Full Text Canadian Political Transcripts September 28, 2015: Transcript of the Munk Debate on Foreign Policy



Transcript of the Munk Debate

Source: macleans.ca, 9-28-15

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left to right, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair take part in the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left to right, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair take part in the Munk Debate. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

What did that the leaders leader say? Here’s where to find out. Read our transcript of the Munk Debate, Sept. 28 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto moderated by Rudyard Griffiths. We’ll keep adding through the evening.

Justin Trudeau, Leader, Liberal Party

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Leader, Conservative Party

The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, Leader, New Democratic Party

Rudyard Griffiths: Mesdames et messieurs, bonsoir. And welcome to the Munk debate on Canada’s foreign policy. Je m’appelle Rudyard Griffiths. Je suis le directeur général de la Fondation Aurea and Chair of the Munk Debates. It’s my privilege to have the opportunity to host tonight’s historic proceedings, the first ever federal election debate devoted exclusively to foreign policy issues.

Tout d’abord, j’aimerais souhaiter la bienvenue à notre vaste auditoire. First, the national television audience tuning in to this debate in French and English nationwide on CPAC and CHCH Television and across North America on Syrius XM and C-SPAN. Also, a warm hello, bonsoir, to our online audience watching this debate right now in French and English on munkdebates.com and on the website of our official media partners, Facebook Canada and The Globe and Mail.

And finally, hello to you, the over 3,000 members of the Munk Debates who’ve filled Roy Thompson Hall to capacity for this special Munk Election Debate. Our ability tonight to host this debate for Canadians from coast to coast to coast would not be possible without your support and the generosity of the Aurea Foundation.

So commençons. Let’s get our debaters out here and our debate underway.

Mesdames et messieurs, j’ai le plaisir de recevoir M. Thomas Mulcair, chef du Nouveau parti démocratique du Canada. (Mr. Thomas Mulcair.

Next up is Mr. Stephen Harper, the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. M. Harper pour le Parti conservateur du Canada.

And finally, bienvenue à M. Justin Trudeau, chef du Parti libéral du Canada.

Well, gentlemen, we are glad to finally have the three of you here on stage. You’ve all agreed to the rules of this debate in advance, and I want to quote as a friendly reminder the rule that leaders will respect each other’s right to speak in order to make points uninterrupted.

So let’s get started. Right now, the world is witnessing the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War as the conflict in Syria and Northern Iraq rages on. Mr. Mulcair, you’ve pledged as Prime Minister to pull Canada’s military forces out of the international coalition fighting ISIS. The question for you is if the threat the Islamic State represents doesn’t justify a military response, when would an NDP government use military force? Vous avez vingt-dix (sic) secondes. Allons-y.

Canada versus ISIS
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Thomas Mulcair (L-R) talk before the Munk leaders’ debate on Canada’s foreign policy in Toronto, Canada September 28, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a federal election on October 19, 2015. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
(Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Canada does have a role to play in fighting the horror that is ISIS. We can help stop the flow of arms, help stop the flow of funds and of course help stop the flow of foreign fighters. There are more than 60 countries involved in the coalition. Canada would remain a member with us, but only 12 are involved in a combat mission.

Pour moi, c’est important de se rappeler qu’ici ce soir on est sur la même scène, dans la même salle où on a dit notre dernier au revoir à Jack Layton. Moi, je veux continuer le travail de Jack et prôner les mêmes valeurs québécoises et canadiennes, des valeurs de paix, de démocratie, des valeurs de solidarité, développement économique durable.

Moi, je pense que la question est de savoir quel Canada on veut projeter sur la scène mondiale. Est-ce que ça va être un Canada fermé, guerrier, pollueur ou ça va être un Canada ouvert sur le monde qui respecte nos valeurs?

We all know that there are a certain number of things that a prime minister has to get right. This election is about change, and there’s no area where Canadians want change more than in that of our foreign affairs. A prime minister has to maintain a good relation with the U.S. Mr. Harper’s lost the respect of the White House. We have to make sure that we have a place on the world stage. We missed our turn on the Security Council. We have to take care of the defining issue of the age, which is climate change. We’re the only country to have withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol.

I’ll defend your values, Canadian values on the world stage. Where Mr. Harper’s failed, we’ll get it done.

Rudyard Griffiths: Let’s now bring Mr. Harper into the debate for a seven-minute one-on-one with Mr. Mulcair on the topic of intervention. M. Harper, quelle est votre opinion sur le sujet?

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Notre réponse à cette crise en Syrie et dans la région est une réponse généreuse, équilibrée, l’aide des réfugiés, l’aide humanitaire et aussi notre participation dans la mission militaire contre le soi-disant État islamique.

We have a balanced approach. We’re giving a generous but responsible refugee policy. We’re bringing additional humanitarian aid to the region, and we’re also obviously participating in the international military effort against ISIS.

Why are we doing that? Not simply because ISIS threatens to slaughter, literally, hundreds of thousands, create millions of additional refugees, but this is an organization that it wants to use parts of Syria and Iraq as an international base for terrorist operations, not just in the region, but also against this country. That’s why we’re there with our allies, and that’s why there is broad international support for this intervention that is necessary not just for the region, but to protect our own security interests.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, it’s important to remember that this is not a NATO mission. This is not a United Nations mission. And Rudyard, to get back to your initial question, of course when it was a question of going into Libya under the United Nations’ Duty to Protect, the NDP voted for those air strikes because it was a UN mission. When that started to morph into something completely different, we withdrew our support.

So the answer to your question is we understand that there will be times when we have to, either under the NATO Charter or under our international obligations with the UN, to use force, and we won’t shy away from that. But the real question here is that the only thing that we can do?

Now Mr. Harper always takes the same approach. And you know, when your only tool is a hammer, all problems resemble nails, but this is a complex situation. It’s one that has deep roots and many years of divisive conflict in the region, and there is one area where Canada is completely failing, and that is in dealing with the refugee crisis.

My own family, the Irish side of it at the least, came over during the Potato Famines of the 1840s, and you what? In Quebec City, people went down to the docks, even though a lot of them were getting sick, and took in the most miserable in the world. That’s Canada. That’s who we are. Catherine’s family, the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain, they were taken in the Muslim countries that are today Turkey and was then the Ottoman Empire. That’s the opening world that we can always aspire to.

Two million refugees living in our NATO ally Turkey. We’re not doing enough to help. There are requests from the United Nations to take in 10,000 by Christmas. Mr. Harper is not even going to get near that number. They want 46,000 between now and 2019. The NDP government will get it done.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: If I could just maybe correct a couple of facts here, first of all, none of our NATO allies — not all of them are involved in the coalition — but none of them are opposed to it. They’re all supportive of our mission against the Islamic state. The United Nations is not opposed. In fact, this intervention is happening at the invitation of the Government of Iraq under international law.

In terms of refugees, Canada’s response has been generous and responsible. We’ve admitted so far 15 percent of all the world refugees from the region. In terms of our response to this recent crisis, even before it was in the headlines, I announced our intention to accept additional refugees. I’ve since announced a number of changes to our system to expedite that number. And we’re doing so while at the same time making sure that we choose the refugees, that we choose those who are genuine refugees, the most vulnerable people and also maintain all standards of security and other screening. This is a generous and responsible approach that Canada is taking.

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, I just – I want to step in here just to refocus the discussion. We’re going to have ample opportunity to talk about the refugee crisis later in this debate. Mr. Mulcair, just follow up more precisely on where an NDP government would intervene and why. What are the criteria that you’re looking for?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sure. I mean it’s happened, you know, because we do talk, believe it or not. The Prime Minister consulted me when France was looking for heavy airlift capacity in a crisis in Mali. I agreed spontaneously. That’s the type of thing that Canada could. I gave you the Libyan example.

But with regard to ISIS, there are things that we can be doing. Canada is one of the only countries in the world and it is the only NATO country not to have signed the Arms Trade Treaty. Now we find ourselves in some particularly curious company here with countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Belarus. And those are not the types of countries we normally identify with, but they’re countries like Canada that have refused to sign that treaty. That treaty, when in force, can help stop the flow of arms to ISIS. We can get a lot more serious, as the United Nations Security Council has asked in successive resolutions — 2170 and 2199 both speak very specifically to stopping the flow of money. We can be involved in that.

And on the flow of foreign fighters, never forget that in Mr. Harper’s failed Bill C-51, which was backed by Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals, there was nothing on deradicalization here at home. The NDP has a clear plan to bring in 2,500 more police officers across the country. We know that we have to work with faith groups of all descriptions, but you know, Mr. Harper always has one group in mind, and he tends to finger-point and objectify one particular group. He doesn’t talk about houses of worship; he specifically refers to mosques. And Muslims across Canada know how to interpret that for exactly what it is.

Rudyard Griffiths: I want to bring the Prime Minister in again.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, let’s be clear that the Government of Canada is pursuing all levels of response to this particular problem, not just refugees and humanitarian aid that I mentioned earlier. We’re pursuing radical – anti-radicalization efforts in Canada in terms of financing of terrorist organizations. We’re involved with a range of coalition partners — the World Bank, the G-20 — working on all of those issues, but none of that explains why the other parties think we should also not take direct military action with our key allies against the Islamic State.

This is a group that not only left to its own devices would slaughter literally millions of people in its wake, but has an intention, a stated intention to attack – to launch terrorist attacks around the world, including against this country and has indicated that it has the capacity to engineer and inspire such attacks. We see that all around the world. There’s no – we have a very clear reason for being there, supported widely by our allies in the international community. Why we would abandon this mission is a question that goes begging. We have to be able to do all of these things: humanitarian support, stop the flow of foreign fighters and funds and also take on ISIS directly in the region, so we keep pressure on that organization so it cannot be using that as a base for terrorist operations.

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, à vous la parole.

Justin Trudeau: Merci beaucoup. D’abord, on est tous d’accord sur – sur cette estrade que l’engagement au Moyen-Orient va être un engagement long terme. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to the situation in northern Iraq and Syria. And what we have here is three different perspectives on what we need to actually do.

Mr. Mulcair has said he doesn’t think we should be in this fight at all. Mr. Harper hasn’t seen a fight in the Middle East that he hasn’t wanted to send Canadian troops into, starting with 2003 in George W. Bush’s Iraq War.

The Liberal Party, as we have in the past, know that Canada has an important role to play on the world stage and should be a strong partner in this coalition, but we disagree with Mr. Harper about the best way to do it in terms of dropping bombs. We think that Canada, as we did very successfully in Afghanistan for many years, as we’ve done in many places around the globe, should be training up the local forces, so they can defeat ISIS on the ground because we know that sending in western troops isn’t always the best possible outcome, and indeed, often makes things worse.

We need to ensure that we’re equipping local people to be able to bring that right to ISIS, and Canada has a strong and real capacity to do that. And that actually ties to something that President Obama was talking about today, which is a call to once again re-engage and revitalize United Nations peacekeeping. The fact that Canada has nothing to contribute to that conversation today is disappointing because this is something that a Canadian Prime Minister started, and right now there is a need to revitalize and refocus and support peacekeeping operations across the country – around the world.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, un instant. I’d like to bring Mr. Mulcair back in.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, as Sergeant Doiron’s tragic death on the front lines reminded us, this is not just a training mission. Canadian Special Forces have been painting the targets for our air strikes. We know that. They’ve been involved in live fire on the frontline. We know that.

The NDP’s taken a clear position on this since day one. We’ve said that we should not be involved in the combat mission. We have said that there are several things that Canada can and should be doing. There are more than 60 countries involved in this effort; only 12 of them are involved in the combat mission. And that’s why we think that we should be stopping the flow of arms, stopping the flow of funds, stopping the flow of foreign fighters. But no, we don’t think that our proper place is in that combat mission.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let’s be clear: Canada’s still involved in peacekeeping in areas like the Sinai. We still contribute peacekeepers around the world. Obviously, there is not a peacekeeping mission to be had right now in Iraq and Syria. And we’re not just involved in an aerial campaign, as has rightly been observed; we’re also involved in fact in training troops. In northern Iraq, we are working with Peshmerga forces who have been an effective fighting force, protecting themselves and other minorities against the onslaught of ISIS. I visited them there, and we’re extremely proud of the work that they are doing.

But the reason we’re also involved in the area campaign is through much of Iraq and Syria there is in fact no ground resistance to ISIS. And the only way to keep them back, to hold them back, keep them in their positions and keep them from simply being able to sit back and plan attacks against us is to keep the military pressure on them. That’s why President Obama and our other allies are involved in an aerial campaign.

Justin Trudeau: The challenge Canada faces in any time we engage the world is to support our national interests in a constructive and positive way, and there’s no question that it’s absolutely in our national interest to help defeat ISIS, to work with international partners on that. But how Canada can best help is by doing more of the kind of training of infantry troops on the ground that we developed tremendous capacities to do in Afghanistan and in other places. That is something that Canada has an advantage and an ability to do on top of the necessary humanitarian and much more refugee support that I know we’ll talk about later. But that kind of engagement around the world where Canada is focussed on the things that we can do differently and often better than anyone else is what we have to get back to.

That’s why this opportunity to re-engage with the 128,000 peacekeepers active around the world right now in 39 different country – or locations is something that, quite frankly, that the President be asking – the President of the U.S., our closest friend and neighbour, is asking for countries to get involved in something that was at its origin a Canadian initiative and that we not be engaged in a constructive way on saying, “Yes, let’s renew peacekeeping and be part of it for a more stable world for all.”

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, since Mr. Mulcair had the first word, we’re going to give him the last in this section.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: President Putin’s statements today are cause for concern for all of us. This is a cauldron. This is a time also for Canadian values to be projected into that situation, our strong desire for peace.

Mr. Harper just talked about peacekeeping. The last time the Liberals were in power we went from number one in peacekeeping in the world to number 32. And under Mr. Harper, we’re now at number 68. We know that Canadians want us to do a lot better, and we will.

The refugee crisis
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper takes part in the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, I want to thank you for a civil and substantive debate in this first topic. We’re now going to move on to our second item to discuss tonight, the refugee crisis. Needless to say, Canadians have been deeply moved during this election by the crisis, the devastating toll that it’s having on women, children and families. Mr. Harper, the question is to you. Can you please explain to Canadians how your latest change in policy reflects an adequate response given the enormity of this crisis? Allez-y. Vous avez 90 secondes pour répondre.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Merci beaucoup. J’ai déjà expliqué que nous avons une approche généreuse et équilibrée. Plus de réfugiés, plus de l’aide humanitaire et on continue la mission militaire contre le soi-disant État islamique.

In terms of the refugee situation, I’ll just outline once again what the government has done. Even before this was in the headlines, we’d announced our intention to accept an additional 10,000 refugees. That’s on top of additional numbers that were already coming and on top of the fact we already have resettled 15 percent of all the refugees from the region in the international community.

We’ve since announced our intention and in fact have implemented changes to expedite the process so we can move those additional numbers in much more quickly, and we’ve been doing so in a way to make sure we pick the most representative, the most vulnerable groups, genuine refugees and that we maintain all standards of security screening.

This is a responsible approach. It’s certainly in line with what most other countries are now doing. In addition to that, we’ve also announced during this campaign the establishment of additional funds for humanitarian assistance. Canada is one of the largest providers in absolute dollars of humanitarian assistance in the region — $800 million directly to the region, over a billion dollars to the wider region.

We’ve announced an additional fund. I know Canadians have responded with a need – with a desire to respond generously, and we encourage Canadians to contribute to that fund. We will match contributions, let us remember regardless of what the response is, to refugees.

The vast number of people will remain in the region and will continue to need our help for the foreseeable future.

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, entrez dans la discussion, s’il-vous-plaît.

Justin Trudeau: D’abord il faut comprendre l’échelle du désastre humanitaire qui existe à travers la planète. Il y a 60 millions de personnes déplacées, de réfugiés et nous devons, en tant que pays qui a toujours aussi bénéficié d’attirer ces gens-là ici au Canada et de faire croître notre économie et nos communautés d’une façon positive, nous devions faire notre part.

Plus que ça, nous devons savoir que dans les décennies à venir, il va y avoir encore plus de réfugiés à cause des changements climatiques, à cause d’autres conflits. Nous nous devons de prendre une place de leadership dans les instances multilatérales pour démontrer comment la planète entière peut répondre aux enjeux des réfugiés parce que nous avons, par exemple, un engagement que nous prenons à trois niveaux.

D’abord, il faut faire plus ici au Canada pour accueillir des gens. Nous, on avait proposé 25 000 Syriens il y a même six mois et on continue de dire que c’est ça qu’on devrait faire pour le début. Depuis des années, je vois M. Harper à la Chambre des communes dire oui, on va faire plus de choses et n’atteindre pas ses cibles.

Deuxièmement, nous devons travailler avec la communauté internationale, avec les pays en proximité que ce soit le Liban, que ce soit la Turquie, que ce soit la Jordanie qui sont en crise à cause des réfugiés syriens pour les aider mais aussi aider les pays d’Europe de s’adapter à cette vague d’immigrants.

Mais nous nous devons aussi de travailler dans les pays d’origine où on peut. Évidemment en Syrie il faut arrêter la guerre. D’abord, on a d’autre travail à faire.

Rudyard Griffiths: Un instant. Laissez M. Harper répondre.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Pendant les décennies passées, le Canada a admis un quart de million de réfugiés — par capita, le plus grand programme de rétablissement des réfugiés de la planète. Dans cette situation, selon les chiffres que j’ai, il y a 15 millions de personnes réfugiées déplacées, peut-être un plus grand nombre dans la grande région.

Évidemment, il n’y a pas une solution juste par la politique de réfugiés. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous avons une approche équilibrée avec beaucoup de l’aide humanitaire. La grande majorité qui reste là et aussi des actions militaires contre le soi-disant État islamique qui sont déterminés de créer plus de réfugiés et littéralement du meurtre des millions de personnes. On doit faire ces trois choses.

Justin Trudeau : Les gens sont unanimes à travers le – quasiment unanimes à travers le pays. On se doit d’en faire plus. Le Canada a toujours bénéficié d’avoir été un pays ouvert qui admet des gens en situation de crise, que ce soit les Ukrainiens au début du siècle, que ce fut les Hongrois qui fuyaient de derrière le Rideau soviétique, que ce soit au niveau des Vietnamiens ou des Ismailis qui fuyaient pour venir au Canada, on a accepté des dizaines de milliers de personnes, et M. Harper aime parler de la sécurité. Mais la sécurité a toujours été une préoccupation et on a toujours su s’en occuper, même dans des situations extrêmes et avec moins de ressources que ce qu’on a aujourd’hui.

Alors cette idée qu’on doit en faire plus, les gens sont en train de le dire, les Premiers ministres sont en train d’en parler à travers le pays, les maires de municipalités veulent en faire plus et ce gouvernement traîne de la patte pour ne pas en faire plus. Et vraiment, quand on regarde des gens comme Rick Hillier en train de dire on peut en faire 50 000 avant Noël, il faut savoir que c’est des voix crédibles qui disent que le Canada se doit d’être encore une fois ce pays que nous avions toujours été.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On a déjà annonce plus. On a déjà annoncé un processus —

Justin Trudeau: (Diaphonie) d’annonces ce n’est pas d’action, M. Harper.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: — processus plus vite qui a déjà commencé. The reality is that Canadians expect us to act in a way that is generous and also responsible. We haven’t opened the floodgates. Some European countries just started letting everybody in, and now they’re trying to reverse those policies.

I’ve asked our officials what can we do to speed up the process, how can we – what kind of numbers can we get in and how quickly while maintaining our security and not literally spending tens of millions of additional dollars. And these are the numbers we’ve arrived at. We’re not chasing headlines. We’ve arrived at it through consulting officials and through proceeding on a program that is, by all standards, generous.

You know, we’ve said 10,000 more. The United States has said 10,000 more. It’s a country 10 times larger than us. I think we’re responding in a way that is responsible and also generous and that’s the responsibility of the government of Canada, not to chase headlines. It’s to make sure we act in a way that we can actually fulfill.

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, we stand here tonight just a few blocks from Ireland Park. Ireland Park was where, in 1847, 38,000 Irish men, women and children, fleeing the famine, arrived on the shore of Toronto. They were 20,000 citizens of Toronto at that time and they accepted 38,000 refugees who proceeded to build and contribute to this country, to this city and to who we are today.

Canada has always done more. It’s not about politics. It’s about being the country that we have always been. C’est à ce niveau-là que vous êtes en train de ne pas seulement échouer à notre devoir en tant que Canadiens mais le monde entier est en train de nous regarder pour dire qu’est-ce qui se passe avec le Canada.

