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

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

Volunteers risk their lives to save others

SAR training prepares them for the job

Many moving parts to economic development

Tourism is only part of the answer

Window art a sign of the season

B.C. artist paints windows across the province

Get all your stocking stuffers, and the stockings, too

Beta Sigma Phi Christmas Craft Sale returns

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

Methadone treatment not as effective for mentally ill, homeless: study

SFU study suggests unstable housing makes it hard to stick to treatment regimen

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

City staff report says congestion woes easing on Pattullo Bridge as a result

Convicted child sex offender’s sixth lawyer resigns before sentencing

One time school board candidate Corey Neyrinck case delayed in BC Supreme Court yet again

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

TransLink mulls distance-based fares, low-income discounts

Metro Vancouver transit agency launches final phase of fare review

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read