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

VIDEO: Two people, dog escape house fire in Chilliwack

The early-morning blaze started around 6 a.m. on Third Avenue

Chilliwack Chiefs host Langley as Sardis Sports Complex opens

The BCHL teams will play a preseason game on the new ice sheet Aug. 29.

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Envision Financial hosting barbecue fundraiser at Chilliwack’s Sardis Park to help fire victims

Residents of the Park Ridge apartment building are struggling in the wake of the devastating fire.

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

Chilliwack hosts police from around the world in specialized training

Members of the International Police Association hold training workshop in Canada for the first time

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Most Read