Vous étiez jadis un pays qui recueillait les gens, qui aidait, qui savait que cette diversité que nous aimons des gens en crise, en détresse qui ne veulent que bâtir un meilleur avenir pour leurs enfants et leur communauté. On leur donne cette opportunité-là. C’est ça qu’on a toujours été comme pays et maintenant M. Harper est en train de dire sécurité, il faut faire le minimum nécessaire.

Bien non, ce n’est pas ça parce qu’en plus M. Harper qui parle de résister contre les tyrans et les dictateurs, mais vous savez qui résiste contre les tyrans et les dictateurs M. Harper? Les familles qui fuient pour leur vie qui ont résisté contre la violence locale, qui viennent au Canada. Qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire une fois qu’ils arrivent au Canada? Vous leur enlevez leurs soins de santé M. Harper. Ce n’est pas ça le pays généreux qu’on a toujours été.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On a déjà admis 23 000 personnes de la région. We’ve already admitted 23,000. We’ve had a commitment to an additional 10,000 and on top of that, during this campaign, an additional 10,000 that we sped up the process on. We’re not living in a different era here. We’re living in an era where people are fleeing a terrorist war zone, and we obviously must have security screening.

In terms of the policy on health support for refugees, let’s be very clear here. We have health support of our refugees and immigrants. Where we stopped those benefits is when we have cases of refugee claims that have been turned down, rejected because they were bogus. In those cases we do not provide health care better than the average Canadian gets. That’s the responsible thing to do.

Rudyard Griffiths: Le temps est écoulé. Mr. Mulcair has been waiting patiently. Let’s bring you into the discussion


NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair takes part in the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Merci beaucoup, Rudyard. It’s important for Canadians to remember when we’ve gotten it wrong in the past and why we have to learn from those experiences. The Komagata Maru was pushed back from Vancouver. A lot of those people were killed when they made it back home. They weren’t allowed into Canada.

Far more recently, a boat called the Sun Sea arrived also in B.C. Minister Vic Toews, one of Mr. Harper’s Ministers, said they were terrorists. A great number of them have already been admitted as legitimate refugees. Tout dépend de notre approche — si on est ouvert, si on veut vraiment aider les plus démunis de la terre ou si on veut trouver des prétextes pour ne pas agir.

L’ancien chef de l’état-major, Rick Hillier, a sommé le Premier ministre qu’il a servi d’arrêter d’utiliser à mauvais escient le prétexte de la sécurité pour refuser d’aider les réfugiés. Moi, je pense qu’il faut écouter Rick Hillier. Son expérience, sa voix est raisonnable et ça reflète les valeurs profondes que ressentent tous les Canadiens qui voient cette crise se dérouler.

Je veux ajouter une dernière petite chose, avec votre indulgence Rudyard. Je vais me permettre de rappeler qu’il y a un vrai hiver sur la frontière entre Syrie, Iraq et la Turquie. L’hiver dernier, il y a des enfants qui sont morts de froid. Je n’admets tout simplement pas qu’un enfant puisse mourir de froid, surtout quand dans un pays comme le Canada c’est une chose qu’on ne connaissait pas. On peut bien les aider un petit peu plus. Faisons plus, M. Harper. Il n’y a plus de prétextes possibles.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: M. Mulcair, on a déjà annoncé plus. On a déjà annoncé un système plus vite. We’ve already announced more, already are doing more, but this isn’t just a game of trying to up the numbers. We have to do things responsibly.

I have visited refugee camps in Jordan of Syrian refugees. I have visited refugees in Northern Iraq. I have visited with families we have accepted from these regions. I have met with leaders from those communities, not just in Canada, but from the region itself, and I can certainly tell you from my visits to the refugee camps in Jordan and debriefings there, we cannot pretend there are no security risks.

It is important that we do screening, and those countries in the world that responded to these headlines, as these others would have, by just opening the doors and doing no checking have rapidly regretted that and are now trying to put in place the very kind of system that Canada has been pursuing all along. It’s a generous response. It’s a responsible response. It is not based on the headlines. It is based on the right thing to do.


Justin Trudeau: M. Harper, ce qui manque clairement dans cet enjeu-là c’est tout simplement une question de volonté politique. Quand Joe Clark, Premier ministre, a décidé d’accepter des dizaines de milliers de Vietnamiens qui venaient au Canada qui fuyaient les communistes, qui fuyaient une guerre atroce, oui, ils étaient préoccupés de la sécurité, mais la volonté politique de dire nous devons faire plus, nous pouvons faire plus, a contribué pas seulement à la sécurité de bien de gens et la sécurité économique de bien de gens qui sont venus ici mais ça a contribué énormément au Canada.

Mon père, en ‘72, quand il a accepté les Ismailis venus de l’Ouganda qui quittaient un dictateur affreux, a eu beaucoup, beaucoup de misère à convaincre les Canadiens qu’il fallait accepter ces réfugiés islamiques de l’Afrique, mais les Canadiens ont compris rapidement par le succès extraordinaire de cette communauté-là, qui a contribué à l’essor de nos villes, à l’essor de notre pays, que d’amener des gens ici pour leur donner une chance de réussir c’est l’histoire même du Canada. C’est ce qu’on a toujours fait.

Et M. Harper peut dire toutes ces excuses administratives qu’il veut. Il faut pas en faire plus. Il faut faire attention. Oui, il faut faire attention. Il n’y a pas eu personne sur cette estrade qui est en train de dire qu’il faut pas faire attention. Mais il faut qu’on soit encore une fois le pays qu’on a toujours été pour comprendre que le Canada peut fournir des solutions dans le monde et peut partager nos solutions avec justement les pays d’Europe qui ont de la misère parce que pour nous —

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau —

Justin Trudeau: — diversité c’est une sorte de force.


Rudyard Griffiths: I want to bring Mr. Mulcair back in for our remaining time.

L’hon. Tom Mulcair: C’est extrêmement difficile d’entendre le Premier ministre d’un pays qui a jadis été reconnu comme un des premiers au monde en termes d’aide aux réfugiés et aux plus démunis de la terre dire que tout ça se résume pour lui à une question que les autres sont en train de chercher avoir les titres de journaux.

I don’t accept to hear a Prime Minister of Canada to say that trying to help the most needy of the Earth, help people fleeing a tragedy on a scale not seen since the Second World War, anybody fighting to take more of them into Canada and to help them is somehow chasing headlines. I find that’s disrespectful, but not only for the people on this stage because I think that every one of us wants to ensure security. It’s disrespectful to Canadians and to Canadian values.


Bill C-51
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Mulcair. Le temps est écoulé. I’ll go on to our next topic now. It’s the global terrorist threat. We all know that it’s taken on new urgency with the large scale recruitment of foreign fighters. In response, Canada’s Parliament passed new antiterrorism legislation that critics have attacked as undermining civil liberties and for its lack of democratic oversight.

Expliquez-nous, M. Trudeau, as a self-professed champion of individual freedoms, why did you vote for Bill C-51?

Justin Trudeau: Canadians expect their government to do two things: protect our security and defend our rights and freedoms. That’s what the Liberal Party has always stood for. It’s what we did successfully in the years following the 9/11 attack. We brought forward responsible legislation that went through many amendments and many tweaks before we got that balance right, but we did get that balance right.

Canadians expect their governments to do that in a way that doesn’t foment fears or play up divisions. Now, Mr. Mulcair has had three different positions on C-51. His initial position was to change it. Then a few weeks later, it was to repeal parts of it. And then now, it’s to scrap it entirely. And the one thing he says is that we don’t need to do anything more to protect our security than we have right now, because he hasn’t put any options forward.

Mr. Harper doesn’t think we need to do anything more to protect our rights and freedoms, whereas in a free society, we know that we have to ensure that any time we give greater powers to our police, our investigative, our national security services, we are matching that with an increase of our protections.

That’s why the Liberal Party pushed for strong amendments during the committee process on C-51 and that’s why we’re committed to bringing in Parliament, oversight by parliamentarians, like our other Five Eyes allies, and sunset and review clauses that are going to meet what Canadians asked for, which is defend our rights and protect our safety.

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Mulcair, allez-y, entre dans la discussion avec M. Trudeau.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: When you have convictions, you have to have the courage of those convictions. The NDP took a very strong principled stand against C-51. We looked at it, we knew it was wrong. The same way the NDP was the only party to stand up in 1970 when Pierre Trudeau put hundreds of Canadians in jail without trial, without even any accusation. The only party to stand up against that was Tommy Douglas’s NDP. That’s the courage of your convictions.

When we started our fight against C-51, the vast majority of Canadians were in favour of it. Mr. Harper had done an excellent selling job. By the time it had finished in committee, Canadians understood two things: that it was more to do with the politics of fear and division than anything to do with security; and every single group that came and testified, every expert who came in there and four former Prime Ministers, including three Liberal Prime Ministers, all said it was wrong. The NDP stood up against C-51.


Justin Trudeau: Now I’ll – I’ll – I’ll get to C-51 in a moment, but throughout this campaign, in direct references and in indirect references, both of these gentlemen have at various points attacked my father. Let me say very clearly I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s son, and I am incredibly lucky (applause) to have been raised with those values.

And when we talk about the legacy that my father leaves behind, first and foremost is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has defined Canada as a country that stands up for individual rights, even against governments who want to take those away, multiculturalism that has made Canada a country strong, not in spite of its diversity, but because of its diversity, and bilingualism which, as my father understood, Mr. Mulcair, means saying the same thing in French as you say in English. (Applause.)

And, and one last thing on my father, if you’ll please, Rudyard. It’s quite emotional for me right now to be able to talk about him because it was 15 years ago tonight that he passed away, on September 28th, 2000, and I know that he wouldn’t want us to be fighting the battles of the past. He’d want us squarely focused on the future and how we’re going to respond to Canadians’ needs and that’s what we’re doing tonight. (Applause.)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What we are talking about is Canadian values, the values that guide us when we make our choices. Sorry to hear that Mr. Trudeau thinks that we’re talking about his father in a negative way. I’m talking about historical fact, that the only party that stood up in 1970 and defended Canadians’ rights and freedoms was the NDP. The only party that stood on a question of principle against Bill C-51 was the NDP.

Mr. Trudeau went to the University of British Columbia and said that he was against it, but that he was afraid of Stephen Harper making political hay.

Justin Trudeau: That’s not true. Mr. Mulcair —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s not political courage.

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You have to have the courage of your convictions. And with ––

Justin Trudeau: No, no. Mr. Mulcair —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– and with regard to Mr. Trudeau’s other ––

Justin Trudeau: Once again, ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sorry, you said we were going to be able to speak individually. I don’t mind (laughter) being able to finish my sentence.

Justin Trudeau: Go ahead. (Applause.)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: On Mr. Trudeau’s other complaint, which he throws out there very lightly at every occasion, Radio-Canada did a check of Mr. Trudeau’s complaint, that somehow he has cases where I’ve said one thing in French, one in English. You know what they said? That it was total malarkey. It’s not true.

I say the same thing whether I’m in Quebec City or in Calgary. I’m very proud to know and understand Quebec and have strong support there, but I also know that an NDP government will represent Canadian values right across this great country. (Applause.)

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Mulcair, it’s very clear, we saw it again earlier this week, or last week. In the French debate, you were happy to talk about your decision to – and make it so that separatists could break up this country on a single vote, even though the – the Supreme Court of Canada said no, unanis-, unanimously, but you won’t talk about it with Peter Mansbridge in English, you wouldn’t talk about it at the Maclean’s debate. The fact is you carry two different discussions at the same time, and that is not responsible.

The other thing, however, that Mr. Mulcair has done on C-51 is exactly what so many of us deplore that Mr. Harper has done, which is to play the politics of fear. Now, Mr. Harper, we all know, on C-51, wants us to be afraid that there’s a terrorist hiding behind any leaf and rock around us, (laughter) and we all need to be afraid and that’s why he’s there to protect us. (Laughter.)

Now – fortunately, the podiums are transparent. Mr. Har-, Mr. Mulcair is playing a similar politics of fear, trying to say that because of C-51, with which we have been very clear that we have reservations, but there are elements in that bill that protect Canadian security immediately, and we’re committed to bringing in the changes necessary to get that balance right. But Mr. Mulcair is also playing the politics of fear and division, fear for environmental groups and First Nations, fear that we’re suddenly in a police state, fear that we’ve suddenly ripped up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And we know that that’s not true. The Liberal Party has taken the responsible position of saying we need to do both, security and defend our rights and freedoms together and that is what my father and Liberal governments have always understood. (Applause.)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sharing information on peaceful protests? That’s fair? You want to stand up for that? You voted for that. Going against basic rights and freedoms? You voted for that, Mr. Trudeau. I stood on a question of principle. I’m not afraid of Stephen Harper. I voted against Bill C-51. (Applause.)

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair – Mr. Mulcair– Mr. Mulcair, in committee, there was a concern that people had around lawful protests and it is a concern that we had, and we heard many committee members point out the fact that this was something that needed to get changed. The Liberal Party put forward amendments. They were voted down. The Conservative Party put forward the same amendments and passed it.

But at every step of the way, every single proposal or amendment that was put forward to improve at committee C-51, the NDP voted against. The people playing politics here, striking up fear, talking about police states and taking away our rights are the NDP on this. And I am not apologetic in the least about taking a strong stance that understands yes, ––

Rudyard Griffiths: Okay, Mr. Trudeau, we’re just ––

Justin Trudeau: –– we have to protect Canadian security ––

Rudyard Griffiths: –– we’re down to the final ––

Justin Trudeau: –– and defend our rights.

Rudyard Griffiths: –– moments of this segment. I want to give the last word to Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: First of all, that is completely false. I have never, ever used the term police state.

With regard to our stance, I have confidence in Quebecers that the normal rules of a democracy apply there, and that’s what I said to Peter Mansbridge.

Et c’est précisément ce que j’ai dit au débat français la semaine dernière. Moi, je fais confiance aux Québécois de respecter les règles normales dans une démocratie. M. Trudeau ne le respecte pas.

Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you. Now, I’d like to hear Mr. Harper on this topic. Thank you.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This government is – this government is fully committed to protecting both our freedoms and our security, both of which are under attack from the group ISIS. The threat we face today is not CSIS, it is ISIS. And if we look at, (laughter) – and if we look at (applause) the provisions, the provisions of the bill that Mr. Trudeau actually well defended, give our security agencies pottern-, powers that are similar across the western world.

For example, the ability of security agencies to share information on security threats, to intervene directly through a warrant if there’s a need to, if there’s a plot actually unfolding, the ability to take down websites that attempt to recruit people to terrorist organizations in Canada. These are all important matters overseen robustly by an independent organization headed by a retired judge.

These are not the only things we have done. There’s many other steps we’ve taken on anti-radicalization and, and some other things that have been in the news recently, including the fact that this government is clear we will and have revoked the citizenship of people who are convicted of terrorist offenses who do not need to remain to be our citizens. There’s no reason why we would not do that. (Applause.)

Justin Trudeau: First of all, first of all, Mr. Harper talks about oversight of our security agencies. He put Arthur Porter, who died in a Panamanian prison fighting extradition to Canada, in charge of overseeing our security agencies. (Laughter.) What our other Five Eyes allies do is ask elected parliamentarians to oversee the work of our national security agencies and police agencies.

Canada is the only one of those allies who does not – allies who does not do that. And it’s al-, it is about two things. It is about ensuring that, yes, those police powers aren’t overused and abused, that we’re making sure that – that we are upholding the Charter rights of every individual. But at the same time, it’s also about holding our national security agencies and police to account, to make sure that they are actually protecting us in every possible way. And we need to trust elected parliamentarians to do that job, not simply appointed officials answerable to the Prime Minister.

That’s what an honest and open and transparent government should do, and that’s what the Liberal Party is committed to bringing in. (Applause.)

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Le – le projet de loi C-51 constitue une menace réelle à nos droits et libertés. Et encore une fois, il s’agit des faux choix de M. Harper. Est-ce que vous voulez la sécurité ou vous voulez vos droits et libertés? La même manière qu’il nous dit, par exemple, est-ce que vous voulez l’économie ou vous voulez qu’on s’occupe de l’environnement? C’est pas une question de l’un ou l’autre. Un Premier ministre a l’obligation de s’occuper des deux.

Tandis que M. Trudeau tente désespérément de trouver des manières de justifier le projet de loi C-51, le NPD a pris une position de principe contre ce projet de loi parce que ça entache grièvement, gravement nos droits et libertés de la personne. Ça fait longtemps, M. Trudeau, puis c’est dans l’hymne national, il faut protéger à la fois nos foyers et nos droits.

Ce projet de loi là, de la part de quiconque qui se prétend progressiste, aurait dû faire l’objet d’une analyse serrée pour conclure que ça compromettait nos droits et libertés. Fallait avoir le courage de voter contre C-51. Vous avez dit que vous aviez peur de M. Harper. C’est mot à mot ce que vous avez dit à l’Université de Colombie-Britannique. Essayez pas de changer l’histoire maintenant, M. Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau: M. Mulcair —

Rudyard Griffiths: Oh, non.

Justin Trudeau: — vous savez très bien que moi, ma crainte dans tout cet enjeu-là, c’est que on ait une – une – une élection ancrée dans le débat sur la sécurité. Les Canadiens sont préoccupés par leurs emplois, par nos besoins en infrastructure, par de l’aide pour la classe moyenne et c’est de ça qu’il faut parler dans cette élection. Et la réalité, c’est que nous avons pris la position équilibrée que le Parti Libéral a toujours pris, de comprendre qu’il faut défendre à la fois nos droits et nos libertés.

Now Mr. Harper talked about C-24. He talked about the fact that despite 10 years to do something about it, he just revoked someone’s citizenship today, these past days, convicted of terrorism. And he’s right that the Liberal Party had, takes issue with that because, quite frankly, it worries me when the first response is not this person needs to be in jail, but it’s this person should be given a two-tiered citizenship, that we recognize that someone can be judged differently by our system of laws and rights because their parents were born in a different country. That is not Canadian. And particularly from this Prime Minister who has made a habit of calling out First Nations groups, environmental groups as terrorists, we should be very worried that any Prime Minister would have the ability to revoke citizenship for people. It’s a slippery slope ––

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, il reste plus de temps ––

Justin Trudeau: –– that belies what Canada is.

Rudyard Griffiths: –– il reste plus de temps maintenant. Mr. Harper, please come in. We’re going to add a minute to the clock ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Actually, the —

Rudyard Griffiths: –– to give you the last word.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — the individual in question is already in prison and we will be able to remove him from the country under this law after he is released. That’s the difference. But are you seriously saying, Mr. Trudeau, we never be able to revoke citizenship from somebody?

Justin Trudeau: No.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Is that your position?

Justin Trudeau: No.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Because we revoked the citizenship already ––

Justin Trudeau: We can revoke citizen ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of war criminals. And why would we ––

Justin Trudeau: Yes. Because, Mr. Harper ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — not revoke the citizenship of people convicted of terrorist offenses against this country? This was a bill —

Justin Trudeau: –– because ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — (applause) put forward – this was a bill put forward by a Member of Parliament who is himself an immigrant, Devinder Shory. This is not the standards we expect. Immigrants, Canadians, all of us who are here expect that we would have a minimum bar ––

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– that people would not – people who come here ––

Justin Trudeau: — a Canadian ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– would not be guilty of trying to plan terrorist —

Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Harper —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– attacks against this country.

Justin Trudeau: –– a Canadian is a Canadian ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual in question, Mr. Tru- ––

Justin Trudeau: –– is a Canadian. And you devalue ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the individual ––

Justin Trudeau: — you devalue the citizenship of every Canadian in this place and in this country when you break down and make it conditional for anyone.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual ––

Justin Trudeau: We have a rule of law in this country and you can’t take away —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — the individual —

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, let’s give Mr. —

Justin Trudeau: –– (crosstalk) you don’t like what someone does. (Applause.)

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual in question ––

Justin Trudeau: You can’t do that.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the individual in question, Mr. Trudeau, ––

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, one moment please. Gentlemen —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– was convicted of planning the most heinous ––

Justin Trudeau: And should be in jail —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– and (crosstalk) ever against this country.

Justin Trudeau: And that’s where (crosstalk) ––

Rudyard Griffiths: Un instant, s’il-vous-plaît. Un instant.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: A few blocks – a few blocks from here, he would have detonated bombs that would have been on a scale of 9/11.

