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

New apartment building proposed in Tofino

Tim Hackett hopes to build a 32-unit, three-storey apartment building.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation demands transparency from leadership

“Right now there’s a lot of heartache.”

Tofino’s council split on ice rink decision

“I don’t think that’s the highest priority of the dollars that we have for a recreation facility.”

“Intense” storms coming to Tofino and Ucluelet this week

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide.”

Ucluelet’s indoor market keeps vendors humming through the off-season

“It brings people out, which is great and we showcase different talents, which is great.”

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Most Read