FILE -- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

FILE -- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

Combative Trudeau battles rivals on economy

Trudeau combative, under fire over economic plan in Calgary leaders' debate

  • Sep. 17, 2015 9:00 a.m.

By Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

CALGARY – A combative Justin Trudeau was under fire from all sides Thursday as opponents slammed the Liberal leader’s economic plan as a formula for dumping debt on future generations and raising the taxes of working Canadians.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair took turns throughout the televised leaders’ debate criticizing the Liberal plan to run three years of deficits to pay for everything from infrastructure to transit to pension plans.

Trudeau fended off the attacks by attacking Harper, saying Conservative prosperity has not trickled down to the middle class. Under the prime minister, Canada has had its worst economic growth in 80 years, Trudeau said.

“Are you better off now than you were 10 years ago when Stephen Harper became prime minister?” Trudeau asked in his opening remarks, addressing the camera directly.

“If you think this economy is doing great, Mr. Harper is your guy.”

Canada has weathered the economic downturn better than other countries, Harper retorted.

“I’ve never said that things are great,” he said. “Over the last 10 years … where would you rather have been than Canada?”

Harper accused Trudeau of planning to permanently run deficits while opposing small business tax cuts.

“Running a deficit is not the kind of protection our economy needs,” he said. “We don’t need to spend more just for the sake of being able to say we’ve spent more.”

Mulcair called Trudeau’s plan “reckless” and unsustainable. The Liberal plan would leave future generations with billions in debt, Mulcair said.

“We don’t need the short-term thinking of the Liberals,” Mulcair said.

The two courted left-wing voters, clashing over who should pay more taxes – Mulcair promised to hike taxes and reduce tax havens for large corporations while Trudeau said the Liberals would raise taxes for the wealthiest one per cent.

Mulcair got personal, attacking Trudeau for being creative with his own finances.

“Mr Trudeau, you may be speaking from experience about the shell company you set up for your speaking fees,” Mulcair said.

The pair jousted over Mulcair’s child-care plan to bring in $15-a-day child care, which Trudeau said would take too long to help those in need now because of his promise to balance the books.

“Mr. Mulcair is not making a choice that’s going to allow to invest in his promises. They’re puffs of smoke,” the Liberal leader said.

“You know a lot about that, don’t you, Justin?” Mulcair sneered back – a less-than-subtle reference to Trudeau’s support for legalizing marijuana.

Both Trudeau and Mulcair attacked Harper for not acting fast enough to bring in more refugees. People cross oceans to come to Canada, only to have Harper take away their health care, Trudeau said, and security concerns should not be an excuse to close Canada’s doors.

“Mr. Harper plays (to) fears all the time,” Trudeau replied.

“Fears of others, fears of different communities. We have a prime minister who prefers to pander to fears. That’s not right, sir.”

Trudeau continued the attack while speaking to reporters following the debate, taking issue with Harper who differentiated between “new, existing and old-stock Canadians.”

“The fact that he referred to something called old-stock Canadians demonstrates that yet again, he is choosing to divide Canadians against another,” Trudeau said. “(He’s) undermining new Canadians’ legitimacy. For the Liberal party, for me a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian and it will always stay that way.”

Just Posted

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Rune on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read