Justin Trudeau: The politics of fear once again, Mr. Harper. ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This country has every right to revoke the citizenship ––

Justin Trudeau: — we are not a country dominated by fear.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of an individual like that.

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen. c’est tout.

Justin Trudeau: This is a country of law and rights.


Foreign aid
Rudyard Griffiths: C’est tout. We’re out of time for that segment. (Laughter.) As lively as it was, we appreciate it.

Merci pour ces débats très riches jusqu’à présent.

I now want to change gears and move to the first of our three rapid reaction sessions. I want to start with you, Mr. Mulcair. The NPD is a strong proponent of spending more on foreign aid. Many Canadians, though, I think want to know, Mr. Mulcair, why we should spend billions more when we have so many urgent problems here at home. Make that case to the country.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I think it is a fundamental Canadian value to do more to help the neediest in the world, to help on issues like international cases of poverty, help build democracy in the world, help defend women’s rights. Those are core Canadian values and don’t forget, we’ve dropped by about half the percentage of our gross national income that we’re dedicating now to foreign aid.

We’re down to under 0.25 percent, which is lamentable compared to other countries. I mean, David Cameron’s Conservative government has brought that country up to the 0.7 percent that will be the goal. We’ll set a timeline for that with an NDP government to get us to that important goal of 0.7 percent because Canadians understand that it’s only by investing that we can help democracy, that we can help alleviate poverty but importantly as well we can help build Canada’s standing in the world.

We’ve lost that. There was an important —

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, I want to stop you there because this is a rapid reaction session. Gentlemen, let’s have a three-way debate on this topic. Qui commence?

Justin Trudeau: I want to start, je veux commencer par surprendre quelques-uns sur ce dernier échange. Je veux féliciter le Premier ministre pour ce qu’il a commencé au niveau de la santé maternelle. Le Canada a pris un engagement et est en train de faire une grosse différence en matière de santé maternelle à travers le monde.

Mais ça ne va pas vous surprendre que je déplore qu’il y a huit pour cent de la mortalité des mères reliée aux avortements non sécures et non faits comme il faut que nous nous devons d’aussi être engagés.

Le Premier ministre est pris un petit peu dans son idéologie de ne pas pouvoir faire au complet tout ce qu’on devrait faire pour aider les mères, pour aider les personnes les plus vulnérables à travers le monde de sortir de la pauvreté. C’est pour ça que le Canada doit se réengager à aider les plus vulnérables basé sur la science, basé sur les meilleures pratiques et pas juste basé sur l’idéologie comme malheureusement le fait trop souvent notre Premier ministre.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Pour déclarer le fait, pendant la période de ce gouvernement, depuis le dernier gouvernement l’aide humanitaire, l’aide étrangère du Canada a augmenté par 15 pour cent, mais nous sommes toujours préoccupés du fait que cette aide doit être utilisée de façon efficace et responsable et pour les vulnérables.

Of course one of the things that we have led on, we’re very proud of is our child, maternal and newborn health initiative. We have been able to assemble an international coalition of countries, of international organizations, of private foundations to – frankly, often with minimal investment, to dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality in the developing world.

This is something as Canadians – we are a very wealthy country, it’s something we can do. We know it’s effective and we’re very proud of doing it. I know we have lots of needs of our own but it is in our broader interest that we help people around the world when we can and when we know that that aid will actually be used responsibly and effectively and that’s what we’re always committed to.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, please join.

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Dans les pays dont on est en train de parler il n’y a pas moins de 47 000 femmes qui vont mourir à défaut de pouvoir avoir accès à un avortement sécuritaire. On sait aujourd’hui que le viol est non seulement une arme de guerre, c’est devenu une stratégie de guerre.

Il faut être réaliste. Il faut arrêter avec cette approche doctrinaire qui exclut la gamme complète de droits pour les femmes qu’on est en train d’aider dans ces pays-là. M. Harper, pour des raisons idéologiques, refuse catégoriquement. Moi, je n’admets pas que le Canada ne fasse pas sa part. Ça doit faire partie de notre approche en traitant de ces questions fondamentales.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Ce gouvernement aide des services de santé très généreux mais évidemment nous sommes ici et notre plan est pour rallier le monde. And the reality is of course you can’t – you can’t go out in the world and unite the range of countries we have and independent and third party organizations, NGOs’s that we have and get into that kind of a debate. You need to concentrate on the things that unite people. Saving the lives of mothers and their newborns around the world is a cause that has united people, on which we have made real progress, and we need to keep going in that direction. It’s something we should be very proud of.

Rudyard Griffiths: The last word to Mr. Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau: En matière de développement international le Canada n’est pas en train de faire autant qu’on pourrait. Malheureusement, on n’a pas l’engagement qu’on avait jadis. Mais on a quand même, comme M. Harper l’a souligné, des ONG extraordinaires qui font du travail exceptionnel à travers le monde — des Canadiens impliqués dans Médecins sans frontières, dans Ingénieurs sans frontières, dans bien des enjeux. Nous nous devons de réengager au niveau de la planète parce que c’est dans notre intérêt et on a un apport constructif à amener. C’est ce qu’on va faire. C’est ce qu’on doit continuer de faire pour améliorer le sort des plus vulnérables partout dans le monde.

The Arctic
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau. Merci. Let’s move on to our second topic, our second rapid reaction topic. And Mr. Harper, the question is to you. You’ve made the point of visiting the Arctic every summer as Prime Minister, but under your leadership not one new icebreaker or deep water port has been built, and this at a time when you know the Russians have 40 icebreakers and as many as another 14 planned. What will you do to reassert Canada’s interests in the north?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In fact we’re actually – the work has begun on the deep water port at Nanisivik. We’ve created an army Arctic training centre at Resolute Bay. We’ve increased our ability through purchases in the Air Force to reach the entire North. We’re investing in the RADARSAT constellation system to make sure we have better coverage on that basis.

And of course we’ve expanded the Canadian Rangers who are our eyes and ears in the North. This helps local communities, and they patrol for us. But these are not – I should be clear, Rudyard, these are not the only investments we’re making. Obviously, we’re making sovereignty investments. We’re also making environmental investments, a hierarchy of research stations, the expansion of Nahanni National Park, economic investments like the building of the highway system to the Arctic coast, social investments in adult education and in housing and investments in governance.

We signed a historic devolution agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories to bring governance closest to the people. We are going to continue to make investments across a range of areas and of course we will continue to respond to the threat and to the risk that Russia in particular approaches of course in the Arctic, something we’ve warned about for a very long time.

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Harper, merci. Merci. M. Trudeau, à vous de parler sur le sujet.

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, we’ve all seen the summer photo ops. In January the past year, I went up to the Arctic with my son Xavier, the way I had been able to do as a child, and one of the things in talking with communities and seeing how people are struggling through the winter with inadequate food security, with challenges around infrastructure.

The one thing they keep saying about you up there, Mr. Harper, is your big sled, no dogs. (Laughter.) The challenge that we need to have is to understand that to have sovereignty over the Arctic, we have to support the communities, the people who live there, who have lived there for millennia. That is not what you’re doing enough of. We need to work with multilateral partners.

Obama just convened the Arctic Council in Alaska last month and Canada was almost practically absent from that. We need to take real multilateral leadership on the Arctic and we need to start once again investing in science and research not to find ships but to actually detect what’s going on with the fragile Arctic ecosystems and make sure we’re serving the needs of our country.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. Entrez dans la discussion, M. Mulcair.


Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Any Arctic strategy has to begin with the people of the North. Moi, je suis très fier de dire que demain je retourne à Iqaluit dans la terre de Baffin. C’est une occasion extraordinaire pour nous de se rappeler les échecs de M. Harper, notamment avec la nourriture dans le Nord. Il a démantelé le programme qui fonctionnait avant et on a vu les résultats.

When we brought cases to the House of Commons about people going into garbage cans to find food in the North, his Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, sat there in the House of Commons reading her newspaper.

I think we have to show a lot more concern for the people of the North and we’ve also got to understand that Canada’s Arctic is the frontline of the battle against climate change. As the permafrost melts, we’re letting go a lot of methane, which as a greenhouse gas, is 20 times more powerful than CO2. It’s a catastrophic climate driver, and we’re going to have to start dealing with this issue seriously.

Mr. Harper, of course, doesn’t agree. He doesn’t think there’s a problem. That’s why he’s made us the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. I know that it’s an urgent pressing issue that requires serious attention from a future Prime Minister.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, I have given already a very partial list of the range of the new investments we’ve made in the Arctic. These are, frankly, without precedent in Canadian history across environmental, economic, social, sovereignty, governance dimensions. That’s why Northerners have responded so positively and so supportive to our agenda. This kind of attention was simply never paid to this part of the country before.

If it now awakens the attention of the other parties, I’m happy about that. It’s about time the North defines our country. It’s about time it got support from all parties. I’m particularly proud that we have a remarkable Inuit woman who sits in the Cabinet of Canada. That is a real step forward in this country and a real sign that those people, that the Inuit and the North has really arrived in our country.

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, we’ve got a minute left. I’m going to give 30 seconds to Mr. Trudeau and the last word to Mr. Mulcair.

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about icebreakers but the fact is we are underfunding even the military procurement for our Navy that we need to have right now, which is why I alone have made the decision, of these three gentlemen onstage, to cancel the expensive F35s, to plunge that money, any extra money, so we can still get quality planes at a better price and plunge the extra tens of billions of dollars into our Navy, so that we can once again protect the two-thirds of our coastline that ends up in the Arctic and the one-third of our landmass in the Arctic. Canada needs to re-engage and we need to actually fund it properly, and that’s what Mr. Harper hasn’t done.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. Merci.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have record investments in shipbuilding right now, $35 billion.

Justin Trudeau: And you can’t build the ships you promised.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re going on – we’re going down on – at all of our shipyards, and we do that, Mr. Trudeau, without promising to run deficits and without hiking people’s taxes.


Rudyard Griffiths: Il reste peu de temps. Il reste peu de temps. The last word to Mr. Mulcair please.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Rudyard. Dans le Nord canadien, comme on a pu voir de retour de Kuujjuaq récemment avec mon ami et collègue Roméo Saganash, il y a une crise particulière qui concerne le logement. J’ai vu les maisons avec 18 personnes dedans dans deux pièces. Quand est-ce qu’un enfant est censé pouvoir faire ses devoirs?

C’est une crise sociale et économique qui est en train de faire des ravages sur les prochaines générations. C’est une obligation d’État. Ça reflète nos valeurs profondes canadiennes et j’ai l’intention de m’y attaquer dès que je deviens le Premier ministre du Canada. Ça va être une première priorité de régler une fois pour toute la crise du logement pour nos Premières nations, Inuit et Métis.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci. Thank you, gentlemen. Let’s move on to the last of our three rapid reaction discussions. You’re all aware, I’m sure you’ve thought a lot about this, that the biggest foreign policy challenge of the moment surely is the aggressive and unpredictable behaviour of Russia on the world stage. Mr. Trudeau, if you become Prime Minister how will you deal with Vladimir Putin?


Justin Trudeau: I think there’s no question we have to recognize that Russia has become, as you say, a destabilizing force around the world. He’s destabilizing Eastern Europe with his unacceptable incursions into Ukraine. He is pushing in blocking the achievement of cease-fires and stabilizing and stopping the bombings and war in Syria and he’s being a provocative agent in the Arctic, which requires Canada to stand firm with our multilateral partners to push back with strong sanctions and as a strong part of NATO against that.

Now Mr. Harper has made a big deal out of talking loudly and strongly at Mr. Putin, but the reality is Canada has such a diminished voice on the world stage that Mr. Harper hasn’t noticed that Vladimir Putin didn’t listen to him when he told him to get out of Ukraine, and that is, unfortunately, a reflection of where we are, where we don’t have the impact we used to have in multilateral organizations to push back effectively against bullies like Vladimir Putin.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, it’s fascinating to hear these other parties talk about their fears and their concerns about Mr. Putin. For years, they accused this government of being alarmist as we pointed out to the world the deterioration of democracy and human rights in Russia under his rule and his increasingly aggressive and destabilizing behaviour internationally.

I have met with Mr. Putin many times. Everybody knows of course when it came to Ukraine I’ve made it very clear to Mr. Putin that Canada, this country is never going to tolerate or accept under any circumstances his occupation of the Ukrainian territory. This was a position we took with the Baltic states annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939.

We held to this position with our allies for over 50 years, and when the time came, those countries became independent. I’ve said to President Poroshenko and others that this country will continue to work with our allies to make sure we never in any way recognize or accept Russian occupation of any square inch of Ukrainian territory.


Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The NDP stands four square with the people of Ukraine against this Russian invasion and we will stay there for the long term, but it’s interesting to hear Mr. Trudeau say what he’s going to do with Mr. Putin. Mr. Trudeau, you can’t even stand up to Stephen Harper on C-51. How are you going to stand up to Putin?

Mr. Harper talks a good game with regards to dealing with Mr. Putin, but the fact is that there are two people, Yakunin and Sechin, who are on the list of some of our closest allies, including the Americans. Now Mr. – Mr. Harper has refused to put them on the list of sanctions for Canada. You know why? Because they’ve got important business dealings here in Canada.

He’s going to tell us he’s got a longer list than anybody else. That’s like saying that Paul Dewar is on Putin’s list, which he is, but not going to have much effect. The rest of the people on that list don’t matter much, but these two count. Yakunin and Sechin should be on Canada’s sanctions list. They’re not because Mr. Harper talks a good game about dealing with Putin, but two of his closest allies, two of his closest buddies are not being sanctioned because of their Canadian connections. Mr. Harper is protecting them instead of sanctioning them.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, in fact as was already admitted, Canada has by far the largest sanction list of Russian agents, not just in Russia, but in Crimea and in Ukraine. And the fact of the matter is if anybody is listed by all of our allies, they’re of course listed by Canada. Mr. Mulcair claimed in a previous debate these two individuals were listed by everybody. In fact, they’re not. They’re not listed by the Europeans. We want to make sure that our sanctions are effective, that they punish the Russians more than they punish Canadians. These individuals are not listed by anyone and so, obviously —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: They’re listed by the Americans, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we continue to review – we continue to review —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: They’re listed by the Americans.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — that particular – those particular cases. But no one should doubt, and I think the world has recognized, the Ukrainians themselves have recognized it, no country has responded more comprehensively to Ukraine’s needs whether they be nonlethal military aid, training, humanitarian, financial assistance. I’ve been to Ukraine, met with President Poroshenko right during this crisis. No country, no government in the world has stood with the people of Ukraine any more than this government has.

Justin Trudeau: Canada will continue – and Canada will continue to stand with Ukraine. When I chatted with President Poroshenko in Ottawa along with Chrystia Freeland, who has done an extraordinary job representing Canada in a nonpolitical way to the people of Ukraine and on this issue, we have seen tremendous – tremendous impact locally, but at the same time, we are a country that used to have a lot more influence and when Canada said something we were listened to on the world stage, and that has been diminished over the past years because of our withdrawal from international consensus-building, from working with multilateral partners as a positive, constructive actor in our national interest. And that’s what we need to get back to, so we can make a difference in holding our ground against Putin and against bullies around the world.

Canada-U.S. relations
Rudyard Griffiths: Great. Thank you, gentlemen, for three very good rapid reaction discussions. Let’s now return to our longer format exchanges. I want to begin by focussing on the topic of Canada- U.S. relations. Mr. Harper, you were unable to convince Barack Obama to build the Keystone pipeline. What does this failure tell you about how we should manage the Canada-U.S. relationship going forward?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Barack Obama and I have discussed this particular matter. He said to me there’s nothing he’s asking Canada to do. He’s going to make that decision based on his own assessment of American interests.

Look, this government has worked with two radically different administrations in the United States, and we have worked productively with both. Right now, if you look around the world at the things we have been working on with our partners in the United States, they include, obviously, the mission we talked about earlier against the so-called Islamic State.

We’re working closely with the United States in our response to the crisis in Ukraine and in reassurance to our allies, our Eastern European allies with NATO. We’ve worked together on the Ebola crisis. We have a clean energy and climate change dialogue that we’ve worked productively with the United States on joint regulations in that particular area.

We have a project of unprecedented scope called Beyond the Border in which we are doing more to better integrate our security and try and thin border processes between Canada and the United States, vitally important to our trade. We’re working together, sometimes not always agreeing on international trade negotiations.

Look, Canada has a good relationship with the United States. We work productively overall, but at the same time, the responsibility of the Prime Minster of Canada is to stand up for Canadian interests. Where it’s necessary to take a different position from the United States, we do that.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, please enter into a seven-minute one-on-one with Mr. Harper on this topic.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s very difficult to see how Canada’s superior interests were being served when Prime Minister Harper said to President Obama that it was a complete no-brainer that the Americans had — those were his exact words — that the Americans had to approve Keystone XL.

I know that Keystone XL represents the export of 40,000 Canadian jobs because Mr. Harper told the Americans so. That was the same number that his Finance Minister used. I want to create those jobs in Canada. I think that Mr. Harper takes a wrong approach when he does things like that.

He also informed the Americans that on Keystone XL — and this is another direct quote from him and his government — “I won’t take no for an answer.” Guess what? The answer was no, and you weren’t able to do anything about it.


Now every progressive in the United States is against Keystone XL. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper are in favour of Keystone XL the same way they’re both in favour of Bill C-51. Progressives in Canada are against C-51. Progressives in all of North America understand it’s time to start dealing with these issues seriously and both Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau have failed on Keystone.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I look at the facts of the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m simply citing the report done by the U.S. State Department itself, which actually did an independent analysis of this. It creates jobs on both sides of the border, of course as exports always do. I understand the protectionists in the NDP don’t recognize that, but that’s a fact. It’s good for our energy security, displacing foreign oil from countries that are, quite frankly, security risks to North America. And compared to the alternatives, it is by far the best environmental solution in terms of moving our product to market. We have a strong case.

I would also point out the reason I say this will be adopted eventually is through the efforts of our Embassy and this government we have created overwhelming public support in the United States for this position on both sides of the aisle in Congress, in clear majorities in public opinion.

It is my view that when something – the logic of something is overwhelming on an environmental, economic and energy security sense, that its adoption is inevitable. We will continue to make the case and make the case aggressively. Look, as I say, we far more enough than not agree with our American friends but when we do not, we have to stand up for our interests and we have to be very aggressive and vocal in pushing for Canada’s best interests.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, that’s a wonderful idea, but when you actually need the approval of your colleague for something you’re pushing for, the last thing you should be doing is saying that it’s a complete no-brainer or that you won’t take no for an answer or your closer on this whole thing, which was to tell the American administration of President Obama that if you didn’t get it with this administration, you’ll get it with the next administration.

There’s an old saying, Mr. Harper, that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’ll keep fighting, Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I think you were pouring vinegar by the gallon on the Americans, and it’s not a surprise that they were saying no to you. You’re right, though, that there are times when our approach will be different from that of the Americans, and our job is to stand up for Canada. On issues like trade, like climate, like security, overall, we’re going to be in agreement with them. We do have to stand up for Canadian values, but what’s the Canadian value in exporting 40,000 Canadian jobs to the U.S.? It doesn’t make any sense.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know, Mr. Mulcair, this is – it’s really fundamental. It is amazing that the NDP actually believes that because we export our products and that helps create jobs elsewhere, that’s somehow bad for Canada. The reason trade is so important is it creates economic opportunities on both sides of the border.

You know, I personally have people who – friends who work in this industry, ordinary families who depend on the revenue from this industry. The industry and labour organizations in both the United States and Canada are supportive of this. Labour unions in Alberta say the NDP’s position on this is wrong. You can’t – we cannot take, in the modern global economy of the 21st century, an ideological opposition to trade. Being able to sell our energy products, our other products around the world, is a good thing for Canada.


Hon. Thomas Mulcair: This is a very old hat approach from the Conservatives. This is the same approach that’s failed in the past where we rip and ship our natural resources in as raw a state as possible and send them to another country.

The way to build for the future sustainable development of our resources includes basic principles like polluter pay, which Mr. Harper has never applied, which includes putting the cost to the environment, the climate, the greenhouse gasses into your evaluation. We don’t have a complete thorough credible environmental assessment process left in Canada.

And by the way, Mr. Harper has failed, not only in the United States with Keystone, but on his watch there’s not a single kilometre in 10 years of pipeline that’s been built in Canada, and there’s a reason for it. You can force the matter and gut environmental legislation like he did, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk, Fisheries, but unless the public’s onside, it’s not going to get built, and that’s what’s happened. Mr. Harper has only himself to blame. We’ve got to start adding value to our resources here in Canada.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: (Crosstalk) jobs here.

