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Canada PM urges Obama to avoid fiscal cliff

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday congratulated US President Barack Obama on his re-election, and in a telephone call urged him to "tackle the US fiscal situation."

Harper, who is visiting India, used the call as an "opportunity to convey to the president the importance of the White House and Congress working together to tackle the US fiscal situation," according to a statement.

Obama, who won re-election on Tuesday, has called for a grand bargain before the January 1 onset of the "fiscal cliff," a package of mandatory budget cuts and tax hikes that could cause a new recession if lawmakers do not act.

The Republican-held Congress has offered Obama a short-term fix.

On Wednesday, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned that Canada would follow if the United States, its largest trading partner, went into a recession.