POLITICS

Mulcair: Canada's Military Has No Role To Play In Syria, Iraq Whatsoever

09/04/2015 11:19 EDT | Updated 09/04/2016 05:59 EDT

BROSSARD, Que. — It's corn-harvesting season in Quebec and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair spent some time Friday shucking cobs with senior citizens at a residence on Montreal's south shore.

"Good luck," said one woman, momentarily using her peeling hand

to salute Hoang Mai, Mulcair's candidate in the

Brossard—Saint-Lambert riding.

"You're always so present in the riding," another woman said about Mai.

A beaming Mulcair responded: "I just finished putting some angel (stickers) in his workbook."

As Quebecers collect their crops, the NDP is hoping it has done enough work in the field over the past four years to reap the sweetest harvest of all on Oct. 19: the first federal NDP government in Canada's history.

Mulcair continued his party's strategy of attempting to win votes by contrasting the NDP with the Conservatives.

He highlighted the NDP's pacifist roots — always popular in Quebec — saying there is no military role for Canada's forces in the conflict in Syria and Iraq. It was a direct rebuke to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, who on Friday called the NDP's position on the Syrian refugee crisis a "cop out."

Harper criticized the NDP for its refusal to fight what he said is the "root cause" of the suffering, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"It is deeply wrong and it is out of step with what Canadians believe," Harper said while campaigning in Whitehorse.

Mulcair said no military action could have prevented the deaths of refugees who drowned trying to flee the conflict.

"The NDP disagrees with the use of Canada's armed forces in that conflict," Mulcair said. "We've been clear on that since the beginning."

New Democrats say they would like to get 10,000

government-sponsored refugees to Canada by pulling resources from

various departments, including National Defence.

Mulcair also took time on Friday to note his party's pledges for senior citizens, who, unlike many young people, can usually be counted on to vote.

The party is promising to lift 200,000 seniors out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement by $400 million and returning the age of eligibility for old age security to 65 from 67.

NDP rivals have criticized the party for its hefty spending promises and claims to balance the budget.

Liberal candidate Melanie Joly released a statement Friday warning Canadians that the NDP won't be able to fulfil its promises.

"He can't possibly follow through on his promised increase to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors," Joly said. "He won't be able to find the money for it."

The NDP said Canadians will soon receive a full breakdown of the party's spending promises along with details on how it would pay for them.

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