Mulcair, Harper and Trudeau choose partisan events to discuss Alberta concerns

New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Stephen Harper targeted each other at rallies across Calgary Tuesday in lead up to the Globe and Mail leaders debate Sept. 17.

Calgary’s skies were overcast earlier in the week, as if Mother Nature was reflecting the political storm about to overtake the city.

Mulcair stopped his orange bus at Calgary Confederation NDP candidate Kirk Heuser’s campaign office. Hundreds of supporters stuffed themselves inside the small building on 10th Street N.W., some positioning themselves for a selfie with the NDP leader.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addresses a crowd during a rally at a packed Simmons Building on Sept. 16. Trudeau makes big infrastructure and flood mitigation promises ahead of the Globe and Mail debate set for Sept. 17. Photo by Cameron PerrierMulcair immediately targeted Harper, asking if supporters were willing to replace what he called the “politics of fear and division with the politics of hope and optimism.” He also stated that Canadians have more options aside from alternating between the Tories and the Liberals.

With Alberta voters electing a majority provincial NDP government under Rachel Notley in May, Mulcair hopes to gain ground in the battleground province.

“We deserve better than being told we have no choice,” said Mulcair.

When reporters asked Mulcair about Harper criticizing Notley’s provincial government, he did not hold back.

“(Harper) likes fighting with provincial premiers. I know that in a country like ours that is a federation, we have to work with your partners.”

A few hours later, on the other side of the city Stephen Harper addressed a crowd of over 1,000 supporters at candidate Michelle Rempel’s campaign office.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, speaking at Michelle Rempel’s campaign office, promises Canadians lower taxes, balanced budgets and more jobs. Photo by Josie Lukey

With an enormous Canada flag as a backdrop, Harper targeted the Alberta economy and jobs, noting that economic mismanagement could “make things worse, a lot worse” in Alberta. He added Notley’s government has been a “disaster for hardworking tax-paying families who are trying to get ahead.”

“An NDP government at both levels will destroy the economy of this province for a very long time.”

Harper also questioned his political opponents’ promises to increase the funding of certain programs that could result in higher taxes.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau also made a campaign stop in Calgary ahead of the debate. Supporters sardined into the Simmons Building in East Village for an early morning rally on Sept.16. Flanked by Calgary Centre candidate Kent Hehr and Calgary Confederation candidate Matt Grant, Trudeau announced $50 million in flood mitigation support. He also supported the Conservative promise to fund $1.5 billion for the expansion of the Green Line LRT. On top of that, Trudeau pledged to expand net infrastructure funding to $125 billion over four years, up from the current $65 billion.

“We deserve better than being told we have no choice.” -NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

“We can do this because we’ve made choices different than our opponents,” Trudeau said. “Mr. Mulcair is making promises without details … our plan is not focused on the past weak few months that Mr. Harper has had. Our plan is focused on turning around the weak 10 years of low growth that Mr. Harper has given Canada.”

Waving at supporters in northwest Calgary, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair pushes his $15-a-day childcare plan, noting that his party would form an approachable and transparent government. Photo by Josie Lukey Trudeau also pledged $2.6 billion towards Aboriginal People’s education, as well as implementing an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and all recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

None of the federal leaders mentioned Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who has been excluded from Thursday night’s televised debate. She has promised to ‘join’ the event by live-tweeting answers to questions as they are asked.

The Globe and Mail Leader’s Debate will start at 6 p.m. The event will be live streamed. Twitter users can follow the conversation using the hashtags #GlobeDebate and #Elxn42.

jlukey@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Kelsey Solway and can be contacted at ksolway@cjournal.ca