Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (left) Conservative Leader Stephen Harper (centre) and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair (right). (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Federal Election Sees First Debate

The first leaders debate of the federal election didn’t have any knockout punches, but it did have Stephen Harper, for the first time, not deny Canada’s economy is in recession.

The exchange happened between the Conservative leader and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

“We are one month away from a technical definition of recession, but according to a lot of observers we are already in recession,” says Mulcair.

Harper responded, “Mr. Mulcair, I’m not denying that, what I am saying is that that contraction is almost exclusively in the energy sector.”

To which Mulcair cut in, “At least you’re not denying it.”

Harper still stuck to his message of pushing voters to keep with the status quo.

“Now is not the time to throw us back into deficit and to start to spend tens of billions of dollars that we don’t have paid for by taxpayers,” says Harper. “That is the wrong policy.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pressed Harper on tax fairness, an area he feels the previous Conservative government has failed.

“The reality is Canadians across this country know that times are tough and the fact is you have completely become disconnected to the reality people are facing right across the country,” says Trudeau.

Mulcair slammed Harper’s jobs record with a talking point the NDP leader used on his swing through Windsor.

“On Mr. Harper’s watch, we’ve lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs,” says Mulcair. “There are 200,000 more unemployed today than when the crisis hit in 2008.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May went after the Conservative and Liberal supported anti-terror bill.

“This C-51 anti-terrorism act makes us less safe. It is not confronting terrorism. It is very likely to make us less able to disrupt plots while at the same time eroding our freedoms,” says May, who was also lively when the debate focused on energy and the environment.

Voters who tuned in learned right at the beginning of the debate from moderator Paul Wells there is still a long way to go in the 2015 federal election as election day is still two months away, set for October 19.