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'You win some, you lose some,' PM says of Speaker's double-blow to Tories

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives a news conference in Toronto on March 3, 2011.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to comply with a ruling that his government produce details on costs related to its crime bills, but insists that "parliamentary procedures" won't distract him from focusing on the economy.

"We have debates in Parliament all the time. The Speaker rules, you win some, you lose some," Mr. Harper said Thursday following a health-care announcement in Toronto. "If you lose, you comply and that's what we'll do."

House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken ruled on Wednesday that, "on its face," the government withheld information from a parliamentary committee and that International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda may have misled the House.

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If the finding is upheld, as expected, by another parliamentary committee next week and affirmed by the House the week after, for the first time in Canadian history, a government and a cabinet minister will be guilty of contempt of Parliament.

Mr. Harper signalled Thursday that he felt his government has already been adequately forthcoming about the projected costs of the crime bills.

"There was some specific information requested; I thought we had fulfilled that request. If the Speaker says that's not adequate we'll go back and look at what additional information we have to provide. But you know, as I say, that's just parliamentary debate. What we remain focused on as a government are the big issues like the economy, creating jobs."

He refused to speculate on the prospect of an election.

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Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

Writer-at-large

John Ibbitson started at The Globe in 1999 and has been Queen's Park columnist and Ottawa political affairs correspondent.Most recently, he was a correspondent and columnist in Washington, where he wrote Open and Shut: Why America has Barack Obama and Canada has Stephen Harper. He returned to Ottawa as bureau chief in 2009. More

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