Prime Minister and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper found himself on the defensive on Thursday, Oct 2, with the other party leaders combining forces to attack his record on the economy and environment in the Political leaders' English language-debate, the final one, prior to the October 14 election.
Despite the frequent attacks, Harper appeared largely relaxed for the first hour, but occasionally showed the tight smile he displayed in French-language debate the night before.
Throughout the two-hour session at Ottawa's National Arts Centre, the Conservative leader was quizzed by NDP Leader Jack Layton, Green Leader Elizabeth May, Stéphane Dion of the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois's Gilles Duceppe on how he proposes to address Canada's financial situation in light of the U.S. crisis. Layton in particular was notably aggressive on the PM's stance that the government must stay its course on the economy and that Canada's fiscal fundamentals are strong. "The economy is not fine," Layton said to Harper. "Either you don't care or you are incompetent. Which is it?"
The debate also saw Layton laying into Dion, saying the Liberal leader tacitly supported Harper’s agenda by failing to vote down the minority Conservatives sooner: “His policies, your responsibility,” said Layton, jabbing his finger at Dion. “If you can’t do your job as leader of the opposition, I don’t know why you’re running to be Prime Minister,” Layton said.
Read up on the debate:
The Toronto Star article
The Globe and Mail article
The CBC article
The CTV news article