Federal election 2015

Highlights from Sept. 1 on the campaign trail

In the news today: Statistics Canada numbers put focus on jobs and the economy.

    A look at key developments Sept. 1 on the campaign trail:

    Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pressed the flesh in Quebec, a province where polls suggest support for the New Democrats has been surging.

    NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was on the West Coast promoting his plans to boost tourism while Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pushed his fiscal and economic credentials in Ontario.

    Trudeau returned to the campaign trail after taking a day off, pressing the flesh at a Tim Hortons in Gatineau and holding events in other parts of Quebec, a province in which his party was once powerful but has been squeezed hard lately by the New Democrats. In 2011, the Liberals eked out only seven of the 75 seats in Quebec, while the NDP took 59 and polls suggest the New Democrats could do even better this time around. In an effort to boost his party’s fortunes, Trudeau took aim at the Conservative government’s economic record, pointing to new Statistics Canada figures showing that Canada slipped into recession earlier this year.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to shrug off the Statistics Canada data, instead seizing figures indicating a small economic uptick in the economy in June as good news. He also made two new promises: Creating a new organization based in Burlington, Ont., to help develop products and technologies for the manufacturing industry; and setting up a new trade-promotion office within the prime minister’s own bureaucracy. Conservative supporters booed when a reporter asked Harper about the ongoing Senate scandal.

    On the West Coast, in a region hard hit by wildfires and drought, Mulcair blamed the Harper government cuts for dwindling tourism — a critical sector in B.C. He promised to boost funding with the aim of attracting more visits to the province and other areas of Canada. B.C.’s southern Interior is largely Conservative but the NDP made gains there in 2011 and Mulcair is hoping to improve on that.

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