Rudyard Griffiths: — we’ve gotten – we’ve gotten off topic here, so I’d like to now bring in Mr. Trudeau for his thoughts on the Canada-U.S. relationship. And, gentlemen, that’s what I want us to focus on in this section.

Justin Trudeau: Our relationship with the U.S. is the most important foreign relationship that Canada has. How the Prime Minister can work with the President is at the top of the list of what a Prime Minister needs to get right. They’re our most valuable and trusted ally. They’re our nearest neighbour, and they’re our most important trading partner.

How we engage to ensure that there are jobs for Canadians and economic growth is deeply wrapped in how we’re getting along. Unfortunately, Mr. Harper has narrowed the entire relationship with the United States to a single point around the Keystone XL pipeline, and he went to New York and criticized and harangued the President.

That is not the kind of relationship we need because not only does it not get the outcome that was desired of getting an approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, it also interferes with our capacity to deal with other issues because it’s, quite frankly, all Mr. Harper and his Ministers wanted to talk to the U.S. about.

Whether it’s Buy American, whether it’s the auto sector and the TPP negotiations going on, whether it’s just jobs and growth for Canadians, the fact is that Canadians are sitting around worried about their jobs because we have a Prime Minister that doesn’t like Barack Obama.

We need to do much better than that and that personal relationship that Mr. Harper has had difficulty creating, not just with the U.S. President, he doesn’t share his ideology but with Premiers across the country and municipalities and a wide range of people. It’s injuring these relationships that mean jobs and growth. How we build our industry depends on the U.S.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, let’s – let’s bring in Mr. Harper to reply.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have a great relationship with the U.S. Administration. I have a great relationship with President Obama. (Laughter.) And by the way, the Americans have never said otherwise and neither have we. This is just an invention. In fact, what we have actually been able to do is stand up for our interests on things like Keystone while pursuing a broad range of initiatives with our American partners.

Now, I ask you to look at the alternative. Imagine first day of office that we would have a Prime Minister who would say to the United States, “We are pulling out of the joint military mission against the Islamic State. And why? Because you, Mr. Obama, are continuing the policies of George W. Bush.” Seriously, if you really want to poison the relationship, that would be the way to do it. We are acting with the Americans around the world, and we share interests.


Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, I want to – I want to ask Mr. Mulcair to respond to that because it goes right to the heart of his policies regarding the Islamic State and the international coalition, so please.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: And our relation with the United States.

Rudyard Griffiths: Exactly.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s interesting to hear the Prime Minister cite our allies only when it suits his purpose, and it’s not based on a question of values. So in the case of fighting the Islamic State, he’ll say, well, we have to do the same as the Americans, the British and the French because they’re involved in this combat mission.

When it comes to the deal that France, the United States and Great Britain helped ensure that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were peeled back, Mr. Harper attacks that as being wrongheaded. So it’s not a question of the fact that some of our allies agree and some of us don’t. We just said the same thing, Mr. Harper, that when it’s not in Canada’s interests, we’ll stand up for what Canada needs. And I know that Canada can get back to being a voice for reason.

I want to put Canada on track. I want us to be able to fight the flow of arms, fight the flow of money, fight the flow of foreign fighters, but I also know that an independent Canadian foreign policy means that fundamental Canadian values like fighting harder for peace than for war is what I will bring to my tenure as Prime Minister.

Rudyard Griffiths: We’ve got a minute left and I want to give you the last word on this topic because you came in first. Mr. Harper, please.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have congratulated our allies on working to get a deal with the Iranian regime, but the proof of that will obviously be in the implementation of that deal. We will believe Iran’s words and not its actions and I think our allies will take a very similar position.

I fully admit that we don’t always take the position of our allies. Sometimes, we take our positions based on what we believe are principles. Let me give you a clear example. This government has been perhaps the most unequivocal in the world on the fact that when it comes to the Middle East, we are not going to single out Israel. It is the one western democratic ally. Threats that are directed at that state is on the frontline of the threats directed at us. We are not going to single out the Jewish state for attack and criticism. We recognize unequivocally the right of Israel to be a Jewish state and to defend itself.


Rudyard Griffiths: Last word to Mr. Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau: The issue of Israel where we most disagree as Liberals with Mr. Harper is that he has made support for Israel a domestic political football when all three of us support Israel and any Canadian government will.


But on the question of the U.S. relationship, what we need to make sure is that we continue to engage as a robust member of the coalition fighting to defeat ISIS. There are many countries that don’t have a direct combat role and Canada has proven time and time again that we can contribute. And for our closest friend and allies in the U.S., to relaunch UN peacekeeping today and not have Canada stepping up to say yes, this is a Canadian thing that we can do well and we will support is yet another missed opportunity to have that positive relationship which ultimately means more jobs and more growth for Canadians.

Climate change
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, gentlemen. We’re going to move on to our next topic. In a matter of weeks, we all know world leaders will gather in Paris to negotiate a new global climate change agreement. Mr. Trudeau, Liberal and Conservative governments alike have failed to meet their international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Why should Canadians believe that your government will be any different?

Justin Trudeau: Nous reconnaissons que le défi auquel les gens s’attendent qu’on adresse en tant que gouvernement, c’est de comprendre que l’environnement et l’économie vont ensemble. Nous ne pouvons plus les séparer, et d’ailleurs quand on n’a pas agit en matière de réduction de gaz à effet de serre pendant long-, de longues années, ça nuit à notre économie, ça nuit à nos relations avec les États-Unis. Ça nuit avec nos relations internationales.

Donc, ce que le Parti Libéral dit, ce que je dis maintenant, c’est on met de côté ce jeu politique d’annoncer des cibles optimistes et ambitieuses sans avoir aucun plan pour les livrer. Et nous, ce qu’on a fait le choix de faire c’est d’investir massivement de façon à réduire nos émissions. On parle de 20 milliards de dollars sur 10 ans à investir dans le transport collectif, ce qui va réduire nos émissions en matières de transport. On parle de 20 milliards de dollars sur 10 ans en infrastructure verte et durable pour qu’on puisse arriver à réduire notre impact en gaz à effet de serre.

Et aussi, nous allons investir des centaines de millions de dollars pour développer des technologies vertes de l’énergie propre. Et dans tout ça, nous allons travailler avec les provinces parce que la réalité, c’est que de – dans 10 ans de M. Harper, les provinces ont dû y aller seules. Et on a quatre provinces qui ont mis un prix sur le carbone de différentes façons, et nous nous devons d’avoir un gouvernement fédéral là pour les appuyer, là pour présenter un front uni à Paris dans quelques mois pour démontrer que le Canada est de retour sur la bonne voie.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. M. Harper, allez-y, entre dans la discussion avec M. Trudeau.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Je peux dire que pour la toute première fois de l’histoire, pendant la décennie passée, le Canada a eu une croissance économique avec une réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre.

And that’s the first time in history that has happened in the past decade. We’ve had economic growth, but we’ve also had a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

As pertains to the conference coming up in Paris, you know, when we came to office a decade ago, we took a position that was considered very radical, opposed by the other parties and by many in the international community. We said that an effective international protocol had to include targets for all major emitters. We now – the Chinese and the Americans who were not a part of the previous protocol are now committed to moving forward with that.

And I am very optimistic. We have established targets very, very similar to our major partners. We’re working with the United States and others, particularly the United States on – on regulatory systems on greenhouse gas emissions, and I am very optimistic we will reach a historical accord in Paris this year.

Justin Trudeau: Vous savez, il, il dit ça, il parle comme ça tout le temps, comme si le Canada est un leader en matières d’environnement. Je pense qu’il commence même à se croire (rires) là-dessus.

La réalité, c’est que tout le monde le sait que M. Harper n’a pas compris un élément de base fondamental: que l’environnement et l’économie, ça va ensemble. Si vous – nous allons, si nous allons créer les emplois de l’avenir, la prospérité économique durable pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants, nous nous devons de faire nos devoirs au niveau de l’environnement, protéger notre terre, nos eaux, notre – notre air.

Malheureusement, M. Harper, parce qu’il a rien fait sur l’environnement depuis 10 ans, est en train de nuire à notre économie. On n’arrive pas à exporter nos ressources vers les marchés. On est en train de – de se faire traiter de – de – de lâches et de nuiseurs sur – à l’échelle internationale parce qu’on est obstructionniste dans les négociations au niveau des changements climatiques.

La réalité, c’est que tout le monde le sait. On n’est nulle part sur l’environnement. Les Canadiens sont frustrés, le monde entier est frustré envers le Canada. Il est temps que ça change. Il est temps qu’on ait un Premier ministre qui se tient debout, qui comprenne que l’environnement et l’économie, ça va ensemble.


Le très hon. Stephen Harper: La chose incroyable, que nous avons pour la première fois une réduction de gaz à effet de serre et un vrai plan de réglementation. On a pris des actions. Comparez ça avec le bilan que défend M. Trudeau de l’ancien gouvernement qui a eu le pire bilan de – de – d’augmentation de gaz à effet de serre du monde.

Let’s, let’s talk about the Liberal record on this. Greenhouse gas emissions have actually gone down ––

Justin Trudeau: Talk about 10 years with you.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– under our government. Under the previous government, they established the toughest standards in the world, and then missed them by the most of any single country. They were 30 percent over their targets. And when we got to office, they didn’t have a single plan to achieve anything.

Justin Trudeau: That’s not true.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have moved forward ––

Justin Trudeau: You know that’s not true, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– we have moved forward on regulatory matters in the transportation sector and the electricity centre – sector, and we’re going to continue to move forward. We have a real plan. We’re taking actions. And by the way, we’re doing that without imposing carbon taxes on the Canadian population.


Justin Trudeau: Non. M. – M – M. Harper, ce que vous – vous reconnaissez pas, c’est que ils ont déjà 86 pour centre de notre économie a annoncé un prix sur le carbone parce que malgré votre inaction totale en matières de réduction de gaz à effet de serre – et vous aussi, vous avez mis de l’avant des cibles qui ne seront pas rencontrées et c’est pour ça que nous, nous mettons de l’argent devant, et pas des cibles devant.

Vous avez, dans votre – vos années d’inaction, vu quatre différentes provinces prendre le leadership nécessaire. La Colombie-Britannique a une taxe sur le carbone extrêmement bien réussie. Votre province de l’Alberta a fait la même chose de leur façon. L’Ontario et le Québec s’engagent dans une bourse du carbone. Nous avons un leadership réel des provinces qui n’attendent qu’un gouvernement à Ottawa les appuie et comprennent que nous avons du travail à faire ensemble aussi.

Mais vous, vous préféreriez vous, vous obstruc-, vous – vous asseoir pour ne pas regarder ce qui doit être fait et la réalité c’est qu’on est en train d’en perdre à tous les jours dans notre réputation internationale. En 2008, quand Barack Obama est venu à Ottawa pour la première fois, il a parlé justement de – d’un – d’une approche continentale intégrée, mais vous n’avez rien fait avec lui depuis ce temps-là et là, les États-Unis y vont tous seuls parce que le Canada ne fait pas partie de la solution.

Nous, nous voulons nous réengager avec les États-Unis, avec le Mexique pour avoir une approche réellement intégrée sur l’énergie, sur l’environnement, sur la croissance économique que nous pouvons faire ensemble. C’est ça le leadership que vous n’avez pas eu depuis 10 ans.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On – on ne va jamais pris (sic) – on ne va jamais tirer des leçons du parti avec le pire bilan de l’histoire de la planète sur les émissions de gaz à effet de serre. C’est le Parti Libéral de Ca-, du Canada.

But let’s talk about what we actually have done. We talk about the meetings with Mr. Obama. We have embarked on a system, what we – what we are doing in our government is we are not – we are making sure we know exactly where we’re going to reduce emissions in a way that preserves jobs and doesn’t impose costs on consumers. We’re proceeding with a sector by sector regulatory approach. In the transportation and other sectors, methane and oil and gas, for example, we are proceeding in collaboration with the United States.

In the electricity sec-, sector, we’ve actually proceeded in collaboration not with the United States but with our provinces, on a position that is frankly going farther and faster than the United States. We will be the first country in the world to effectively shut down coal-fired – traditional coal-fired electricity. The biggest single source of emissions on the planet are being eliminated in Canada. We’re going to have the cleanest energy sector and we’re doing that without imposing taxes on ––
Justin Trudeau: Mr. – Mr. ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Canadian consumers.

Justin Trudeau: –– Mr. Harper, you do see the irony of standing here in Toronto and trying to tell people in Ontario that you somehow supported and aided the closing down of the coal-fired plants here in Al-, in – in Ontario. (Applause.) You and your government fought tooth-and-nail against the Ontario government as it was demonstrating that it could reduce its emissions by the most significant degree of any jurisdiction in the country by making a simple policy decision that you were no part of and even blocking and ridiculing ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Ac-, actually ––

Justin Trudeau: –– from your – from your gang in Ottawa.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Mr. Trudeau, actually, that’s, that’s just ––

Justin Trudeau: –– and then, at the same time, now taking credit for it.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– factually untrue. We have – we have ––

Justin Trudeau: Mr. – Mr. Harper, (applause) these people know better than what you’re trying to say.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– put in place at the national level, it’s a binding system of regulation in collaboration not just with the province of Ontario, but Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, all of the provinces that use coal-fired electricity. It’s an example of collaboration. We’re eliminating coal-fired electricity. And guess what? You talk about the United States. Emissions from their coal-fired electricity sector, from their electricity sector are bigger than emissions from the entire Canadian economy. We’re leading the world on this fa-, on this sector.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Harper. Allez-y, M. Mulcair, entres dans la discussion avec eux deux.

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: En fait, ça risque de surprendre quelques-uns, mais M. Harper a totalement raison lorsqu’il dit que les Libéraux ont utilisé leur signature de Kyoto comme exercice de relations publiques. Il a aussi raison quand il dit que l’ancien gouvernement Libéral avait le pire bilan sauf Kazakhstan, sauf erreur de ma part. Sauf que c’est pas un prétexte de continuer de rien faire.

I have a track record that you can easily refer to. Those figures are published. Every year that I was the Minister of the Environment in Quebec, I actually was able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec. We had a clear plan to do it. The NDP has a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. We’re going to be basing ourselves largely on the successful cap-and-trade model that we used in Canada and in the U.S. to reduce SO2 emissions that was causing a-, acid rain. It works.

But if provinces have been doing something else that also works, we’re not going to be imposing the detail of the means to get there. What we’re going to be talking about is the combined obligation of result. No more excuses possible. No more fake stuff from the Liberals, no more pretending ––

Justin Trudeau: Fourteen billion dollars in infrastructure isn’t fake, Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to do things from the Conservatives. The NDP will get it done. I have that track record. We have that clear plan. These will be hard caps, there’ll be real limits and they will be enforced. (Applause.)

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair is yet again making the kinds of announcements that aren’t following up – aren’t followed up by any real plan to achieve this because Mr. Mulcair has taken the decision that what he has to do at all costs is balance Mr. Harper’s budget. He cannot make the kinds of investments that the Liberal Party is choosing to make in the kinds of things that Canada needs right now because yes, we have chosen to run three modest deficits to balance the budget by 2019 because the time to invest is now. The time to take action on climate change is now.

These are the choices that we’ve made that you, quite frankly, cannot make. And even as you approached, as you announced with tremendous strength and pomp your – your climate change plan ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I leave the pomp to you, Justin.

Justin Trudeau: –– we have (laughter and applause), we have your friend and – and ally, the NDP Premier of – of Alberta who said that you know what? She’s not so crazy about your approach on climate change reductions. When you can’t even get an NDP Premier to endorse your environmental plan, you know you’re in real trouble, Mr. Mulcair. (Applause.)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Actually, Mr. Trudeau, Alberta is of one mind with us on the obligation of result. But this is about sustainable development. And when you say that your only way of governing is going to be dump a massive economic debt on the backs of future generations, you’re right. We strongly disagree with you because Mr. Harper has left a huge ecological debt on the backs of future generations. And the last time the Liberals were in power with their 24 percent cut to social and health transfers, that left a huge social debt on the backs of future generations.

The NDP has the best track record of any party in Canada for balanced budgets. When we took over Saskatchewan with Tommy Douglas, and for (laughter) when we took, oh you’re right, you’re right, I forgot I was in Toronto, there was one exception but it turned out that Bob Rae was a Liberal. (Laughter and applause.)

Tommy Douglas took over a Saskatchewan that the Liberals had left in bankruptcy, ran 17 consecutive balanced budgets in a row and brought in free universal public medical care.

Justin Trudeau: You know ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: When we bring in $15 a day quality child care, it won’t be on the backs of ––

Justin Trudeau: –– in years from now —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– future generations.

Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, gentlemen, I’m going to have to jump in here. We ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It will be on your basis of a solid foundation ––

Rudyard Griffiths: –– have gone from climate change to balanced budgets.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– of balanced budgets.

Rudyard Griffiths: This is a foreign policy debate. We had an economics debate (laughter) the week before last. So let’s re-centre the discussion in our remaining moments. Mr. Harper, back to you on ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, just very briefly ––

Rudyard Griffiths: –– climate change and the Paris negotiations.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– both of these parties will never actually lay out precisely where it is they intend to reduce emissions. The advantage of proceeding sector by sector is you actually know what you’re going to do and you’re able to – able to make sure you minimize the cost on jobs and the Canadian economy. We’re also investing ov-, a billion a year, have been for 10 years on green energy and energy efficiency.

The only real policies ever proposed by either of these parties are effectively carbon taxes where we would hit consumers. And frankly, carbon taxes are not about reducing emissions. They’re about raising revenue for the government. The case of – Mr. Trudeau’s right, in the case of Mr. Mulcair’s plan, it’s already been rejected by an NDP government in Alberta.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s not true.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That tells you where it’s going.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Completely false.

International trade
Rudyard Griffiths: Okay, gentlemen, we’re going to wrap up that topic and move on to our final long form discussion.

Mr. Mulcair, I want to start with you. Your party is opposed publicly to making concessions on supply management and aspects of auto manufacturing in the context of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Does this mean that under an NDP-led government Canada would be locked out of some of the world’s fastest-growing markets?

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Merci beaucoup. Regardes, oui, plus tôt cette semaine, j’ai eu l’occasion de parler avec Marcel Groleau qui est le président de l’Union des producteurs agricoles. Et comme nous, il est très préoccupé parce que j’ai écrit au Premier ministre Harper, le sommant de s’engager clairement sans ambages à défendre intégralement notre système de gestion de l’offre, qui est un système dont on peut être fier.

Quand on se compare aux autres qui subventionnent à qui mieux mieux, on n’a pas d’excuses à donner pour notre système de gestion de l’offre. Alors les fermes avicoles, les fermes de production laitière à travers le Québec et dans le Sud de l’Ontario et ailleurs au Canada sont extrêmement préoccupées parce qu’ils savent qu’avec trois semaines avant l’élection tout est permis.

After we finished the last debate, Mr. Harper went public and he said if you’re in the auto sector, you should be worried about what he’s negotiating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On Mr. Harper’s watch, we’ve already lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs. There are 80,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs in the auto sector. What’s on the table?

When President Obama wanted to discuss this this week — this is how good the relationship is — he phoned the President of Mexico. We were frozen out. I’m quite concerned about what’s being left on the table by the Conservatives. And our dairy farmers have every right to be concerned; I think that supply management is on the table. And Mr. Harper doesn’t keep his word on these things. Ask anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador. When he got their approval for the European trade deal, it was on a promise to give them money to compensate what they were giving up in terms of processing a fish. And you know what? He broke his promise.

Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, quelle est votre opinion sur la question?

Justin Trudeau: Bien, c’est sûr que nous avons pu signer bien des accords à l’international sans mettre en danger notre – notre système agricole de gestion de l’offre. La réalité c’est que M. Harper, comme il a toujours fait, est en train de démontrer un manque complet de transparence, pas en train de dire ce qu’il est en train de faire, et comme M. Mulcair le souligne bien, M. Harper régulièrement est en train de briser sa parole sur – revenir sur sa parole sur bien des enjeux au niveau de promesses faites en matière de commerce international.

