ALBERTA

Harper Defends Comments Against Alberta NDP

09/18/2015 02:17 EDT | Updated 09/18/2015 02:59 EDT
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended a string of comments slamming the Alberta NDP Friday morning, saying that the party's economic record is a risk the Canadian economy can't afford.

"The NDP in particular is running on the same platform the NDP always runs on," Harper said at a Calgary press conference on Friday. "They come in with billions of dollars of spending they undertake, and they come in claiming they're going to pay for it all by raising taxes. We have seen that that does not work."

Albertans have slammed Harper online after he blamed Premier Rachel Notley's NDP government for the province's current economic situation.

"The Alberta government, the new NDP government, in their first action they are incapable of presenting a budget. They raised taxes … the result is a disaster. It’s a disaster and (it’s) rejected by the population," Harper said in August, prompting the trending Twitter hashtag #HarperBlamesAlbertans.

Notley responded by stating that her party was working against "years of Conservative mismanagement."

Harper continued the attack against Notley's party earlier this week while campaigning in British Columbia, when he blamed the Alberta NDP for the current recession.

The Conservative leader continued that train of thought at Thursday's leaders debate on the economy.

"[The NDP] left Ontario in a massive deficit, they left British Columbia in a massive deficit, Manitoba is in a massive deficit, Alberta's deficit has gotten larger since they took office. The former Saskatchewan auditor general says they left Saskatchewan in a deficit because of tax hikes," Harper said.

"They do not grow the economy, they do not create jobs. They kill jobs and they hurt revenues. We don't want to go down that path," he added.

On Friday, Harper was unapologetic about his debate remarks and reiterated his stance.

He said that when following the NDP's platform, "you lose jobs, you set the economy back, and the budget does not balance. This is the NDP's record wherever they have been. It is their record in British Columbia, it is their record in Ontario, we're seeing the same thing happen in this province, and we simply cannot afford that to happen to this great country."

Alberta's finance minister has brushed off Harper's criticism.

"What I will continue to do is stand up for Albertans and clarify the record whenever anybody tries to muddy the water about our successes as a government and of Albertans in general. Our government is what they voted for and we're following through with that," said Joe Ceci.

Here are Harper's full comments on Notley and the Alberta NDP on Friday:

"Look, we have an election choice before us that is not just very clear, but has great consequences for the entire national economy for the next four years. We're living in a very fragile economy in a period of increased global economic instability. We know what the risks are in that economy. And we are the only party going forward with a plan that preserves our economic fundamentals including being able to guarantee to the public that we are making effective investments in our economy and in our people, while not raising their taxes in any way, taking money out of their pockets, and while not borrowing against future generations — and we believe this is a fundamental choice that is very important going forward.

The other parties are running on vastly increased amounts of spending that they will finance only through combinations of tax increases and permanent deficits. We believe those are risks that the Canadian economy cannot afford.

The NDP in particular is running on the same platform the NDP always runs on. And that is they come in with billions of dollars of spending they undertake, and they come in with claiming they're going to pay for it all by raising taxes.

We have seen that that does not work—when you raise taxes what happens is you lose jobs. You lose jobs, you set the economy back, and the budget does not balance. This is the NDP's record wherever they have been. It is their record in British Columbia, it is their record in Ontario, we're seeing the same thing happen in this province, and we simply cannot afford that to happen to this great country."


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