opposition Liberals dismiss talk of merger