If Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t take the necessary steps to address another economic crisis, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says his party will be ready to hold him accountable.
“Once again the world economy is on the break of serious collapse, once again the Conservative government is asleep at the wheel,” Mulcair told a crowd of approximately 300 NDP staffers from across the country in Ottawa for three days of training.
In 2008, the Conservatives introduced a budget update with no measures to address a recession that was already underway, Mulcair said. At the time, opposition parties united. They threatened to overthrow the government and replace it with a coalition but Harper begged then governor general Michaelle Jean to give him some extra time and to prorogue Parliament. Jean granted his wish and when Parliament resumed, eight weeks later, Harper introduced a budget with stimulus measures and extended employment insurance benefits.
“I have a message for Stephen Harper,” Mulcair said. “If you and your government are caught unprepared once again, we will be there to hold you and your government to account.”
Mulcair told NDP employees today's middle class today is suffering like they've never had to before. For the first time, parents will likely leave their children with a society that offers less than what they themselves received, he said.
“Remember, the top 20 per cent in our society has seen their income increase over the past generation, and a lot of people, the other 80 per cent, has seen their income decrease,” said Mulcair. “Inequality is at levels not seen since the great depression despite 50 years of economic growth,” he said.
The Conservatives want Canadians to believe that somehow the quality of life they used to enjoy is now suddenly unaffordable, Mulcair said. But for the first time, Canada has a strong NDP opposition government that will fight for them, he told his cheering crowd of supporters.
An NDP government would take action on the environment, protect old age security and reduce the debt load on post-secondary students, he said. "How is a young couple that begins its life with a $60,000 debt supposed to buy a house?," Mulcair said. "It is too simply unjust."