It’s official: The campaign has begun. Canada is headed to the polls on October 19. Here’s what the leaders had to say at the official start of a gruelling 11-month campaign. (Additional leaders’ remarks will be added as we receive them.)
Related: Read our in-depth primers on the campaign’s 12 big issues
STEPHEN HARPER, CONSERVATIVE PRIME MINISTER
A few minutes ago, I met with his excellency, the Governor General, and he has agreed to my request that Parliament be dissolved.
In accordance with our commitment to a fixed election date, the next general election will be held as prescribed by law.
As it is my intention to begin campaign-related activities, as is also the case for the other party leaders, it is important that these campaigns be funded by the parties themselves rather than taxpayers.
It is also appropriate that Canadians have the time to consider the alternatives before them, because this is an election about leadership on the big issues, the issues that affect us all: our economy, and our nation’s security.
It is an election about who will protect our economy, in a period of ongoing global instability, and secure Canada’s future prosperity.
And it is an election about who is best-equipped to make the tough calls to keep our country safe.
A national election is not a popularity contest.
On October 19th, Canadians will make a serious choice, between proven, real-world experience and a dangerous approach that has failed before and is failing in other countries.
Today, as Canadians know, the global economy remains uncertain and unstable.
The debt crisis in Europe continues to unfold.
China is experiencing a significant economic downturn.
Economic recovery in the U.S. continues to be slower than anticipated.
These events abroad are once again impacting us here at home.
Canada has continued to perform well compared to other G7 countries, but we cannot forget our focus or lose our course.
Managing our economy remains our government’s top priority.
Our choices have been prudent and our actions have been disciplined.
As a result, our economy and our employment have grown steadily over six years.
Our budget is balanced.
Our social programs have been preserved.
And we have lowered taxes for hard-working Canadians, and delivered significant new benefits directly to Canadian families.
Now is not the time for the kinds of hazardous economic schemes that are doing so much damage elsewhere in the world.
Now is most certainly not the time for higher taxes, reckless spending and permanent deficits.
Now is the time to stay on track.
Now is the time to stick to our plan.
This election is also about our security, not merely our security against the normal risks of criminal behaviour, but our security
against the growing threats of an increasingly dangerous world.
The rise of the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East has done more than just create an urgent and horrific crisis in that part of the world.
It has also fuelled the violent, global jihadist movement that poses a direct threat to our friends and allies, and to us here at home.
Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada and Canadians by name,â¦ and last October violent attacks were carried out on our soil.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and ongoing military aggression continues to threaten the peace and stability won at great price by previous generations.
Our government has taken decisive action in response to these threats.
We’ve strengthened our legislation to give our security and law enforcement agencies the modern tools necessary to keep us safe.
We are part of the broad international military coalition, led by President Obama, against the Islamic State.
Day in and day out, the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces do us proud by taking the fight to the terrorists who seek to harm us.
And our government has been out front in the world’s response against Russian aggression and for the right of peaceful and democratic countries, like Ukraine, to choose their own future.
I am proud that, today, Canada takes stands in the world in defence of freedom, peace, and human dignity.
Now is not the time for political correctness, inexperienced governance or an ideological unwillingness to act.
Now is the time to face those who threaten us with moral clarity, strength, and resolve.
We Canadians are truly blessed to live in the best country in the world.
In less than two years we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s birth as a united country.
But before this significant moment in our history, Canadians will make a critical decision about the direction of our country. A decision with real consequences, a decision about who has the proven experience today to keep our economy strong and our country safe.
I will be asking Canadians for their support to continue to deliver sound economic management, and to take the difficult decisions necessary to protect our country’s security.
Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting Canadians from coast to coast to coast as we lay out the next steps in our plan.
THOMAS MULCAIR, NDP LEADER
In this election campaign, Canadians have a clear choice.
Four more years of Mr. Harper and the Conservatives or my plan for change.
Travelling across Canada over the past weeks and months with Catherine, I have heard the calls for change grow louder.
And it isn’t difficult to see why.
Wages are falling, incomes are stagnant and household debt is skyrocketing.
Middle-class families are working harder than ever, but can’t get ahead.
Mr. Harper has the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since 1960.
The economy has shrunk in each of the last five months and many are claiming that Canada is already in another recession.
Clearly Mr. Harper… your plan isn’t working.
