Harpers heading to U.K. for royal wedding
Prime Minister Stephan Harper and wife Laureen wave to supporters in Ottawa, January 23, 2011. Chris Roussakis/ QMI Agency, file
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen will attend Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in London on April 29.
But plans could change, according to a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, if the opposition forces an election this spring.
The Harpers announced Wednesday they had "graciously" accepted the invitation to attend the nuptials at Westminster Abbey.
"Canada is one of 16 realm countries in the Commonwealth and I am delighted that Laureen and I will be able to attend this very historic and happy moment," Harper said in a statement.
But if the opposition parties defeat the government on the March 22 budget or before on a non-confidence motion, Harper could be in the throws of an election campaign when the Royal couple get hitched.
"Obviously, we'll have to re-examine our plans to attend the Royal wedding should the opposition coalition go ahead with their reckless plan to force an election," wrote Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Harper's office. "Canadians don't want an unnecessary and opportunistic election, and neither does the government."
Whether or not the Harpers attend, the newlyweds are planning a trip to Canada this summer -- their first as a married couple.
The Royal Tour, from June 30 to July 8, will include Alberta, the Northwest Territories, P.E.I., Quebec and the Ottawa region.
And if Harper attends the Royal wedding despite the election, it wouldn't be the first time a Canadian leader fulfilled statesmanship duties during an election campaign.
During the 2004 election, then prime minister Paul Martin travelled to Normandy, France, for a D-Day commemoration ceremony and to the United States for a G8 meeting.