Canada's Conservative government has moved to limit the damage of a leaked budget that faces a tough battle for approval in Parliament and credibility in world financial markets.
The leak to a television network the day before it was scheduled to be presented to Parliament Thursday sparked calls for Finance Minister Michael Wilson's resignation, threats to block budget legislation and a selloff of Canadian dollars.Wilson announced sweeping tax increases and spending cuts, particularly in defense outlays, after budget details were broadcast prematurely.
Opposition leaders said that millions of dollars in transactions could have been made using the leaked information and that Wilson should pay with his job.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who called an emergency meeting of senior ministers, said it would be inappropriate for Wilson to resign.
Nelson Riis of the opposition New Democrats, demanding a new budget, said his party would paralyze Parliament if the government tries to ram the document through Thursday.
"We'll be doing everything we can to ensure we have a new finance minister and a new budget," Riis told reporters.
Global Television said a summary of the budget was obtained from an anonymous source.
After the details were broadcast, opposition parties refused a request from the Conservatives to immediately recall the House of Commons for an emergency session so Wilson could read the budget.
By tradition, budget leaks have prompted either the resignation of the finance minister or a revision of the budget itself.