Federal leaders return to campaign trail as markets and dollar totter

A precipitous drop in North American stock markets sparked fresh debate on the federal campaign trail Monday about which leader would be the best choice to manage Canada’s finances.

OTTAWA — A precipitous drop in North American stock markets sparked fresh debate on the federal campaign trail Monday about which leader would be the best choice to manage Canada’s finances.

Toronto Stock Exchange dropped more than 700 points shortly after markets opened, before recovering as the day went on. The dollar, meanwhile, was down half a cent.

For Stephen Harper, the plunging economy — fallout from China’s worst market performance in eight years — provided a welcome diversion from the relentless revelations of the Mike Duffy trial that have kept the Conservative campaign off balance for close to two weeks.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau blamed Harper for the economic mess, and said they could do a better job of running the country’s finances.

Harper repeated his message that his government is the best bet in uncertain economic times.

That’s a message that the Conservative leader has been struggling to deliver as he fends off questions about how much his current chief of staff, Ray Novak, knew about Nigel Wright’s controversial $90,000 payout to Duffy in February 2013.

Harper said Monday the “unstable global economy” is the most important issue facing Canadians, and urged them to stick with his party.

“Given the challenges around us, we need to stick with a long-term plan that has been working and will work,” Harper said in Drummondville, Que.

Harper, meanwhile, said his political opponents were offering proposals that would damage the economy.

“What the other guys are proposing, at a time of enormous market instability, is that they would embark on large-scale, permanent spending increases,” he said. “They would finance that through deficits and through big tax increases, including tax increases on workers and on job-creating businesses.”

The New Democrats and Liberals punched back, blaming Harper for the current downturn.

Campaigning in Toronto with Mulcair, Stephen Lewis, a former Ontario NDP leader and international diplomat, attacked the Harper Conservatives’ stewardship of the country’s finances, calling them “economic poseurs.”

Mulcair said an NDP government would invest in infrastructure, transit and housing. The New Democrat leader touted economic promises aimed at seniors and families with young children in need of daycare, while pledging to be a champion of Canada’s struggling manufacturing sector.

“We have lost 400,000 good paying jobs in the manufacturing sector, there are 200,000 more people out of work now than there were in the crisis of 2008,” Mulcair said.

Mulcair said Harper “put all his eggs in one basket” by focusing the Canadian economy on the oil and gas sector, which has been rocked by a downward price spiral.

Mulcair also chided Harper has being the only Canadian prime minister to have presided over two recessions.

He was referring to the recession of 2008 and the fact that economists have suggested the economy likely contracted in the second quarter of the current fiscal year after also pulling back in the first quarter — a technical recession.

Asked about falling oil prices and the effect on the budget, Trudeau said a full Liberal platform would be released soon.

“We have to recognize that Stephen Harper has put us into deficit right now,” Trudeau said in Belleville, Ont.

He also slammed Harper for not being able to deliver “the kind of growth” the economy needs.

“Right now, with the instability on global markets, there are an awful lot of Canadians worried about their retirements, looking with anxiety at the coming years,” Trudeau said.

“That’s where Mr. Harper’s plan to give benefits and advantages to the wealthiest Canadians has failed to create the kind of growth that we need.”

Just Posted

Joe Hittel rappels down 12 storey building in Red Deer – again

Eighty four year old Red Deerian was not afraid to rappel down… Continue reading

Indigenous nation in Washington State seeks meeting with feds on Trans Mountain

VANCOUVER — The Lummi Nation in northwest Washington state is requesting a… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Weekend hours extended

Things heated up indoors on the Friday of Westerner Days Fair &… Continue reading

Central Alberta author recalls the giant step for humankind that happened 50 years ago

Sigmund Brouwer has written about the Apollo 11 moon mission

‘I’m choosing not to be a victim,’ Danforth shooting survivor says

TORONTO — Danielle Kane struggled with depression in her 20s and even… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

ESPN reasserts political talk policy after attack on Trump

NEW YORK — ESPN is reminding employees of the network’s policy to… Continue reading

Tentative agreement averts strike by Quebec provincial park employees

MONTREAL — A full-blown strike by employees at Quebec provincial parks that… Continue reading

Air Force will end search for missing Quebec businessman and his son

MONTREAL — The Royal Canadian Air Force said Saturday it will gradually… Continue reading

Panel orders federal judge to reconsider Trump appeal

WASHINGTON — An appeals court on Friday ordered a federal judge to… Continue reading

What consumers can do as regulators weigh compounds’ risks

WASHINGTON — The government is trying to sort out how to handle… Continue reading

Technology, temporary help keeps farmers on job longer

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — At 79 years old, Art McManus says he’s still… Continue reading

Standoff on Hawaii mountain is about more than a telescope

HONOLULU — Protesters fighting the construction of a giant telescope on a… Continue reading

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

OTTAWA — A federal program designed to help low-income Canadians file their… Continue reading

Most Read