Canada PM fights off election attacks on economy

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Canada PM fights off election attacks on economy

OTTAWA – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended his government's economic record through two recessions, a month before legislative elections and at a time when polls show his Tories neck and neck with center-left parties.

The two main opposition parties -- the leftist New Democrats and the centrist Liberals -- charged in a televised debate that the Conservatives have made the economy too dependent on raw materials, including oil. “Harper put all of his eggs into one basket, then he dropped the basket,” said New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair.

The economy contracted in the first half of this year, posting the weakest figures since the 2008 global financial crisis. Harpers hailed the result as evidence his government’s low tax and spend policies were delivering jobs and economic growth.

Seeking his fourth mandate in nine years, he urged voters not to support any shocks to a fragile economy. The New Democrats have vowed if elected to roll back Conservative tax credits and raise corporate taxes in order to pay for a national daycare program.

Justin Trudeau's Liberals are the only party to propose plunging Canada back into deficit to finance new transit and road infrastructure spending.

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