OTTAWA - The New Democrats on Wednesday accused the federal Conservatives of endangering the fragile economic recovery and called on the prime minister to meet the premiers in an economic forum in November to map out a new strategy.
That prompted the Tories to launch a vigorous defence of their record in the House of Commons, with Government House Leader Peter Van Loan using the opportunity to point to the Harper government's record of lowering taxes as a means to aid low-income families and create jobs.
"We actually believe the solution is lower taxes, not higher taxes," Van Loan told the chamber.
"That's why we've lowered taxes for the average Canadian family $3,300 because, guess what, that is what affects personal families and their personal pocket books and improves their standard of living."
In a fiery speech to his caucus earlier in the day, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of helping his friends and supporters rather than average Canadians.
And in a statement he warned that recent cuts to federal spending made by the Tories will backfire.
"The Conservatives are endangering the still fragile recovery with their reckless cuts to the services on which Canadians rely the most," the Opposition leader said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been boasting about his party's achievements since taking office in 2006, including the creation of roughly three-quarters of a million jobs.
But Mulcair told the first NDP caucus meeting of the fall session of Parliament that Harper's economic record is shoddy, pointing to a record trade deficit in July and massive household debt levels.
Mulcair tabled a motion, to be debated Thursday, that calls on all levels of government to co-operate to build a balanced economy.
The motion insists that Harper meet his provincial and territorial counterparts in November, when they're to hold a national economic summit in Halifax.
"Stephen Harper must change his strategy and work with the other levels of government to create a balanced economy for the 21st century," the NDP leader said.
Van Loan chided the New Democrats for proposing yet another meeting on the economy, saying real action is needed instead.
"What's the NDP plan? Let's have a meeting in a couple of months," said Van Loan.
"That's his idea, more meetings. That's not going to solve the economy."
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<a href="http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2012.09.10_Premiers_CAN.pdf" target="_hplink">Angus Reid Public Opinion surveyed 6,657 Canadian adults</a> from August 21 to August 27, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 1.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Brad Wall - Net Approval +38
Approve: 66 per cent Disapprove: 28 per cent Not Sure: 6 per cent
Alison Redford - Net Approval +18
Approve: 55 per cent Disapprove: 37 per cent Not Sure: 8 per cent
Greg Selinger - Net Approval +7
Approve: 48 per cent Disapprove: 41 per cent Not Sure: 10 per cent
David Alward - Net Approval +3
Approve: 47 per cent Disapprove: 44 per cent Not Sure: 10 per cent
Kathy Dunderdale - Net Approval -15
Approve: 39 per cent Disapprove: 54 per cent Not Sure: 8 per cent
Dalton McGuinty - Net Approval -28
Approve: 32 per cent Disapprove: 60 per cent Not Sure: 9 per cent
Jean Charest (Outgoing) - Net Approval -32
Approve: 32 per cent Disapprove: 64 per cent Not Sure: 3 per cent
Christy Clark - Net Approval -36
Approve: 28 per cent Disapprove: 64 per cent Not Sure: 8 per cent
Darrell Dexter - Net Approval -41
Approve: 26 per cent Disapprove: 67 per cent Not Sure: 8 per cent