06/20/2012 02:54 EDT | Updated 08/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Ottawa talking with provinces over conflicts in election dates; Harper

OTTAWA - The federal government is talking with several provinces about correcting an overlap in election dates for 2015.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the federal Conservatives realize that several provincial elections as well as the federal election are scheduled in or near the fall of that year.

And he says Ottawa will act well before then to fix the overlap.

It's not clear whether that means Ottawa will budge or the provinces will be asked to change their timelines.

Last month, Manitoba introduced legislation that would eliminate the overlap between that province's fixed election date of Oct. 6, 2015 and the federal election date less than two weeks later.

Similar legislation was recently passed in Saskatchewan.

Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories also have elections scheduled for 2015.

Harper was replying to a question from Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae.

Rae has ruled himself out as a candidate for permanent leader of his party and the prime minister got in a small dig at his expense.

"I didn't know the timing of the next election was still a subject in which the leader of the Liberal party was keenly interested," Harper said, prompting laughter from both sides of the Commons.

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