Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

ELECTION 2015: Leaders spar on economy

Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau compare plans on infrastructure, taxation and greenhouse gas emissions

The three contenders for the prime minister’s office clashed in their second debate Thursday evening in Calgary, where slumping oil prices and industry layoffs framed a discussion on the economy.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair accused Conservative Stephen Harper of having a “rip and ship approach” to natural resource development, adding that Harper “put all of his eggs in one basket, and then dropped the basket.”

Harper said it is “simply false” that the oil industry’s woes represent the entire economy, and overall it continues to perform well and produce more tax revenue despite a 40 per cent reduction in small business taxes and other tax cuts.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said his plan also includes reduction in small business taxes, and he emphasized he is the only leader willing to raise personal income taxes on the wealthiest one per cent of income earners, to finance a cut for the middle class.

Moderated by David Walmsley, editor of The Globe and Mail, the debate drew out differences between the three established party leaders on several topics.

Infrastructure:

• Trudeau defended his plan to run three deficits of up to $10 billion to finance roads and other infrastructure, with interest rates at a low ebb and Canada’s debt relative to the size of the economy declining.

• Mulcair called Trudeau’s plan “reckless and uncosted,” while the NDP calls for steady investment over 20 years.

• Harper said over 10 years, his government has spent 15 times what the previous Liberal government spent on infrastructure. That includes record deficits for public works projects in the wake of the 2009 economic crisis.

Taxation:

• Harper said the other parties promise tax relief for small businesses, but their plans to increase Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums amount to a payroll tax 10 times as big as their small business tax cuts.

• Mulcair said he will raise income tax from 15 to 17 per cent for large corporations, but he believes individuals are paying their fair share now. Mulcair reminded viewers that Trudeau has supported Conservative budgets, and his first vote in Parliament was to support Harper’s tax “giveaway” to big business.

• Trudeau emphasized that his is the only plan that increases taxes for bank executives and other wealthy individuals as well as on banks, while reducing income tax on the middle class.

Greenhouse gases:

• Mulcair favours a cap-and-trade system, but he avoided questions about what his system would cost the economy or consumers. The NDP will “enforce overarching sustainable development legislation,” he said.

• Trudeau defended his position that each province should address emissions in its own way. He said Mulcair wants to impose a national bureaucracy, including on B.C., which Trudeau called a world leader in use of carbon tax.

• Harper said carbon taxes are about revenues to government, not the environment. He said under his 10-year administration, Canada has seen a decline in emissions while the economy grew, adding that his government invests $1 billion a year in alternative energy.

Green Party MP Elizabeth May wasn’t invited to the Globe debate, but chipped in with videos on her Twitter account. In one, May noted that there was no discussion of “investor state agreements” such as one with China that have intruded on Canada’s sovereignty.

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria MP Randall Garrison calls on Ottawa to extend peacekeeping mission in Mali

The Esquimalt-Sooke-Saanich MP just returned from a trip to Mali and Senegal

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read