I want to speak to every Canadian who thinks Mr. Harper’s government is on the wrong track, to every Canadian who is looking for change in Ottawa…
…Our plan is built on enduring Canadian values: hard work, living within your means, accountability
and, an unwavering commitment to focus the government’s priorities on helping you get ahead.
Partout où Catherine et moi allons, les Canadiens nous disent qu’ils souhaitent du changement.
Que ce soit à Montréal ou à Moncton, à Lévis ou à Winnipeg, les Canadiens envoient tous un même message:
Après dix ans de Stephen Harper à Ottawa ils veulent tourner la page.
Parce que le plan de Stephen Harper ne fonctionne tout simplement pas.
Les conservateurs laissent aux générations futures une énorme dette économique, sociale et écologique.
L’endettement des familles atteint un niveau record. Il y a 200,000 personnes sans emplois, de plus, aujourd’hui qu’avant la crise de 2008.
Les quelques emplois qui sont disponibles sont soit précaires, soit à temps partiel, souvent les deux.
Les Canadiens souhaitent remplacer la vision étroite des conservateurs par une vision claire et un projet de société axé autour du développement durable.
Les gens que je rencontre partout au Canada souhaitent remplacer la politique de peur des conservateurs
par une politique d’espoir et d’optimisme.
I believe that governing is about priorities.
Mr. Harper’s priority is to spend millions of dollars on self-serving government advertising and an early election call.
My priority is to invest in affordable, quality childcare, to help families and the economy.
Mr. Harper’s priority is to gut laws that protect our air and water while harming our reputation around the world.
My priority is to strengthen and enforce environmental rules here at home and have Canada do its part in tackling climate change on the world stage.
Mr. Harper’s priority has been to spend 100 million dollars a year, fighting First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in court.
My priority is to build a respectful nation-to-nation relationship with our first peoples that recognizes inherent rights and brings us closer to reconciliation.
While Mr. Harper sits on the sidelines, Canada has lost hundreds of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs.
My priority is to actively champion our manufacturing sectors and attract new investment to create good-paying, full-time jobs.
But it’s not just Mr. Harper’s misplaced priorities.
Do you remember when Mr. Harper promised to responsibly manage the country’s finances?
He’s had eight deficits in-a-row and has added over 150 billion dollars in debt.
Do you remember when Mr. Harper promised to clean up Liberal corruption?
In each of the last three elections, Conservatives have been convicted of wrongdoing.
Some have been sent to jail.
One-third of the Senate is under RCMP investigation.
I believe this must change – once and for all.
Do you remember when Mr. Harper promised to build a strong economy and create jobs?
Recent reports show that Mr. Harper has the worst job creation record of any Prime Minister since the Second World War and today there are 200,000 more out-of-work Canadians than before the last recession in 2008.
WE WILL kick-start the economy and get Canadians back to work.
It is our number one priority.
Mettre l’économie sur les rails. Créer des emplois de qualité et bien rémunérés.
Offrir à nos jeunes toutes les opportunités de réussir.
Garantir que nos aînés aienT une retraite digne, et les services qu’ils méritent.
Bâtir un Canada plus démocratique, plus ouvert.
Rétablir la réputation de notre pays à travers le monde.
My beliefs, my values, stem from my upbringing.
My family story is that of millions of Canadian families.
I was the second oldest of 10 kids.
We had to work for everything we had.
It wasn’t easy.
We worked hard, played by the rules and lived within our means.
We learned the importance of looking out for one another, of sticking together, of backing up your principles with action.
These are the values that guide me as a husband, as a father, and as a grandfather.
These values have guided my 35 years of public service—including as a Cabinet Minister.
And these are the values that will guide me in the future.
Je comprends personnellement la réalité des familles de la classe moyenne.
J’ai grandi dans une famille de dix enfants, à Laval.
J’y ai appris l’importance de la solidarité, de l’entraide et de travailler fort.
Et j’ai mis ces valeurs en application tout au long de ma carrière.
En tant que Ministre du gouvernement du Québec, j’ai eu des choix difficiles à faire.
J’ai appris à gérer de manière prudente dans l’intérêt du public.
Et j’ai acquis l’expérience nécessaire pour défaire et remplacer Stephen Harper.
I’ve fought for Canada my whole life.
And I believe that together we can leave to future generations, a strong, united Canada that is more prosperous, more fair and that stands tall on the world stage.
Our offer to Canadians is clear.