Nous avons besoin d’accords de commerce international. On sait que c’est bon pour les emplois. On a besoin d’attirer de l’investissement. C’est la réalité que nous devons, et on peut pas faire semblant non plus que le monde est un marché libre en termes d’agriculture. Nous – on a – on a un système qui fonctionne, et on a signé des accords très importants sans le mettre en péril. Mais nous avons besoin de ces accords-là. Nous avons besoin d’attirer de l’investissement étranger. Nous avons besoin pour créer des emplois ici au Canada.

Vous savez que des secteurs qui – manufacturiers et exportateurs paient 50 pour cent plus élevé en salaires aux Canadiens de la classe moyenne que les secteurs qui n’exportent pas. Le commerce international est essentiel pour le Canada. M. Harper aime bien parler de son appui et des accords qu’il a signés, mais notre – nos exportations ont eu le pire taux de croissance sous son gouvernement depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale. Il n’est pas en train de livrer à ce niveau-là.

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Moi, je vais vous dire que lorsqu’on regarde le bilan des libéraux en la matière, rappelez-vous pour se faire élire Jean Chrétien avait promis dans son Livre rouge, le même Livre rouge où il avait promis d’abolir la TPS — vous vous souvenez du Livre rouge? Dans ce Livre rouge c’était écrit qu’il allait déchirer l’Accord du libre échange nord-américain dès qu’il format un gouvernement. Il a évidemment rien fait de la sorte.

C’est pour ça qu’il faut faire tellement attention avant de les signer parce qu’une fois que c’est mal trissé, une fois que ça rentre dans les moeurs, une fois que tout le monde dépend, c’est extrêmement difficile de toucher.

Il y a des aspects de l’ALÉNA, notamment en ce qui concerne la capacité de l’État de protéger la santé et l’environnement qui ont causé problème — le chapitre 11 était un vrai défi. M. Trudeau a dit qu’il appuyait l’entente avec l’Europe avant de l’avoir lu. Comment je sais qu’il l’avait pas lu? Parce que ça avait pas encore été publié. Il s’est levé à la Chambre des communes pour féliciter chaudement M. Harper pour son entente avec l’Europe. Il y a des aspects de cette entente-là, comme les dispositions sur l’État investisseur, qui nous préoccupent et qui préoccupent plusieurs pays de l’Europe. C’est pour ça que même s’il l’a déjà annoncé une demi-douzaine de fois, il y a pas encore d’entente avec l’Europe.

On va arrêter de faire semblant qu’on peut avancer juste à coup de slogans de la part des conservateurs ou sans les avoir lus. Moi, je n’accepterais jamais sur des questions cruciales d’environnement ou de santé ou autres que je laisse un panel non défini d’experts internationaux commencer à décider ce que je devrais avoir le droit de décider dans l’intérêt du public. Ça c’est une valeur fondamentale canadienne de maintenir l’autorité de l’État de prendre ces décisions-là dans l’intérêt du public.

Justin Trudeau: Vous savez, M. Mulcair on le sait est en train d’essayer de changer le NPD pour être plus à son image, mais la réalité c’est que il a encore énormément de difficulté à comprendre que nous avons besoin des accords de commerce international pour bâtir un avenir plus fort pour nos travailleurs, pour notre économie. Le Parti NPD n’appuie aucun accord de commerce international qu’on a signé dans les années récentes. Il est – ah, non, c’est vrai, il en a appuyé un avec la Jordanie. C’est le seul qu’il a accepté.

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: C’est faux.

Justin Trudeau: La réalité c’est que c’est un gouverne-, c’est un parti qui a toujours – n’a pas compris à quel point c’est important d’attirer de l’investissement envers le Canada, d’avoir des marchés pour l’exportation, d’être engagé avec les économies grandissantes de l’Asie. Nous avons un besoin d’être engagés. Et oui, le Parti libéral est – croit fermement aux accords internationaux. Nous savons que c’est essentiel pour la croissance économique, pour créer des bons emplois pour les Canadiens. C’est pour ça que nous avons applaudi l’accord Canada-Europe. Mais effectivement, comme beaucoup d’autres accords, M. Harper n’a pas fini de livrer encore. On n’est nulle part avec la Chine, même si l’Australie vient juste de signer. On est en tout début avec l’Inde, malgré le rapprochement que M. Harper a essayé de faire récemment avec le Premier ministre. Et avec les États-Unis, on en souffre au niveau de l’échange du commerce international.

Mais la réalité c’est que je viens de penser, oui, il y a un enjeu que M. Mulcair veut entrer en échange avec les États-Unis et ça c’est l’exportation de l’eau en vrac.

Mr. Mulcair, 20 years ago, proposed that we export — as Minister of Environment in Quebec — proposed that we export bulk water —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false, Justin, and you know it.

Justin Trudeau: — to the United States. You gave a speech on it.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false.

Justin Trudeau: You compared it to forestry. Mr. Mulcair, you are —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false, Justin.

Justin Trudeau: — you are willing to sell our water to the United States.

Rudyard Griffiths: Jump in.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Yeah.

Rudyard Griffiths: Please jump in, Mr. Mulcair. An accusation’s been made. We’d like you to respond.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sure. First of all, with regard to trade deals, the – it was a trade deal with Korea that was backed by the NDP, so Mr. Trudeau is inventing facts once again. When I was the Minister, we had lots of debates, but the important thing to look at is what we decided, and I decided to shut the door because bulk water exports would have been a terrible idea, especially under the North America Free Trade Agreement and the Proportionality Clause, and we made sure that we shut the door and we locked it tight.

Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk, inaudible.)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau doesn’t understand debates because he’s used to having people write his lines for him. (Laughter.) But with regard – with regard to Korea —

Justin Trudeau: We’ve had 10 years of (crosstalk). We don’t need it from you, Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — it is a representation – it is a representation of what the NDP knows how to do. We are looking for an even playing field. We are looking for trade agreements with countries that share our values, whether it’s the protection of the environment or the protection of workers’ rights. This is an even playing field. This can be about reciprocity. But what we won’t do is what Mr. Harper’s done is sign deals with countries like Honduras who, right after a coup, Mr. Harper ran to try to make a deal with Honduras. That’s a country that doesn’t respect workers’ rights. It doesn’t respect human rights, and we shouldn’t be putting them on an even playing field with us because we’re communicating that we find that’s okay.

Same thing with our trade deal with Colombia. There are times when you have to stand up and say Canadians expect their government to reflect their values when they’re putting their name on a trade agreement, and Mr. Harper has consistently failed to show any respect for those fundamental Canadian values.

Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, I need to go to Mr. Harper now.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In the 21st century, the global economy, the creation and the retention of good-paying jobs are going to depend vitally on having privileged trade access to the major economies of the world. We’ve been able to achieve deals in this continent, with Europe and now with – with the Republic of Korea. We’re now working in the Asia-Pacific region. Every time, we have done so in making sure we also protect our vital interests, advance the interests of our automobile sector, protect the interests of supply management, advance the interests of Canadian agriculture.

Look, there is always a reason to walk away from the table. There is always a reason to be against agreements. These parties here opposed the original Canada-U.S. agreement. They opposed NAFTA. Some of them oppose Europe. But the reality is we have been able to do these agreements, advance the interests of the Canadian economy. We will only sign a deal if it is in the interests of the Canadian economy, but we are going to sit at the table, and we’re going to make sure we’re there and that we advance and defend Canadian interests.

Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about how many deals he’s signed over the past years, what a great job he’s done reaching out around the world, but Canada has the worst rate of export growth – or sorry, the Prime Minister – this Prime Minister has the worst rate of export growth of any prime minister since World War II. So if this is your best efforts, Mr. Harper, we have to worry about what – what will happen if you get reelected because the fact of the matter is Canada needs to engage positively on the world stage, and our diplomacy, our cultural exchanges, our engagement in humanitarian efforts, our climate change responsibilities all feed into how we’re able to engage in the kinds of trade deals that are going to bring good jobs to Canadians, that are going to create a brighter future for people because we know that export intensive industries pay 50 percent higher wages than non-exporting industries.

Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau: This is something we need to do.

Rudyard Griffiths: I’m going to quickly go to Mr. Harper to reply and then to Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, we’re in a sta–, in a decade of global economic instability, we’ve increased our exports 50 percent.

Justin Trudeau: All with someone else’s (crosstalk).

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re not living in a different era. We’re living in an era that has been very difficult, where Canada’s performance in job creation growth is – is the best among the G-7. We need to continue that by taking forward-looking actions. That includes the historic steps we’ve taken to conclude trade deals in this continent, to conclude trade deals in Europe and also work to try and get trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region. And you don’t get those deals by coming up with a million reasons why you’re against them before you even get to the table and why you should walk away once you’re there.

We’re there. We’ve had a successful – we’ve had a successful record of making sure we defend the broad interests of the Canadian economy, open up our markets, and that is what we’re going to continue to do.

L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: M. Harper, Marcel Groleau m’a demandé de vous poser la question. C’est le président de l’Union des producteurs agricoles. Lui veut savoir de votre part si vous allez défendre intégralement notre système de gestion de l’offre. Je vous laisse lui répondre.

Le très hon. Stephen Harper: M. – M. Mulcair, notre position est claire depuis le début. Dans toutes nos négociations internationales, nous avons toujours défendre le système de gestion de l’offre. Nous continu–, nous continuons ça dans ces négociations. Nous défendons aussi les agriculteurs s’ils sont hors de cet système, et nous défendons les intérêts de tous les secteurs. Et notre engagement est de – est de conclure un accord qui est dans l’intérêt supérieur de toute l’économie canadienne.

Rudyard Griffiths: Last word to you, Mr. Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau: This election is about how we actually build a stronger and brighter future for us all. Now the Liberal Party has put forward propositions, and you’ve heard about them, on deficits to invest in our communities and our infrastructure. But we also understand that trade and creating good jobs is at the heart of what every Canadian prime minister needs to do. We are too big a country with too few people to be able to do it all on our own. We need trade with the U.S., with countries around the world to actually grow our economy to create good jobs for Canadians. And the fact that Mr. Harper hasn’t been able to get it done on the big files and Mr. Mulcair continues to obstruct and deny the importance of trade means that the choice is clear in this election to pick the Liberal Party of Canada.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In fact, Mr. Trudeau, 99 percent of the free trade access of this country has been created by Conservative governments. What we always get from the Liberal Party is platitudes on trade, but you don’t have the vision and you don’t have the determination to actually sit at the table, make the tough decisions and get the deal. That’s what we’re doing. (Applause.)

Rudyard Griffiths: Very brief final interjection by Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Rudyard. The question to ask is who do you want representing Canada at the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December? Who do you want sitting across from Angela Merkel as we do try to get a deal that suits all of our purposes? Who represents Canadian values on all of the issues we’re discussing tonight?

For 150 years, we’ve been told we have no choice but to alternate between the sponsorship scandal and the Liberals and the Senate scandal and the Conservatives. (Laughter.) This time around, there’s a real choice of an NDP government — a progressive, forward-looking choice for Canada and for Canadians’ values.

Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Mulcair. Mesdames et messieurs, nous sommes arrivés à la fin de notre débat. Let’s give a big round of applause for all three party leaders for taking part. (Applause.)

All of us here hope that this debate has helped inform the vote that you, the viewing audience, everyone here in this auditorium will cast in three weeks’ time. Let’s be sure, all of us, regardless of our views, our party, to head to the polls to vote.

For those of you watching online right now – (applause) – our post-debate panel begins co-hosted by Facebook Canada and The Globe and Mail.

Merci de nous avoir suivis. Thank you for watching the Munk Debate on Canada’s foreign policy. Bonsoir. (Applaudissements.)

Full Text Canadian Political Transcripts September 17, 2015: Transcript of the Globe & Mail federal election 2015 leadership debate on the economy



Transcript of the Globe & Mail federal election debate on the economy

Source: Macleans, 9-17-15

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (C) and Progressive Conservative leader Stephen Harper pose for a photo opportunity prior to the beginning of the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk - RTS1NBL


David Walmsley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Globe and Mail debate on the economy. We are coming to you live from Calgary with a studio audience, and they join you, our viewing audience, for the next 90 minutes as we discuss the key issues of this 2015 campaign. Let’s welcome the three party leaders here tonight. From the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper; from the New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair; and from the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau.


There is little doubt this election is about the economy. All parties, I think, can agree at least with that. With the country struggling to find its economic mojo, we have some tough questions for the leaders this evening. The first half deals with six topics: jobs; energy and the environment; infrastructure; immigration; housing; and taxation. Each area will begin with a question from me to one of the three leaders, with a follow-up question to that same leader. I’ll then push the question to a second leader for a quick answer before an open-floor debate. None of the three leaders has advance knowledge of the questions, only the broad themes. And the order of speaking and the positions on the stage were randomly drawn with party representatives. That’s the housekeeping. Let’s begin.

The reason we are here tonight is to come to grips with this country’s challenges. And the first question goes to you, Mr. Harper. And the question is on jobs. Canada is facing structural rather than cyclical change. Do you have a jobs plan for industry beyond taking things out of the ground?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely, David. But if you don’t mind, let me just begin by saying, because we’re in southern Alberta, I want to take a moment to give my condolences to the Blanchette and the Dunbar families on the terrible deaths of Hailey and Terry. These were obviously senseless acts, and I know that everybody here, across the country, our thoughts and prayers are with those families.

On jobs, David, our approach is multifaceted. There’s several things we’re doing. Obviously the centrepiece of our plan is to make sure we have – we are making practical investments that are affordable, that we can do while keeping our taxes down and keeping our budget balanced. But there’s a number of things we’re doing, including: for instance, particular interventions in the labour market to make sure we’re training people for the jobs that are available; orienting our immigration policy that way; encouraging innovation in our manufacturing sector; opening up trade markets. We’ve signed more trade agreements than ever before. There’s a whole series of things we’re doing, but the core to protecting our economy is making sure that our budgets remain balanced and our taxes remain down.

David Walmsley: Thank you. Your dream, though, of being an energy super power have not been realized. For those who are worried about jobs of the future, what comes next?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I – you know, I think I just laid out exactly where we’re going. We are living in a very challenged global economy. We have enormous economic instability out there. Through it all, the Canadian economy has managed to create a large number of jobs, a better record than anyone in the G7, 1.3 million net new jobs since the end of the global financial crisis, most of them full time in the private sector in good-wage industries. Incomes have been rising.

Now, there are still challenges, and we can do more, but the essence of our plan is making sure that we make investments that we can afford. The other parties are trying to tell us they will deal with the challenges of our economy, of our labour market, of international markets, by raising taxes and running deficits to finance vastly increased amounts of spending. That is not the way to protect our economy in this environment. The way to protect our economy is make specific investments that will help build our labour force, build our infrastructure, build our manufacturing and other resource industries, while at the same time making sure we’re keeping our taxes down and our budget balanced.

David Walmsley: Thank you, Mr. Harper. That’s Mr. Harper’s answer.

To Mr. Mulcair we go. Jobs. You need to do more, surely, than support just the manufacturing sector. What is your jobs plan?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I listened carefully to your question to the Prime Minister, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t able to go beyond resource extraction. Mr. Harper put all of his eggs into one basket, and then he dropped the basket. Four hundred thousand well-paid manufacturing jobs lost on his watch. There are now 300,000 more Canadians without a job than when the recession hit in 2008. So we have a plan to kick-start the economy, to grow manufacturing jobs, work on innovation. We want to drop the taxes of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses because they create 80 percent of new jobs in this country.

And we also want to help people get ahead and make their lives easier because making sure that you can balance your work life and your family life is important to the NDP. So that’s why one of our key planks in this platform is to make sure that we bring in quality, affordable child care across Canada, at most $15 a day. Once it’s fully ramped up, that’ll be one million quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. That’ll be good for the economy, but it’ll also be good for women because that’s almost always women who make tough sacrifices in their careers.

David Walmsley: OK. Thank you, Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Trudeau, can you please lead this open part of the debate?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now – thank you, David. It’s great to be here in Calgary tonight. I want to start with a few questions, my friends. Are you better off now than you were ten years ago, when Stephen Harper became Prime Minister? Is our country better off? Do you have better job prospects? Do you have confidence that your kids have a brighter future? I’ve spent a long time talking with thousands of Canadians across this country. And Mr. Harper may not see what’s going on from 24 Sussex Drive, but I do. I know that Canadians are worried about their jobs, and that’s what this election is about, their jobs and the jobs that their kids are going to have.

David Walmsley: But Mr. Trudeau —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s why —

David Walmsley: What would your —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we have a plan, a strong and clear plan to invest in the middle class, to grow the economy, give it a kick-start it needs, and put more money in Canadians’ pockets. It starts with actually raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent so we can lower them for the middle class. It starts with investing in Canada once again: in roads; in clean water; in transit; in jobs. And when we talk about that investment, we’re very clear. We’re going to run three modest deficits in order to pay for it.

Now, those are the kinds of investments that Mr. Harper hasn’t made for ten years. And if you think this economy’s doing great, then Mr. Harper is your guy.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: But if you need a change —

David Walmsley: Would you care to respond?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — the Liberal Party has a plan.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look. I’ve never said things are great. What I’ve said is we’re leading – living in a very unstable global economic environment. The questions I would ask people at home are the following. In the last ten years, where would you rather have been in all this global economic instability? Where would you rather have been than Canada? Looking forward, where would you rather be than Canada? I think the are – these are the key questions.

Mr. Trudeau proposes permanent deficits. He proposes – he’s opposed, for example, to our cuts to small business. The rea—small business taxes. And the reason Mr. Trudeau said he was opposed to small business cuts is he said a large percentage of small businesses are just wealthy people avoiding taxes. Mr. Trudeau, small business —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — is the backbone of the middle class, and it’s the backbone of the Canadian economy.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s why among our investments —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — you know full well —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we’re cutting taxes for small business (crosstalk) —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Harper, you know full well —

David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that the Liberal – Mr. Harper knows full well that the Liberal Party plan is to drop small business taxes from 11 to nine percent. He’s just playing politics. We have a plan not only to encourage small businesses but to invest in what small businesses need, like reliable transportation, like a growing economy. Mr. Harper has not only the worst growth record on jobs – the worst job creation record since World War II; he has the worst record on economic growth since the Great Depression.

David Walmsley: OK.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: We need to grow this economy —

David Walmsley: Let’s get to Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and he has failed.

David Walmsley: You’re hearing a good ding-dong between these two. Where are you?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I’m going to try to ring their bell. While Mr. Harper thinks that everything is just fine the way it is, Mr. Trudeau is proposing to dump tens of billions of dollars in new debt on the backs of future generations. The Prime Minister wants to hit the snooze button, while Mr. Trudeau is hitting the panic button. Canadians deserve to know what they’re voting on in this election. The NDP has put its numbers out there. We put out a costed plan yesterday. It’s frankly reliable, and it’s sustainable. We’ve put out numbers, and neither of these will do the same. At least we should respect the voting public and let them have an informed decision in this election.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, Mr. Mulcair —

David Walmsley: — you grimaced with that.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look. Both of these parties talk about cutting taxes for small business, doing the small business tax cut that we are already moving forward with for the next four years. But what they also propose – and small businesses know this around the country. They propose hikes to payroll taxes, to CPP particularly and also employment insurance, that are ten times bigger than the tax cuts they are promising small business. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has come out against these plans. That’s why Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other experts today said that Mr. Mulcair’s tax increases will cost at least 250,000 jobs. You don’t protect our economy and you don’t move it forward and create jobs by (crosstalk).

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: If Mr. Harper —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper –


David Walmsley: (Crosstalk) Trudeau, please. Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has demonstrated once again that he’s missing the point. Canadians need support. The fact that he’s talking about pensions as taxes – why pensions aren’t taxes, Mr. Harper, is when people retire they get their pension money back. They don’t get taxes back. That’s where the difference is.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Mr. Trudeau, that’s a decision —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: And Mr. Mulcair needs to hit —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — for people to make themselves.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Mulcair needs to hit the wake-up call. Mr. Mulcair has missed the opportunity to invest in Canadians the way we need to.


Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: If you were right —

David Walmsley: Let’s – let’s have Mr. Harper quickly respond in a sentence, then we’ll come to Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, we have given all kinds of tax incentives for people to save, and they’re taking advantage of them. Eleven million people —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: No, they’re not, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — (crosstalk) tax-free savings accounts. Workers and employers, small employers, do not want these tax hikes. And when you say they’re not tax hikes, they’re coming right out of the paycheques, a thousand dollars for the Liberal Party proposal out of someone making $60,000 —

David Walmsley: OK. That’s —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — a year. It comes out of the mortgage (crosstalk) —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, you’re inventing (crosstalk) —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — comes out of planning for education —

David Walmsley: — a long answer, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This comes out of putting food on the table.

