OTTAWA — The federal NDP pushed back Monday after Stephen Harper took aim at the party’s Quebec caucus during a campaign stop in Laval, Que.
Speaking in French, Harper called the group the “most ineffective group of any group of MPs in history.”
“There’s not a single star among Mulcair’s caucus in Quebec.”
Alexandre Boulerice, part of the so-called “Orange Crush” of NDP MPs to emerge from Quebec in the last federal election, said Harper is out of touch with the province on issues including the environment and employment insurance.
The NDP was able to claim 59 of the province’s 75 available seats in 2011, while the Conservatives managed only five.
“I think he can see the NDP have some momentum,” Boulerice said.
Boulerice said the NDP has a strong team in Quebec heading into the Oct.19 vote, including a combination of veteran MPs and rookies.
“In Quebec, the vast majority of the people just want to replace Stephen Harper as soon as possible, so they are expecting for the next election to change the government and elect Tom Mulcair as prime minister.”
Mulcair, who hails from Quebec and spent time as a cabinet minister at the provincial level, did not hold a campaign event on Monday, and is said to be preparing for Thursday’s leaders’ debate in Toronto. He was, however, scheduled to attend an event Tuesday in Montreal.
Harper also set his sights on Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, who summarily dismantled a 44-year-old Progressive Conservative dynasty in the province earlier this year.
“The new NDP government … they can’t present a budget, but what was the first thing they did? They raised taxes and that’s a disaster,” Harper said.
Notley, whose province is dealing with the impact of a steep drop in oil prices, has delayed the release of a provincial budget until this fall. She has also moved to increase income taxes on anyone making more than $125,000 a year effective Oct. 1.
Of course, Harper’s own government also chose to delay the release of its own budget earlier this year, ostensibly in order to contend with the impact of lower oil revenues.