Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mulcair, Trudeau Attack Harper's Reputation for Sound Economic Management

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mulcair, Trudeau Attack Harper's Reputation for Sound Economic Management

Article excerpt

Mulcair, Trudeau assail Tory economic record

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OTTAWA - Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau took turns Thursday assailing the Conservative government's economic record, trying to chip away at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's perceived strength as a sound fiscal manager.

Public opinion polls suggest economic management remains Harper's strong suit and most likely ticket to re-election in 2015, even as the Senate expenses scandal and other ethical lapses have eroded support for his party.

The government made the most of that in Wednesday's mid-term throne speech, boasting that as a result of its management "more Canadians have good jobs than ever before, families are paying lower taxes, our financial house is in order."

"In spite of continuing risks from beyond our shores, our government is leading the world by example ... Canada now leads the G7 in job creation, in income growth and in keeping debt levels low."

But the NDP and Liberal leaders both took issue with that rosy assessment in separate speeches Thursday in the House of Commons.

"Conservatives have done nothing to rein in the high cost of living for families," said Mulcair.

"They have done nothing to guarantee retirement security for our seniors. They have watched a generation of middle-class jobs disappear but they have done nothing to create the next generation of middle-class jobs."

He condemned the Conservative economic record for resulting in growing income inequality, offloading billions in costs to other levels of government and leaving more than 1.3 million unemployed while making "drastic cuts" to employment insurance.

Trudeau similarly bashed the government's record, charging that Harper "has the worst record on (economic) growth of any prime minister since R.B. Bennett in the depths of the Great Depression."

"Under the Conservatives' self-proclaimed steady hand, we have seen 10 consecutive federal budget surpluses (under previous Liberal governments) turn into seven consecutive deficits," he told the Commons. …

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