David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair for the final word.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: It’s not just money that appears out of thin air.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That was a really long sentence, David. Look, the average Canadian knows that a pension plan is necessary. The Canada Pension Plan, as far as Mr. Harper is concerned, is a tax. We view it as an investment in the future. I’m tired of watching successive Liberal and Conservative governments dump these massive ecological, economic, and social debts on the backs of future generations.

David Walmsley: Thank you very much. And that brings us, with some relief, to the end of the first question.



We move now to the second topic, energy and the environment. And this question goes to Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, in the last campaign, the NDP put a cost of $21 billion on its carbon pricing policy. What is your current proposal, and what would the cost be for carbon emissions?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thank you very much, David. And we know that a dynamic and innovative energy sector is crucial for Canada for the years to come. And we also know that Canada has international obligations that it has to follow through on. The Liberals signed Kyoto with no plan. They admitted they had no plan to respect it. That’s why they went on to have one of the worst records in the world for greenhouse gas production. Shamefully, Stephen Harper made Canada the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

Now, when I talk about avoiding leaving a massive debt on the backs of future generations, this is exactly what we’re talking about. So yes, we’ve always believed that the best way to ensure a reduction in greenhouse gases is with what’s called a cap and trade system. Actually, Canada and the United States had a very successful model of that to reduce SO2 when it was causing acid rain on our forests. It’s worked before, and it can work again. But above that, everybody has to understand that there are tens of thousands of jobs across the country, and especially here in Alberta, that rely on that sector, and we need to understand that we have to develop our resources responsibly and sustainable, which is exactly what I did when I was the Minister.

David Walmsley: OK. Mr. Mulcair, I’m going to go back into that. Let’s get the costing. What is the costing for your carbon emission proposal? Is it cap and trade, similar to Ontario and Quebec? Is it a carbon tax like British Columbia? What would the cost be?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: No, I don’t think that you can guarantee a reduction with a carbon tax. A carbon tax is about the tax, although there is more and more information available. A cap and trade system can guarantee the reduction. These are basic principles of sustainable development. You have to make sure that you make the polluter pay for the creation that they’re creating. You can’t allow people to use the air, the soil and the water —

David Walmsley: But Mr. Mulcair, would that not create revenue hemorrhaging in Alberta, to tie with Ontario and Quebec?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: No, that’s not what happened when we brought in the cap and trade system to reduce the SO2 that was calling – causing acid rain. And you could of course make sure that you’re reinvesting in green energy technologies. Around the world there will be $5 trillion spent on green energy technologies in the next 15 years. Unfortunately, Canada is not even going to be part of it because we have a government that has taken a rip and ship approach to sending our resources as fast as they can to other places. We’ve got to take a different approach, add jobs here in Canada.

David Walmsley: But is the bill – is the bill going to be —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. —

David Walmsley: — more than 21 billion or less?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, of course, as you know, that was something that was proposed last time. And the cap and trade system that we’re proposing now has no such bill, and you know that, Mr. Walmsley.

David Walmsley: OK, thank you. Let’s move now to Mr. Trudeau. For your plan, it looks like a lot of it is left to the provinces. How do you lead the country, perhaps going to the UN climate conference later this year, without a Canadian policy?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, we have a Canadian policy, and it’s one that recognizes that for ten years under Mr. Harper, with no leadership on the environment, provinces have moved forward. And 86 percent of our economy, our four biggest provinces, have actually committed to putting a price on carbon, and they’ve done it in different ways, which makes Mr. Mulcair’s proposal so unrealistic. The idea of imposing a bureaucracy out of Ottawa, a cap and trade system, on provinces like British Columbia that have already moved forward with a world-renowned carbon tax that is actually working for them is actually a completely nonsensical plan.

We are committed to working with the provinces to reduce emissions, to encourage them to hit those – the targets needed so that we can contribute as a responsible country once again to reducing emissions. We will go to Paris for the climate change conference with all Premiers to talk about how we are going to meet that responsibility we collectively share on this planet, to prevent a two-degree increase in global temperatures.

David Walmsley: Thank you. I think we’re hearing a lot of skating. Let’s go to the Conservative Leader. Mr. Harper, you start off the open-floor portion.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, David, I would just point out this is the first government in Canadian history that has actually been able to see a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time seeing the economy grow, and we’re very proud of that. We didn’t do that through carbon tax schemes, principally because carbon taxes are not about reducing emissions, carbon taxes are about raising revenue for the government. And in one form or another, that’s what the other parties are proposing. We’ve been moving forward with a regulatory approach, sector by sector, where we actually know the cause and effects of putting in new regulations and reducing emissions before we actually do it, so it’s not just left to chance.

But I do, David, want to address the other half of the debate, which is the energy sector. You know, it’s an important – it’s been a very important driver of the Canadian economy. It’s obviously having a significant downturn right now because of the fall of energy prices. And that sector needs a government that is on its side. We want to see this sector grow and develop. The other —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The problem is, Mr. Walmsley —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know – you know —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — under Stephen Harper’s stewardship we have not built one kilometre of pipeline to tidewater, and it’s easy to understand why. He’s gutted a whole series of environmental laws. We don’t have a credible, thorough, environmental assessment process left in this country. The public is not on side. He thought he was helping the energy companies by destroying that legislation; he’s actually made their lives tougher.

When I was the Minister in Quebec, Mr. Walmsley, I lowered greenhouse gas production in our province every year for the three years I was the Minister of the Environment. It can be done. We brought in overarching sustainable development legislation, the toughest in North America. We went so far as to change the Charter of Rights to include the right to live in a clean environment. It can be done. Mr. Harper sees the environment and the economy as polar opposites. Everybody in Canada knows you have to work on both at the same time.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Which is why we’ve done both. Mr. Mulcair, you actually are the only leader in Canadian history to have gone to another country, you and your colleagues, to the United States, to argue against Canadian jobs and against Canadian development projects.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s exactly the opposite, Mr. Harper.


Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s exactly the opposite.


David Walmsley: Hold on, Mr. (crosstalk) –


David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau and – Mr. Trudeau (crosstalk) —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: He just said something to me and I’m going to answer him. Forty thousand Canadian jobs would be exported to the United States with Keystone XL. That’s not our figure; that’s the Government of Canada’s figure under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. I want to create those 40,000 jobs in Canada. Let’s add value to our natural resources here. That’s the way to sustainably develop our resources.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair, when you export your product –


David Walmsley: Hold on. Hold on.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s why trade’s a good thing.

David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair talks about having Minister of the Environment in Quebec, but I was living in Quebec at that time and I remember he was proposing bulk water exports to the United States for Quebec, and that’s certainly not something we’re interested in.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s completely false (crosstalk).

Hon. Justin Trudeau: You gave a speech on it. You said it could be like forestry —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s completely false.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in the – well, listen, look at your own record, Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You look at the record, and —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: The fact is Mr. Harper continues —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — (crosstalk) very strong (crosstalk) in place.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to pretend that there is a —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: These are called debates, Mr. Trudeau. You don’t seem to understand that.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — choice between environment and economy. He chooses to say that you cannot build a strong economy if you’re still protect—if you’re protecting the environment. And that has been his failure, and that has been his failure felt right here in Calgary. He talks about being the best friend that Calgary has ever had, that Alberta has ever had, but he hasn’t gotten pipelines built. He has made the oil sands and international pariah, and with friends like Stephen Harper —

David Walmsley: OK, let’s – can we – let’s —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Alberta doesn’t need enemies.

David Walmsley: — get away from politics for a moment. Let’s bring it back to some costing. What is the costing of your plan? Mr. Mulcair first.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Our plan for sustainable development includes bringing in overarching legislation that will be rigorously enforced and provide action when a company is trying to pollute the environment. Mr. Harper talks a good game on international trade deals. He’s done everything in his power to stop the authorities that exist under the North American Free Trade Agreement from even measuring the pollution going into the environment in Canada. That’s his track record.

We’ll enforce overarching sustainable development legislation. We’ll apply it fairly and equally to everyone. And Canadians will know that we’re going to stop leaving this massive ecological debt to – on the backs of future generations.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, you asked about our costing. Not only will we move forward on pricing carbon with the provinces and ensuring that we’re reducing greenhouse gases in a responsible way; the Liberal Party is also committed to investing $20 billion over ten years in greener infrastructure. That’s floodplains mitigation here in Calgary and places across the country; it’s investing in clean jobs, in green tech, in making sure that we’re moving towards renewable energies. Yes, we need to get our resources to market. It’s one of the fundamental responsibilities of a Prime Minister. But in order to do that, we need to move in a responsible way that understands the future that we’re leaving to our kids.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, we’re investing heavily in green energy, about a billion dollars a year in green energy and energy efficiency technology. But what we’re not doing is imposing costs upon consumers. We’re in a fragile global economy. We don’t need additional costs. You know, we heard the same, old story from the NDP on this. They say we’re going to fix this somehow through raising taxes. In their platform yesterday, they put in a bunch of tax increases —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — for the energy and mining sector.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Completely false.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know, this is the same story we had in Alberta when the NDP came to office. We’d somehow fix our problems through raising taxes. And now what have we seen? Now I know trades people who are now getting higher individual tax bills. We see people getting layoffs because their employers are paying higher taxes.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper’s solution to everything has been to —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Higher taxes are not the way you’re —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — drop the taxes to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — going to move the energy sector or the Canadian economy forward —

David Walmsley: OK.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — in a challenged global economy.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk) low taxes and balanced budgets.

David Walmsley: — please. Mr. Mulcair, your final word.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper has dropped the taxes of Canada’s largest corporations by tens of billions of dollars. If that was such a good idea to create jobs, how come we lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs? How come we have 300,000 more unemployed today than when Mr. Harper’s first recession hit in 2008?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Jobs are up, and corporate tax revenues are up.


David Walmsley: OK, thank you. We now move to the third topic, which is infrastructure. And this goes to Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau, you’re committed to taking us into deficit in order to fund your infrastructure plan. Spending money is an easy promise. What does success look like?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, Canadians understand that, when you want to buy a new home or renovate your existing home because you’re adding to the family, you take out a bank loan. You know that you can invest in your future because that’s what confident, optimistic countries do. We invest in our future. And right now Mr. Harper thinks that the investments he’s made over the past ten years are enough; they’re not. Because he has the worst job creation rate since World War II, he has the worst growth rate of any Prime Minister since the Great Depression.

We need to create the transit that Canadians need, and we need to start doing it right now. Mr. Mulcair talks about putting things off for three, five, ten, 20 years. That’s not what we need. We’re the only party that’s said yes, we will run three modest deficits because it’s time to invest in Canada once again and give people the support they need. That’s why we’re going to work with municipalities and provinces to identify the necessary projects and get them built because we will invest in the future of our country.

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, you say that you would create a new infrastructure bank. That is dependent upon Canada’s pension funds investing. So far, they haven’t chosen to do that because the projects in Canada are too small. What if they don’t sign up?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, that’s not entirely – that’s not at all true, David. We are actually proposing a new infrastructure bank that will help provinces and municipalities borrow at the advantageous rate that the federal government actually has. Yes, we are, as a separate initiative, looking to encourage pension funds to invest here in Canada, but in order to do that, we have to have a much more robust partner in the federal government.

For a decade now, Mr. Harper has under-invested in our infrastructure, and, while he’s been running fiscal deficits, has also been increasing our infrastructure deficit. The fact is Canadians stuck in traffic on the Deerfoot or on the Gardiner or on – or elsewhere across the country know that we need a plan that’s going to tackle transit and roads right now, not a decade from now like Mr. Mulcair, and not – not at all like Mr. Harper has been doing. That’s what our plan is all about. That’s why I’m going to invest in the future of our country.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, is Mr. Trudeau on to something?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely not.


You know, look, here are the facts. This year our government is putting more into infrastructure – 15 times more – than the last full year of the Liberal government. That is how much we’ve increased federal infrastructure investments. Over the decade to come, our Economic Action Plan to create jobs and growth has some $80 billion, an unprecedented amount of money that’s being put into federal, provincial, and municipal infrastructure across the country. Of course the easiest thing to do for anybody else is come along and say, you know, let’s just spend more. But we’ve managed to do this without raising your taxes and without borrowing anything as we move forward.

Mr. Trudeau comes along and says let’s spend more, let’s raise taxes, let’s run a deficit. Running a deficit is not the kind of protection our economy needs right now. We’re in an unstable global economy. We’ve managed to return to a balanced budget now for the second year when many other countries haven’t done so. That’s an asset we should continue to pursue, and we don’t need to spend more just for the sake of being able to say we spent more.

David Walmsley: Let’s move to the open-floor part of this question. Mr. Mulcair, you have the lead.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Mr. Walmsley. Mr. Trudeau’s plan is frankly reckless, and it’s uncosted. Municipalities across this country are asked to spend the cost to ha—assume the costs of 60 percent of the infrastructure with only eight percent of the tax base. Mathematically that’s impossible, and it’s not sustainable. But what’s also not sustainable is the old Liberal approach of leaving tens of billions of dollars in debt on the backs of future generation.

We are going to be a reliable, long-term partner for municipalities across the country. We don’t need the short-term thinking of the Liberals.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, let’s —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: We need money invested long term. Our plan is for constant spending over 20 years, 1.5 billion a year in infrastructure, 1.3 billion a year in transit. Those are important sums of money – reliable, long-term.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair – Mr. Mulcair likes to talk about long-term, but what he doesn’t realize is long-term actually starts right now, not five years from now, now 20 years from now, not after a few mandates of Mr. Mulcair in government. Canadians —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thanks for acknowledging (crosstalk).

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — need help right now. And the fact of the matter is that we have a situation right now where interest rates are low, so borrowing has never been cheaper for the federal government; our debt-to-GDP ratio is low and getting lower; our economy has been flat for ten years. So my question is, now that there are thousands upon thousands of skilled Canadians looking for work in construction and in growth, if this isn’t the time to invest, what would be? Because the fact of the matter is I talked with Mr. – Mayor Nenshi just yesterday, and he was saying that costs for municipal investments are actually down 20 percent this year because – compared to last year because of the circumstance we’re in. This is the time to invest in the future of our country. Canadians know this. The only people who don’t seem to know this are those two gentlemen on the stage.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, not only are we pursuing a long-term, large-scale infrastructure plan under our Economic Action Plan this year; we’re proceeding with a $6 billion plan to eliminate the federal infrastructure deficit entirely going forward. That’s what we’re doing right now. And we’re doing that without borrowing money, without raising taxes. Mr. Trudeau says he will raise taxes. Mr. Mulcair’s plan is the same, old NDP playbook. We saw it in British Columbia, we saw it in Ontario, we’re seeing it in Alberta. A whole bunch more spending, and we can finance that just by raising taxes on a few big corporations and a few rich people. What happens? You start putting people out of work, slowing the economy, killing jobs. That’s the rea—that’s the reality of the NDP plan wherever it has been tried. And when we are in a fragile (crosstalk) —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Actually, Mr. Harper, you’re wrong about that. You’re wrong about that, Mr. Harper —


David Walmsley: Let’s go to (crosstalk).

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair is not going to —

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians. He’s chosen to not raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians.

David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair, please. Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Only the Liberal Party will, to give a tax cut to the middle class.

David Walmsley: Please, Mr. Trudeau, let’s go to Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Mr. Walmsley. The NDP is categorical. We will not be raising taxes on individual Canadians. We are going to be asking Canadian large corporations to start paying their fair share. They’re the only Canadians who don’t right now. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper are of one mind. They thought that dropping their taxes by tens of billions of dollars, way below that of our close trading partners, was a good idea; it hasn’t been. But when we do raise it, it’ll be reasonably, and it’ll still be way below what it was under the Liberals, and it’ll even be below the average of what it’s been under the Conservatives.

We’re also going to make sure that we close some tax loopholes, like the stock option tax loophole brought in by the Liberals, which actually will ensure that people are effectively paying more, not a theoretical amount where they have all these loopholes that they can fall back on. With regard to the difference between the Liberals and us, it’s true the Liberals want to raise individuals’ personal income taxes. The NDP won’t do that. I don’t think it’s fair that someone looking at their pay stub is going to see that 58.75 percent is already gone in income tax. That will be the result of Mr. Trudeau’s plan.

David Walmsley: OK.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s not our plan.

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair talks about corporations being the only people in this country who are not paying their fair share. So he thinks the wealthiest one percent are paying their fair share. But if you look at the past 30 years, incomes for the wealthiest 70 – wealthiest one percent of Canadians have increased by 70 percent while their federal tax share has decreased by 32 percent. Now, I don’t think that’s fair. We’re the only party that is asking that wealthiest one percent who has done well over the past years —

David Walmsley: Mr. —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to pay a little more —

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — so we can cut those taxes to the middle class.

David Walmsley: — this question is on infrastructure. Is the creation of another bank the answer?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: It’s an infrastructure bank that loans to municipalities and provinces so they can take advantage of the preferential rates that the federal government gets. It’s a way of – yet another way, on top of the $60 billion of investments we’re making in our municipalities that starts with doubling in the very first year for transit, for child care spaces, and for seniors’ residences. It is time to invest in the future of our country. It has never been more appropriate to invest in the future of our country.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: These two gentlemen can’t see that because they’re stuck in a political way, not an economic way.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair just claimed he’s going to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through closing treatment of stock options. There is simply not that kind of money in that, and this is the approach of the NDP, to exaggerate how much money they can raise through a few tax hikes. The reality is, when he says he’s not going to raise money on people, the payroll tax hikes of the NDP for CPP and EI amount to over $1500 a person who’s making just $60,000 a year. Those funds come right out of your paycheque. They come right out of the money you’re using to pay your mortgage, buy your clothes —

David Walmsley: OK.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — fund your kids’ education. Those are real costs.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: They just don’t go away because —

David Walmsley: You might want to finish off the last (crosstalk) —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — (crosstalk) something down the road.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The stock option – the stock option tax loophole costs Canadian taxpayers $500 million a year, and it goes mostly to the wealthiest Canadians. We will —

David Walmsley: OK.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — get rid of it.


David Walmsley: We have to leave it there, and we now move to question four. This is on immigration and it goes to Mr. Harper. All parties agree that immigration is central to Canada’s long term economic strategy. What is the right balance between economic migrants and those seeking family reunification?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, every year we put out numbers and I think we’ve maintained a balance between those various categories. We have I think about two thirds of the people who come in are related to economic streams. Others are related to family reunification, refugees, other sorts of streams. What I’m most proud of, David, is this is the first government in Canadian history that, faced with a recession, did not cut our immigration.

The reason we didn’t cut our immigration is because we understand, given the demographic and economic pressures in front of us, that a long-term, large scale immigration program is in this country’s interest. That’s why we’re looking at the long term and I’m very pleased we’ve done that and moved forward on that.

We’re doing specific things to make sure particularly the economic sections of our immigration policy are more oriented to actually getting results. For example, we used to process applications in order. We now have what’s called Express Entry, where we’re targeting those applications that fill actual vacancies in the job market. This is a transformation I think will be very important to making the policy even more effective.

David Walmsley: Should we increase immigration numbers to counter the aging demographic of Canada?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’ve maintained our numbers at very high levels. They’re over 250,000 a year. I think there is room going forward to increased that but obviously we want to make sure we get the right mix because there are significant settlement funding costs that come along with some streams of immigration.

I think that’s a possibility going forward but I think the main thing is that we make sure that we’re maximizing the economic benefits of immigration. I talked about Express Entry.

I’ll give you another example of something we’re doing and that’s the foreign credentials loans program that we brought in as a pilot and we’re now expanding, where we’ve found that if we give through third party groups immigrants very small loans to upgrade their qualifications so they’re recognized in Canada, we can get them into the workforce much more quickly, and we have a payback rate on those loans of well over 90 percent. I think there’s lots of things we can do even within our existing very large levels to improve the system, but I do think we could look at expanding it going forward.

David Walmsley: Thank you very much. Mr. Trudeau, what role does immigration play in your economic plan?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think Canada has long known that immigration is essential to our growth. We have a country that has benefited from people coming here from faraway lands, building a better future for themselves and their children and their communities here than they could have anywhere else.

That’s been the strength of this country, the fact that we are a country strong not in spite of our differences but because of them. One of the things that Mr. Harper has continued to under-invest in and not create enough of is family reunification. You talked about it early on, David. This is something that is really important, to create strong communities because, yes, the economic benefits of immigrants are well known but there is more to them than just workers. They are community builders. They are creating stronger cities and a stronger future for future generations. That’s where the cuts he has made to integration programs, to helping Canadians actually succeed, are so disappointing because Canada has always given people a path to succeed here in this country. That’s what we need to get back to once again.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair?

