Struggling economy hot election topic

Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau square off over jobs and middle class struggles

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau launched his campaign in Vancouver Sunday

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau launched his campaign in Vancouver Sunday

Conservative leader Stephen Harper promised an expanded tax break for hiring apprentices Monday, as parties started an extended summer election campaign.

Campaigning in Quebec, Harper announced that if his government is re-elected Oct. 19, employers will receive a credit up to $2,500 a year for wages paid to qualifying apprentices for all four years of their training. Harper’s Conservatives established the program in 2006, with a credit of up to $2,000 for the first two years to stimulate hiring and training.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair began his campaign emphasizing signs of weakness in the Canadian economy, with the latest statistics showing the economy contracting in the first five months of the year.

“Wages are falling, incomes are stagnant, and household debt is skyrocketing,” Mulcair said at his campaign kickoff in Hull, Quebec. “Middle-class families are working harder than ever, and can’t get ahead.”

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has also focused his campaign on middle-class voters, with a central policy of reducing tax on middle income and increasing it for the top one per cent of income earners.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May began the campaign in her home riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. Her economic platform also calls for tax increases for the highest income earners, as well as increasing corporate tax rates to 2008 levels

The early election call increases spending limits for parties and caps it for third-party advertisers such as labour unions that have been targeting Harper.  It also leaves some ridings without nominated candidates.

Another change is in debate formats, as first Harper and then Mulcair declined the traditional debate organized by TV networks. The first national debate is set for Thursday, Aug. 6, hosted by Maclean’s magazine.

Among the topics will be sharp differences over Canada’s role in the international military action against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Harper renewed Canada’s commitment to maintain six fighter jets and special forces support in one of his last acts before calling the election.

Both the NDP and Liberals are promising to end the bombing of Islamic State positions. Mulcair would withdraw all military personnel from Iraq and Syria, while Trudeau supports keeping military trainers in place, with both promising increased humanitarian aid.

VIDEO: ‘Harper: Global factors behind slow Canadian economy’ via BC Daily Buzz/The Canadian Press

Conservative leader Stephen Harper says slow national economic growth is a ‘temporary effect’ of the global economy and was to be expected in some sectors. Harper added he is ‘optimistic’ about a possible turnaround if ‘we stay on track’ (by the Canadian Press).

Just Posted

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

View Royal mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

Sooke RCMP seized cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, prescription pills, $6,000 cash, a machete and pepper spray during a bust June 15. (Courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
Sooke RCMP seize drugs, machete, pepper spray

Man arrested near Evergreen Centre following drug deal

Sooke Fire Rescue firefighters evacuate an injured hiker on Mount Manuel Quimper in March 2021. Sooke will soon be moving to a new fire dispatch service. (Facebook – Sooke Fire Rescue)
Proposed fire dispatch deal could save Sooke thousands of dollars

New dispatch needed after Langford drops out of CRD service

Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell

Alex Fiset and Cooper Oakes, both Grade 4, running to the finish, raising money for the ALS Society of B.C. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
John Muir students rally for ALS support

‘Hey ALS. Nobody likes you!’ the students yelled

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Lake Country firefighters made good use of pet respirators they keep on board June 17, 2021. (District of Lake Country)
PHOTOS: 11 dogs rescued, home destroyed in large blaze in Okanagan

Home deemed a total loss, cause remains unknown but crews thankful for pet respirators

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Syringes prepared with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Vaccine first doses now available for walk-ins on Vancouver Island

People aged 18+ can walk in for their first COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read