Hon. Tom Mulcair: Canada is a country of immigrants. Unless you’re First Nations, Inuit or Metis your family immigrated to Canada, and it’s what built this great country, David. I couldn’t be prouder than to tell you that my wife Catherine immigrated to Canada. She’s one of the many people who has just contributed so much and I think we can be so proud of that tradition.

Under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives, we have been closing the door more and more on certain aspects of immigration. Mr. Trudeau just referenced it and he’s right. Family reunification is essential. It’s always been part of our immigration system. It’s been completely shut down under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. I personally believe that the best social program is a united family, and you’ve got that strong family base there allowing people to come in. It shouldn’t be considered, as the Conservatives always call it, a burden for society. I think it’s something that contributes a great deal.

On temporary foreign workers, we know that they left that program a shambles. It was created to help in areas like agriculture but it went off in all different directions. Even Mr. Harper in a secret meeting with some media in Vancouver admitted that it was a total shambles.

There’s one final point. Mr. Harper referenced recognition of foreign diplomas and credentials. Unfortunately, it’s still the number one cause of unemployment amongst immigrants, failure to recognize diplomas and credentials. I used to be chair of the Quebec Professions Board. I’ve got a lot of experience on this. I know we could be doing a lot more to help that.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I’m not sure how you have a secret meeting with the media.


David Walmsley: We wish.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: You’d manage it, Mr. Harper. I know you’d manage it.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me just correct the facts. Under the first ten years of this government, we’ve seen family class and family reunifications rise by 25 percent. When it was under the previous Liberal government, it went down nearly 50 percent in their first few years in office as they cut back immigration levels. We haven’t done that.

I think people understand that – new Canadians particularly – the Liberal Party talked a good game but didn’t deliver. We have 2.5 million newcomers in this country who have overwhelmingly contributed positively to this country. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re family people. They’re growing our economy, working hard, and this is one of the most positive things about this country. That we are able, through controlled and legal immigration, to have the best record of immigration and success in immigration anywhere in the world is something I think we all should be very proud of.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper demonstrated over the past weeks that in the case of refugees Canada is not doing enough. This is something Mr. Harper has unfortunately done a number of times. He likes to talk about standing up against tyrants and dictators and against terrorists, but you know who stands up to dictators and terrorists? Families fighting to keep their family together, hoping for a better life for them. They cross the oceans and they make it to Canada, and what does Mr. Harper do? He takes away their health care. The fact is we need to once again be a country that is open and welcoming. Yes, we need to be concerned about security but we don’t take that as the excuse to close our doors. In years past, whether it was Joe Clark, the Conservative Prime Minister who brought in tens of thousands of Vietnamese boat people, whether it was other governments who welcomed in people who built, who contributed to this country.

We need to once again be the open generous country, not naïve, making sure we’re doing security right but not using it as an excuse to do less than we should, than the vast majority of Canadians including mayors and Premiers feel we should.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, this time bring it back to the economy.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me just correct the record on a couple of things.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Refugees are about the economy, David.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Inaudible) what you said about refugees. First of all, the fact of the matter we have not taken away health care from immigrants and refugees. On the contrary, the only time we’ve removed it if we had clearly bogus refugees who have been refused and turned down. We do not offer them a better health care plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive. That is not something that new and existing and old stock Canadians agree with. On the issue of refugees this remains one of the largest countries in the world in terms of refugee resettlement including –

Hon. Justin Trudeau: That is not true, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I have said we will bring in more, but what I have said we will not do, these guys would have had in the last two weeks us throwing open our borders and literally hundreds of thousands of people coming without any kind of security check or documentation as some other countries have done.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not true Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That would have been an enormous mistake. We’re following a balanced approach. We’re bringing in more refugees.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper plays to fears all the time. Fears of others, fears of different (inaudible). We have a Prime Minister who prefers to pander to fears.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk)

David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair on immigration and the economy.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: Canadians want a Prime Minister who understands the sense of urgency that we all feel when we see the current crisis in Syria. Mr. Harper unfortunately – and it’s undignified – is fear mongering. It’s completely false to affirm that any of the parties in Canada would want to throw open the doors to people without any regard to security.

But Rick Hillier, who is no less an authority than the former Chief of the Defence Staff, last week said we’ve got to stop using the security concerns as an excuse to do nothing. So Mr. Harper, why don’t you stop using the security excuse as a pretext to do nothing because nobody wants to let somebody in without a security check but you’re doing nothing.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re announcing that we’re bringing in more refugees. We’re announcing we’re bringing them in more quickly. We’re providing a matching fund for humanitarian support because even under the most generous refugee policy the vast majority of these millions of people will remain in those countries and will need our assistance. Those are the things we’re doing (crosstalk).

Hon. Tom Mulcair: The UN has asked us to bring in 9,000 refugees before Christmas. You won’t do it. They’ve asked for 46,000 over the next four years. You won’t do it. That’s the United Nations asking that, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk) Most Canadians don’t want that approach. It is not the kind of reckless approach that these two parties —

(Cross talk)

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Canada has done more in the past. We need to do more right now. We will do more on October 20th.

David Walmsley: On to the next topic, and the next topic is housing. Mr. Trudeau, Canadians have been on a borrowing binge to buy ever more expensive homes. What would you do to guard against a housing bubble?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: The fact is for many Canadians their entire economic security is in their home. It’s their savings. It’s their retirement. We need to make sure that while housing prices rise, incomes are rising as well. The middle class Canadians believe that their jobs are giving them better and better salaries, that they can get raises.

In order to do that, we need to create economic growth. We need to reassure Canadians that the economy is going to grow at the same pace as their house values. That’s not what Mr. Harper has delivered. He has the worst record on growth since R.B. Bennett in the depths of the Great Depression.

There are many other Canadians who are facing challenges around housing because they can’t find rental housing. That’s why the Liberal Party has a plan to increase investment in home construction of rental units, to help seniors with the cost of their rents by increasing GIS and by making sure that we actually give people the support needed to be able to get their homes and have that economic security.

David Walmsley: Would you restrict foreign ownership of residential homes in Canada?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think one of the things that we’re seeing in a number of places around the country is concerns on that, but the fact is we don’t actually have enough accurate data to understand entirely what’s happening. One of the reasons for that is Mr. Harper has chosen to cut the long form census and it leaves us with less understanding of needs. The Liberal Party is committed to restoring the long form census to ensure that we have the kind of data so that we can respond to local challenges like you speak of.

What we need to be as a federal government is a much better partner to provinces and municipalities to be able to address challenges that are being faced in our major centres like Vancouver or Toronto, but also the challenges that are being felt right across the country for people who are struggling to buy their first home, people who are struggling to find rental housing and who need help to get that economic ladder to success that has always been there for Canadians but hasn’t been over the past ten years. That’s what the Liberal plan to invest in the future of our country is all about.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, what would you do to help the squeezed middle class who have high mortgages and high property taxes?

Hon. Tom Mulcair: Thank you, David. The first thing I think that Canadians should recall is that the last time the Liberals were in power they cancelled Canada’s national housing strategy. It’s also worth knowing that there were 35,000 homeless in Canada right now.

What we would do, I gave an example earlier of our quality affordable child care at maximum $15 a day. You know here in Calgary, in Toronto and lots of other cities parents are paying well over $20,000 a year for child care for an infant. It’s simply unaffordable, and young people today have the largest student debt that there ever was.

As I went across the country I met lots of young people who were thinking of having a family but they look at the cost of the conciliation, balancing their life and their family and their work. It’s extremely difficult. We would make sure we would put more money in their pockets with quality, affordable child care. We would bring in as a model for others and with regard to the 100,000 people that it would give a raise to a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

David Walmsley: Open floor, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: First of all, let me just say, while no doubt there are some people who are over extended, I think the housing story is a very positive story in this country. You know, you look around the world where there have been all of these financial and other crashes. A lot of them centred around the housing market. In Canada we have seen home ownership rise to record levels. We now have higher home ownership than the United States because people have been able to take advantage of lower interest rates when their job prospects have been solid and good and their incomes have been growing. That’s a positive Canadian story that we should celebrate.

How do we in this unstable global economy continue to protect that going forward? We believe in bringing in specific incentives to help home owners, for instance the home renovation tax credit we’re bringing forward, improvements to the home buyer’s plan, the doubling of contributions to tax free savings accounts, things that allow people to save and invest more in their homes.

What we do not need when our economy is threatened by developments in the global economy is tax increases on ordinary Canadian families who pay low taxes, or permanent deficits. These are risks we cannot afford and they’re not good for homeowners.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about growth but he hasn’t been able to get it done for ten years. He has the worst growth record in 80 years of any Prime Minister. We know how to grow the economy. We invest in the economy once again. Interest rates are low, our debt-to-GDP is low, and economic growth has been flat. We need to kick-start our economy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do so people can get better jobs and actually afford their homes. That’s where we help.

Mr. Mulcair, who’s talking about child care, the fact is that a young family with a two year old doesn’t need childcare eight years from now when their kid is in grade five. They need it right away. But Mr. Mulcair is not making a choice that’s going to allow to invest in his promises. They’re puffs of smoke. We need to invest right now —

Hon. Tom Mulcair: You know about that, don’t you, Justin?


Hon. Justin Trudeau: We know right now to invest in the future of this country. Mr. Mulcair, you can make jokes all you like. This is Canadians having trouble making ends meet and you’re offering a national minimum wage. It will not touch 99 percent.

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, thank you.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: What we’re offering, Mr. Trudeau, you had 13 years the last time you were in power to get to child care. It was in four successive Liberal Red Books, and you know how many spaces they created? Zero.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not true.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: The least we can say it that it wasn’t a priority for them. Quality, affordable child care is a top priority for the NDP.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Eight years from now, if the provinces kick in billions of dollars.


David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, can I ask you, what message do you give to millennials today who are trying to get onto the property rung? What do you say to those?

Hon. Tom Mulcair: I say that we’ve got a Prime Minister who just said that he thinks it’s a good idea that a bungalow in a lot of our suburbs in places like Vancouver and Toronto is totally out of reach for them. Look at the cost of housing in some of our major cities. It is out of control.

At the same time, Mr. Harper says it’s OK, I’ve got a renovation tax credit. How do you renovate a house you can’t afford to buy in the first place? We’re going to start by putting more money in people’s pockets. Affordable, quality child care is one of them. We’ll give a raise to over 100,000 people earning the federal minimum wage or less. They’ll get more money. A $15 an hour federal minimum wage is not only good for them. It’s a good signal for the provinces to do the same thing, to bring up a living wage. You know why? Because I think that somebody who works full time shouldn’t be living in poverty.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, I have spoken to an awful lot of Canadians earning the minimum wage. They work in coffee shops, they work in grocery checkout lines and you’re giving them false hope by talking about a national minimum wage. You are promising them a national minimum wage.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: We have people working in banks, in airports, in interprovincial transport. They’re earning less than $15 an hour. and over 100,000 of them are going to get a raise.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) 99 percent of Canadians earning the minimum wage aren’t going to be affected.


Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau voted for this on September 22nd. Now he’s campaigning against it. I think –

Hon. Justin Trudeau: I campaigned against the false promises, the false promises you are making. You pretend this national minimum wage is a significant thing. Well it’s not going to help 99 percent of people.


David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Just to repeat, we’re not just bringing in a home renovation tax credit. We’re also enhancing the home buyer’s plan to help families reach their – and be able to build their first home, just as we enhanced the first time home buyer’s plan.

We’ve done a lot of things to encourage home ownership. In terms of rising costs due to speculative – a possibility of foreign speculation, we said we’re prepared to act on that if the data show that that is really a problem. Look, we’re doing more of these things to help Canadian families.

Mr. Mulcair talks about child care. We’ve delivered directly to Canadian families the universal child care benefit. Now we are enhancing it. We’re increasing deductions to income tax for your child care expenses.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: That’s not what you promised.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re doubling the tax free savings account.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you promised 125,000 child care spaces and you delivered the same amount as the Liberals, precisely zero.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Without raising taxes –


David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and without running a deficit.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair agree on one thing. They want to continue to send Mr. Harper’s UCCB cheques to millionaires just because they have children. We don’t think that’s fair. We’re going to stop sending those cheques to the people who don’t need it so we can send larger cheques to the families who do need it and lift 315,000 kids out of poverty. That will make a significant difference in the lives of people who need it, and neither Mr. Harper nor Mr. Mulcair do that.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You don’t have enough money in the budget for your promises.

David Walmsley: We have to move on, wrestling alligators. We move to the final topic of the first half of this debate, taxation. Mr. Mulcair, let me address this to you first. You say you will raise corporate tax rates from the current 15 percent to 17 percent. What economic rather than political reason justifies your decision?

Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper had a single minded approach. The Liberals and the Conservatives have agreed that tens of billions of dollars of tax reductions for Canada’s largest and most profitable corporations was the way to go, but as we’ve seen, David, that hasn’t worked out so well.

We’ve lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs on Mr. Harper’s watch. There are 300,000 more people unemployed today than when his first recession hit so yes, the NDP is quite clear that Canada’s large corporations are going to go back to paying something resembling their fair share. It will still be less than the average that it was under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives and well below what it was under the Liberals. We’re asking all Canadians to pay their fair share, and that would include the largest corporations, but at the same time we’re going to start right away. We’re not going to wait like Mr. Harper would. We’re going to start right away to reduce the taxes on Canada’s job creators, our small and medium sized businesses create 80 percent of the new jobs in this country, and that we think is a good idea.

We’re also going to close stock loopholes because those are the types of loopholes that exist for the rich. We’ll make sure that they effectively pay more. That’s the right approach.

David Walmsley: If corporations move their money elsewhere, you lose both your balanced budget and your revenue.

Hon. Tom Mulcair: That’s why you’ve also got to work at the same time against tax havens. Mr. Harper has done nothing about that. We’ve had cases where other authorities in other countries have given full lists of Canadians who have been using illegal tax havens, and Mr. Harper has done nothing about that.

At the same time, the NDP will take an approach to make sure that the wealthiest start paying their fair share. When we made that announcement at the Broadbent Institute, we looked at the successive years of promises by the Liberals talking about millennial goals to help raise children out of poverty. I don’t accept as inevitable that, in a country as wealthy as Canada, hundreds of thousands of children go to school every morning without having eaten. We’re going to take that money, the $500 million that the stock option tax loophole gives to Canada’s wealthiest. We’re going to dedicate it dollar for dollar to help those children and their families out of poverty.

That’s direct action to act on a problem that the other parties have talked about for years but have done nothing about. Yes, Canada’s largest corporations are going to start paying something resembling their fair share, David, and it’s high time that they did. Their approach has failed and it doesn’t work and we will change it.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, you won’t raise taxes. How do you raise the federal revenue?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Actually, as you know, we’ve cut business taxes, and our corporate tax revenues are actually rising because we have a competitive tax environment that attracts investment.

I go back once again to what Mr. Mulcair is saying. He’s claiming he’s going to cut taxes on small business. Then why is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other experts saying that his plan will cause job losses because in fact he raises taxes. We’ve seen this NDP playbook everywhere. They claim they’re going to balance the budget, bring in billions of new spending, balance the budget through tax increases. What happens? We end up with job losses. That’s what we had with the NDP in power in Ontario. That’s what we had with the NDP in power in British Columbia, and we’re seeing exactly the same story here in Alberta.

We had a round of layoffs because of low oil prices. Now we’re having a round of layoffs because of the business tax increases of the NDP. In an unstable global economy we have competitive tax rates. They’re not super low but they are competitive. This is something we need to protect our economy and keep creating jobs. High taxes, permanent deficits, do not create jobs.


David Walmsley: Now, while the leaders catch their breath, we’ll move to the second part of the evening. This part has a different pace to it.

It is said that in the old days, the electorate used to choose their representatives. But now, as data becomes more sophisticated, politicians are able to choose as well as ignore key demographics. It affects everything from policy to selection to who the politicians choose to talk to. It marks a profound and, some would say, uncomfortable shift.

Wish me luck as I try to push the leaders off their well-rehearsed speaking notes and give each of them the opportunity to explain themselves more thoroughly and hopefully with fewer interruptions from the others. I will ask each leader a specific question that will be followed by an exchange between myself and that leader before turning it to open debate. Again, the leaders have no prior knowledge of these questions.

And we’ll start with Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, you lead a party that has never run the country. Why should the electorate hand the national economy to you?
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair makes a point during the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk – RTS1NLH

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (Mike Sturk, Reuters)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thank you, David. And that is a key question in this campaign because, after 150 years of being told that we have no choice, that when we’re tired of the Liberal sponsorship scandal, we have to alternate back to the Conservatives, and when we get tired of the Conservative Senate scandal, then, hold on, for the first time in our history, there is another choice. The party that, according to Canada’s own Finance Department, has the best record for balanced budgets.

Tommy Douglas took over the province of Saskatchewan that was in bankruptcy after Liberal rule, ran 17 consecutive balanced budgets and brought in Medicare. I come from a family of ten kids. I’m the second oldest. We had to work hard. We lived within our means. We took care of each other. Those are the values that have guided me as a father, as a grandfather, and as a husband. I’m very proud of that. And those are the values that will guide me in the future.

We are a party that will make people our top priority. We brought in Medicare with Tommy Douglas. We’ll bring affordable quality child care across Canada.

David Walmsley: Your biography is entitled Strength of Conviction. But is your determination to avoid a federal deficit at all costs not simply opportunism and a defensive play?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s something that reflects exactly how I’ve been as a public administrator. I’ve been in public life for over 35 years. I practiced law as a, as a lawyer for ten years during that period, but I’ve always served the public. My wife Catherine is a psychologist who works in long-term care and palliative care. Our older son is a police officer for 17 years in the Quebec Provincial Police. Our youngest son is a college professor. We all serve the public.

I think that there’s no more noble calling. So I want to make sure that we do the right thing for people, going forward. I want to make sure that when my granddaughter goes to university, she doesn’t have to borrow at the level that young people are borrowing today. I want to make this a better society, and I don’t want to do like Mr. Trudeau, leave a massive debt on the backs of future generations.

David Walmsley: But this determination for a balanced budget, no deficit, is surely something that is a challenge to the NDP’s fabric.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Our fabric understands, as I just mentioned with the example of Tommy Douglas, but you can look at the Roy Romanows of this world. It’s in our DNA. We know that the only way to bring in something as important as quality, affordable child care across Canada is to build it on a solid foundation, and for us that means balanced budgets.

It doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when you have to spend. In 2008, we were in the worst recession since the 1930s. Of course everyone agreed that we had to spend at that time. But that’s not the case now. We don’t want to leave more billions on the backs of future generations. We’re al- already leaving them a massive ecological and social debt. They don’t need that economic debt as well.

David Walmsley: OK, I want to follow up – and this is a, a recurring issue as we, you know, enter the last part of the debate, and that is what all of your visions are for this great country. What, Mr. Mulcair, will you do to build a new economy?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, one of the things that we will do is make sure that it’s a knowledge-based economy because we know that that’s the way of the future. The only way to create new wealth is to create new knowledge. And Canada has to be playing a more active role.

But when you look, when I travel across the country on what we were calling a kitchen table tour, I was in Sault Ste Marie. The young couple that I met, I was in their home, they told me that between them, they had $130,000 in student debt. With a $24,000 a year child care fee and houses where they are, when’s that young couple supposed to start thinking of starting a family? That’s the reality today. And believe it or not, family, having children is a good thing for that couple, but it’s also a good thing for the economy.

So let’s get this right for the future. Let’s make sure that we get our priorities right. My priority’s always going to be doing like we did when we brought in Medicare. That helped my family, but it’s helped Canadian families for generations now, and that’s why we want to make sure that our social programs are on a solid footing, and that includes balanced budgets.

David Walmsley: Okay, let’s go to the open-floor part of this, and Mr. Trudeau. Yes, Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair keeps talking about investing in our future. He keeps talking about doing the right things for families who need help, except you can’t put forward a plan for investment like my plan on Stephen Harper’s budget. It takes the optimism that we need to invest once again in our future, to know that Canadians are capable of building a stronger future, and after the low growth that we’ve had for many years, it’s time to kick start the economy.

That’s why the – what I’m worried about saddling my kids with is a lack of jobs, a lack of good infrastructure, a lack of a future because a government didn’t want to invest in our country. Now, this is what our plan is all about. Building a stronger future. Mr. Mulcair is putting it off. He’s made balancing Stephen Harper’s budget his priority, which means he can’t give Canadians the help they need the way we will.

That’s what our plan is about, and I’m being straight and honest. Mr. Mulcair’s plan is to actually do what we know politicians of all parties – including my own – have done in the past, which is to say we’re going to balance the books and then oops, the numbers are worse than we thought. We’re going to have to break our promises. That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m being honest with Canadians. We’re going to run three deficits and we’re going to invest in the future Canadians need right now.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, the, the whole essence of Mr. Mulcair’s plan is that he says he will balance the budget through tax hikes. That’s what the NDP’s tried everywhere. They left Ontario in a massive deficit, they left British Columbia —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Turns out it was the Liberals.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– in a massive deficit. Manitoba is in a massive deficit. Alberta’s deficit got larger since they took office. The former Saskatchewan Auditor General says they left Saskatchewan in a deficit because tax hikes do not, do not grow the economy. They do not create jobs. They kill jobs and they hurt revenues. And we don’t want to go down that path.

Now, Mr. Trudeau says we can, we will have greater optimism by spending more. I actually think this is what Canadians fear. We don’t measure our level of optimism through our level of spending. We make sure we’re making investments in the things we need to, as we are doing in, in infrastructure, in training, in innovation. But we do that in a way that we know we can continue to do and continue to afford without raising taxes by having a balanced budget. And I think in this unstable global economy, that is an important guarantee for people’s future and why they should be optimistic.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, Mr. Harper, what you don’t understand is what Canadians can’t afford is to continue to be stuck in traffic every morning because there’s no reliable transit because the federal government hasn’t stepped up as a partner. You’ve been stuck in a motorcade for the past 10 years, but most Canadians are actually very aware that the transit underinvestment is a drag in our economy.

I’ve talked with municipalities and provinces right across this country who need a reliable federal partner to step up and invest. And people, serious economists across this country have said that, that we have a plan that is exactly what we need. No less than the person you appointed to head up the Privy Council, Kevi- Kevin Lynch actually said yes, a plan for investment right now is what we need.

The former Chair of the Bank of Canada, the, a list of the former Parliamentary Budget Officers, there are many people who’ve said now is the time to invest and that’s exactly what the Liberals are going to do. Not because we’re cheery and optimistic, but because we know that countries that believe in their future are willing to invest in their future ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and that’s what we’re going to do.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we have the largest infrastructure investments in history right now, including major public transit announcements going on all over the country, including right in this city ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Yeah, at election time, Mr. Harper, at election time.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk) and those are the facts and I ask ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: People see through your games.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– everybody to look at the numbers, to look at the numbers – they’re there – and we’re doing that without raising your taxes and without borrowing money.

Mr. Trudeau says he has former public servants and politicians who tell him it’s OK to spend more. I got to tell you something. Those people will tell you always to spend more. That’s what they will tell you. You got to be able ––

David Walmsley: OK.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– as a Prime Minister —

David Walmsley: I want to —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to know when to safeguard the taxpayers’ money.

David Walmsley: I want to give Mr. Mulcair a chance to come back. So please. Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, David. Our plan is based on long-term vision. We know what has to be accomplished. We are not ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Long-term starts now ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — doing like the Liberals ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– with their short-term approach, leaving tens of billions of dollars on the backs of future generations. And you know, Mr. Trudeau, you were talking before about Stephen Harper’s budgets, but you have voted for Stephen Harper’s budgets. I can guarantee you I have never voted for one of his budgets, and your very first vote as a Member of Parliament was to vote for his tax give-away to Canada’s largest corporations. I can guarantee you that Jack Layton and I fought that every single step of the way.

David Walmsley: OK, thank you. It’s ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And voted against every tax break for middle class and working Canadians.

David Walmsley: –– I think what we’re seeing tonight is an extraordinary exchange of ideas between a now centrist NDP and a deficit favouring Liberal Party. So I want to turn this one to Mr. Trudeau. Taxing the richest and then spending it, why should Canadians who are already up to their eyes in debt be encouraged by your message?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, we are raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent so that we can lower them, so we can cut them, for the middle class. That is the shift that we feel we need. Mr. Mulcair talks about income inequality, you can hear the NDP talking about income inequality all the time, except they actually are not doing anything about it. Only the Liberal Party is going to ask people who’ve been very successful to do a little bit more so we can put money in the pockets of people who actually need it. That’s what our approach is, because we know that that’s what we have to do.

But on top of that and aside from that, we are also going to make historic investments in the future of our country because Canadians need transit, they need roads and bridges, we need clean water and wastewater treatment systems. We need things that are going to create good jobs for Canadians now as they build them and good jobs and prosperity going forward as our communities do better.

That’s what investing in our future is all about, and that’s not left or right, that’s ––

David Walmsley: So Mr. —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– what Canada needs.
From left to right, NDP Leader Tom Muclair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are seen at various points during the Globe and Mail leaders’ debate, in this photo illustration, on Thursday, September 17, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Photo illustration (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, we know that you propose what is really a fairly modest deficit against the $2 trillion national economy. What do you consider to be the biggest single challenge you face, because when I look for the cost of your platform, I can’t add it up.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have, we were the first party to put a fully costed framework that said that we indeed are going to run three modest deficits over the first three years so we can balance the books in 2019, because what Canada needs right now is growth. What we need – because Mr. Harper has been unable to deliver it, having the worst growth record of any Prime Minister since the depths of the Great Depression – is a plan to grow the economy. And you do that by investing in our communities, in transit, in green infrastructure, in the kinds of things that are going to contribute ––

David Walmsley: But let, let’s go back to the —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– to growing the economy.

David Walmsley: — to your idea of an infrastructure bank. Recreational centres, water facilities, are these areas that are part of the federal government’s role?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: The federal government’s role in a country like Canada is to be a partner serving citizens with communities, with municipalities and with – with provinces. We will respond to the needs that Canadians have on the ground to improve their quality of life, to build better opportunities in their cities. That is what the federal government should be. That’s not what the federal government has been over the past decade as Mr. Harper has refused to engage with the provinces, has not been a solid partner to municipalities in the transit and infrastructure investments that are needed, and that’s exactly what we’re going to turn around.

It’s not ––

David Walmsley: So we’re – we’re – we’re —

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– up to the federal government.

David Walmsley: — in Alberta, we’re in Alberta this evening.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Yes.

David Walmsley: There’s clear sense that structural change is happening to the economy. So again, for yourself, what will you do, what are your policies to build that new economy?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, one of the, one of the facts we’re looking at right now is, because of the challenges with low oil prices, we have construction and engineering multinational firms here in Calgary who are suddenly bidding on local contracts, that they’ve never had the bandwidth to do before. This is the time to invest in your hometown, Mr. Harper. You need to step up and we need to step up as a government and be there for municipalities like Calgary, who are trying to create new avenues of opportunity, given the cyclical nature of our commodities.

This is exactly a moment to invest, when interest rates are low, when our debt-to-GDP is low, and when the economy has been flat for ten years because Mr. Harper hasn’t stepped up for his hometown or for anywhere across the country.

David Walmsley: Let’s go to open floor. Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, if I could respond to that, as I said before, we are making record investments in our infrastructure right now, including a federal infrastructure program that is rolling out across the country. But, you know, let’s be frank about Mr. Trudeau’s plan.

The reason Mr. Trudeau is running deficits is not because he has some underlying economic philosophy. It’s because he went around the country and promised far more money than he actually had and found out that taxing a few wealthy people a little bit does not cover that. And so now he’s trying to run, saying deficits are a good thing.

We did a lot of work to make sure we came out of deficits after the great recession without cutting our social programs. That’s what we’ve done. This is a guarantee to people, to you ladies and gentlemen out there, that when we’ve lowered your taxes, they’re going to stay down, and the investments we make are sustainable.

And when Mr. Trudeau gets us off the anchor of a balanced budget for no apparent reason, we know where that’s, the Liberals have done federally and in Ontario, that goes on forever and it gets worse. And that is not a risk you or our, our economy in this fragile ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper,

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– economic environment can afford.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, you have run deficits in good years. You have run deficits in bad years. The only time you’ve said that deficits are not going to be run is in election years. The fact of the matter is you stood on stages like these, looked at Canadians three times and promised not to bring in deficits, and yet, that’s exactly what you’ve done.

The reason that we’ve struck in def- we’re stuck in deficits for so long is because you don’t understand that giving tax breaks and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians is not a way to grow the economy anymore. We have low growth, you have the worst job creation record since World War II of any Prime Minister, and that’s what Canadians are feeling. You are disconnected from people’s reality. We need once again to get this country investing in its own future ––

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper,

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and that’s what you haven’t done in ten years.

David Walmsley: (Crosstalk).

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me, let me correct the facts. We ran surpluses before we had the global financial crisis. When the global financial crisis came, everyone in the world ran deficits and we told Canadians we would run a massive stimulus program, get it out the door quickly, sustain our economy through that period, and that it would be temporary and the deficit would fall until it was eliminated. And we’ve done exactly that on exactly the schedule we said we would do it, and we’re now in our second year of a balanced budget.

David Walmsley: OK, Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Why would we return to deficits now when we have an unstable global economy and we need to make sure we can assure people ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Because we need to (crosstalk)

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of the benefits ––

David Walmsley: Mr.- Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of delivering (crosstalk). That’s why.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, please. Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Back on July 19th, Mr. Trudeau gave a press conference at which he said he would balance the books, he would run balanced budgets nonstop.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, not nonstop.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Just a few weeks after that, he announced that he would run $10 billion a year in deficits. Now you just heard him say the same thing. He was clearly criticizing the fact that Mr. Harper had run deficits. But that’s exactly what he’s planning to do. So I think, Justin, that it’s only fair to say that when your advisors tell you one thing and another, and they’re totally contradictory, pick one. You just can’t say them both.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: With regard to tax cuts ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– Mr. Mulcair —

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to the wealthiest, your first vote in Canadian Parliament was to vote for Mr. Harper’s tax cuts for the wealthiest.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, I ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Now you’re against ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– I ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– what you did.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– am looking straight at Canadians and being honest the way I always have. We said we are committed to balanced budgets, and we are. We will balance that budget in 2019, because Canadians need investment and growth right now.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Walmsley, there’s another point ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: You are looking at ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– that has to be brought up, which ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– Canadians, you are looking at Canadians ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– is that Mr. Harper claims that he made no cuts to social programs. I’m sorry Mr. Harper, when you sat down with the provincial Ministers and announced that you were going to be cutting the funding formula by up to $36 billion for health care, that’s called cutting social programs.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let’s, let’s be, let’s be, let’s be absolutely clear on what the facts are. Under this government, our transfers for health to the provinces have risen from $20 billion ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s what you’re planning to do, Mr. Harper.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to $34 billion.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Stop denying ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s a 70 percent increase.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– reality.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And that number will grow every single year into the future. We’ll hit over $40 billion ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you raised ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– by the end of the decade.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– the age for Old Age Security ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That is, that’s the record.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– from 65 to 67. You didn’t make that announcement ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Those, those, those ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to a group of hard rock miners in Sudbury.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– changes, Mr. Mulcair ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You made that announcement ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– don’t come into effect ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– from (crosstalk) in the Swiss Alps.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– until the year ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Is that political courage?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– 2023. What we’re done in the main- meantime ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You’re cutting social programs ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– is we brought in ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — period.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the biggest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for our most valuable seniors in a quarter century. And Mr. Mulcair, you like to talk about the fact you voted against business tax cuts, you voted against small business tax cuts ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you just ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– you voted against ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– made the statement.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– tax cuts for working people ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That statement will be (crosstalk) ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– for (crosstalk) ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You said you never cut social programs for the middle class.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Mulcair ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– (crosstalk) having Medicare ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk) health care (crosstalk) ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– you’re raising the retirement age.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk)

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You know that that’s not true.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– both retirement and health care, and the Public Accounts ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair has talked about health care transfers ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– and the financial (crosstalk) government to make (crosstalk).

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– but he just stepped back from that promise. He promised to increase health care transfers, and now has said oh no, balancing the books is more important.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: We are increasing ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not what Canadians need.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — investments, we are increasing them.

David Walmsley: Thank you very much. Thank you.

We now move to the final question of the debate, and it goes to Mr. Harper. Mr. Harper, you’re going to need some new ideas. The reality is the oil patch resources in general are going to be a smaller part of the Canadian economy. And it is clear that, under your watch, Canada is no longer an international champion on many different data points. We have record household debt, we have minimal growth, and in many cases, we have stagnant wages.

Why do you deserve more time ––
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (C) and Conservative leader Stephen Harper walk on stage before photo opportunity prior to the beginning of the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. (MIKE STURK/Reuters)

(Mike Sturk/Reuters)

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let me ––

David Walmsley: –– to find a cure?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me be clear on that. Those things are just – David, I just don’t accept what you just said. You look over the past ten years, whether it’s income growth, whether it’s job growth, we have done better than all the major developed economies. It hasn’t been great because we are living in a terribly unstable and risky global economy.

Right now, a portion of our economy is being hard hit by the fallen oil prices. That’s something that concerns me. I come from here. It affects people I know personally and personal friends and family for a long period of time. We’ll do something about that. But to suggest for a second that that has been all there is to our policy is just false.

Our policy’s based on what I call the three Ts, the three Is: taxes, getting them down, keeping them down, making them competitive; training, making sure we’re investing speci- particularly in things that we know there’s labour demand for in the future; trade, opening up markets. We now have, to the trade agreements this government’s signed, we’re going to have in the future access to over half of global GDP. Investing in innovation with our manufacturers and reforming our immigration system to make it even more effective for our economy and making record investments in infrastructure.

That’s why I believe that Canadians are optimistic when they look at the future.

David Walmsley: Well, let’s drill down on trade, for example.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Yeah.

David Walmsley: What do you say to the auto sector as you look at the Pacific Trade plan?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, we know the auto sector has concerns on that particular – as do others – but David, what I say is this: you know, we’re entering the final stages of a trade discussion in the Asia Pacific that I think, frankly, is going to conclude successfully, that is going to be the basis of the global trade network in the Asia Pacific for the generation to come.

And what I say to the auto sector in particular – I’m not suggesting they will necessarily like everything that is in that, but what I am saying is we simply cannot afford as a country to have our auto sector shut out of global supply chains. That would be a disaster. We’re going to make sure we get the best deal for that. And all of our sectors, but we are committed as a government, to making sure we do not fall behind in our access to a global trading economy which is so integrated. If we do that, that would be disastrous for this country.

David Walmsley: All right. You know better that most the challenges and the problems that come, that can’t be predicted.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Right.

David Walmsley: You’re facing an economy that is incredibly challenged, that demands new thinking.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Right.

David Walmsley: What are you thinking of for the new economy? How do we turn this from resources to knowledge and the sharing economy?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, David, I have come to work now for seven years in a row with nothing but economic crises around the world. You know, as a banking crisis, then it’s a sovereign debt crisis, a housing crisis. We now have market chaos in China. We have the fallen commodity prices. We do, we do have to do two things. We do have to respond to these crises, but we have to operate on a long-term plan, and that is what we have been doing.

And you know, that long-term plan is not only not just about resources, but it is also including resources. I don’t want to suggest for a second that we are not going to have a vibrant resource sector. The fact that we have an unparalleled resource endowment, we have one of the highly educated workforces in the world, and we have innovative and progressive manufacturers, that we cover the complete spectrum of the economy is one of the reasons Canada is able to weather these global economic storms better than most. And we are committed to making sure that all of these sectors move forward together.

David Walmsley: OK. Thank you very much, Mr. Harper. We’re going to now go to Mr. Mulcair and the open floor. Please. The, one of the questions that the Prime Minister responded to was with respect to his vision. What do you think that the NDP can do to transition our economy beyond the buffeting winds we have with oil prices, China, and the US Fed today saying we’re not going to raise rates again?

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I believe it is possible, David, to build a Canada that is more generous and more prosperous. Mr. Harper tends to believe that everybody’s in it on their own. I think that we’re all in this together, and I think that we should try to work to raise everybody up. You know, I do come from a very large family and times sometimes were tough, but I’ve seen what it is when people work together and they hold together. They try to give each other that helping hand.

I also know that it’s high time that around the world people started looking at us differently. I want our democratic institutions respected here at home and our international reputation respected abroad. I want to make sure that every young person gets the opportunities that they need and, frankly, that our young peo- that our seniors get the, get the help that they deserve.

David Walmsley: Mr. ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s why we propose to raise the Guaranteed Income Supplement to raise several hundred thousand of our poorest seniors ––

David Walmsley: Mr. ––

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– out of poverty.

David Walmsley: –– Trudeau, what do you say to Mr. Harper’s position that the Liberals will allow for a deficit, but then there will be slippage and that deficit gets out of control?

Hon. Justin Trudeau: On the contrary. The reason Mr. Harper hasn’t been able to get out of deficit is that he hasn’t created growth. His cuts to and underspending to veterans programs, to First Nations, who we haven’t talked about enough tonight, because – or at all – because they’re an important element in kil- building our economy and making sure that we’re creating proper partnerships and, and moving our resources, as well as creating educational opportunities for young people across this country by investing, for example, on the Liberal platform, $2.6 billion in First Nations education.

We have an awful lot we need to do to keep investing in growing this economy. Mr. Harper continues to think that giving tax cuts and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians will somehow create growth. Well, it hasn’t. And that’s why we need a change.

Mr. Mulcair talks about all the right things, but he’s not going to be able to actually act on them because, unfortunately, he has back-loaded his promises and he’s committed, he’s committed to balance when we don’t need balance. With low interest rates right now, with a declining debt-to-GDP ratio, and with a flat economy, we need to invest in our future. That’s what confident economies do, and that’s what the Liberal Party of Canada is proposing.

It’s the right plan to help Canadians now.

David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, when it came out the other day that it was confirmed by the Auditor General that we actually had a surplus last year, not just this year, but a surplus last year, Mr. Trudeau immediately came out and said well, that’s because they’ve cut veterans and they’ve cut seniors and they’ve cut infrastructure.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: You talk to seniors and you talk to veterans ––

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And of course, people look, people look ––

Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and they agree.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — at what’s actually in the annual financial statements, and spending in all of those areas has actually gone up. And the way we balanced the budget was we actually did increase revenues. We did it by cutting taxes. And I guess what I say to people is the same thing I said before. We’re not saying in this fragile global economy everything is great. We have significant risks and significant challenges. What we’re saying we’re doing is we’re making sure we’re investing in the things that will cause long-term growth and we’re investing in things that help people in their pocketbooks to get education, to save ––

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to retire, and higher taxes and permanent deficits is a risk that buys nothing for our people.

David Walmsley: Thank you.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And as we ––

David Walmsley: Mr. —

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– we’ve got to reject that kind of a plan.

David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.

Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper was elected on a promise to make Ottawa better, to, to change Ottawa, but unfortunately, it’s Ottawa that changed Mr. Harper. Corruption has actually increased, and that’s part of his legacy, but also Ottawa has become a more divisive and a meaner place. Our relationships with the provinces are more divisive and meaner under Mr. Harper. He’s refused to attend any meetings of the Council of the Federation.

I come out of provincial politics. I know that it’s part of my job, if I become Prime Minister, to sit down regularly with the provincial Premiers to work with them on important issues facing them, and on things that we want to bring forward, like quality, affordable child care. It’s a different approach.

David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.

Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, one of the things that I think is fairly clear is that I disagree with these two gentlemen on a number of things. But the main thing that I disagree with them on is their lack of ambition for our country.

Mr. Harper wants you to think that better just isn’t possible. Well, that’s not true. In this country, better is always possible. Mr. Mulcair talks about making things better, but isn’t going to act on it because he has no plan to build the economy we need.

David Walmsley: Thank you very much.

So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. This much-anticipated Globe and Mail debate on the economy comes to an end. You’ve heard a wide range of different views. and in a month’s time, it will be voting day.

I would like to thank everyone who has joined us made this evening possible. To Mayor Nenshi for hosting us here in Calgary. We at the Globe and Mail believe in the national debate, and I am sure that you agree that we got one tonight.

A final word of thanks of course, to the three leaders, Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Trudeau. We wish you all well. We know that you have a common interest in doing the best for Canada. You just have a different way of doing it.

Stay with us. We’ll be carrying the post-debate scrums later. But first, Jane Taber of The Globe and Mail joins us now to begin the post-debate debate. I’m David Walmsley, the Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail. Thank you, and have a good evening.