A government that stands up for middle-class families and the communities where they live.
A government that grows the economy and creates stable, full-time jobs, while protecting the environment.
One that ensures young people get the opportunities they need and our seniors get the benefits they deserve.
Comme vous avez pu le voir ces quatre dernières années, le NPD a une équipe solide.
Le NPD est prêt à former un gouvernement qui vous REssemble et qui nous RAssemble.
Parce qu’il est temps d’élire un gouvernement qui sera au service de tous les Canadiens.
Un gouvernement qui aidera la classe moyenne à joindre les deux bouts.
Les Canadiens et les Canadiennes méritent un Premier Ministre qui mettra de côté la partisannerie,
un Premier Ministre qui travaillera pour faire croître l’économie tout en protégeant l’environnement.
Les Canadiens méritent un Premier Ministre qui a l’expérience et le leadership nécessaires pour réparer les dommages causés par Stephen Harper.
We will build a Canada where democratic traditions are respected at home and our reputation as a country is respected abroad.
Where we replace fear and division with hope and optimism.
A Canada where everyone belongs, and no one is left behind.
That’s the Canada we can build… together.
Canadians are ready for change.
And we’re ready too.
I invite you to join us.
Thank you. Merci.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, LIBERAL PARTY LEADER
A few years ago, I launched my Leadership bid in my home riding of Papineau. So it’s quite fitting that I now get to launch my bid to become Prime Minister of Canada right here in my second home of BC. And somewhere, my grandpa Jimmy Sinclair is smiling and nodding approvingly.
Canadians want change. They want real change. And no wonder. Stephen Harper’s economic plan has failed our country.
We are working harder and harder to make ends meet, but falling further and further behind. Those few who have done well have done very, very well. But the middle class, and those hoping to join it?
The truth is, folks today are more likely to fall out of the middle class than they are to join it. Now, to top it all off, we are headed into another recession.
My friends, I’ve travelled from coast to coast dozens of times. I’ve met thousands of Canadians, where they live and work. In Tim Horton’s, in the factories they go to every morning, in parks where they go with their children, in arenas, and in their homes. I want to say to each and every one of the men, women, and kids I’ve met: This election is about you. It’s about your life, your future, and who has the plan and the team to make a real, positive difference for you.
You are asked to vote on your future, and to choose the person who has the plan and the team that will make a real difference – a positive difference – in your everyday life. Someone who shares your values and who understands what you’re going through. It’s about who gets it. Who has a new plan for the economy.
It’s time to choose a person and a team with an economic plan based on this fundamental truth about Canada:
If you want to create jobs and grow the Canadian economy, you have to give middle class Canadians a real and fair chance to succeed.
Let’s be clear: there’s a big choice to be made in this election. The Conservatives think you grow the economy by making wealthy people wealthier. We know you grow the economy by strengthening the middle class, and those hoping to join it. I’ve been to every corner of this country over the past few years, and you’ve told me over and over again that you don’t think anyone in Ottawa is listening. Well, I am.
You told me: “Give us change that makes a real, positive difference in our lives. We’re working harder than ever, but we just can’t get ahead. We can’t save for our kids’ education, let alone our own retirement. We’re seeing our adult children return home, unable to find work. And we worry that we will be thrown out of work, ourselves. We know all the government ads in the world cannot hide the truth: Canada’s economy is not working for us, and it’s harder and harder to make ends meet.”
That’s what the people I’ve met are saying. Canadians are my advisors.
In every home, in every town and city across this country, this election is about the people with bills to pay and futures to plan.
This election is not about who’s up or who’s down in the polls. It is not about political tactics. It’s about talking to the people who work hard and raise kids and build our communities. People who believe that the future can be better for our country. During this campaign, I’m going to cross this country again and again and again — and our candidates are going to go door to door — to talk directly to people who haven’t been listened to in a long time. People for whom Parliament Hill seems far away from their everyday reality, but the next bill is always near.
And here is what we’re going to say to them: You know the Harper Conservatives. And you know they are out steam, out of ideas, and out of touch. You know it’s time for a change, for a new government, a new direction. But you want that change to mean something. To you and your family. You don’t want to replace a failed plan for the economy with a mirage. You want a new plan. One that will work. For you. You want change that works for you.
That changes not just where we all sit in the House of Commons, but where your finances sit, when you go over the bills, and crunch the numbers at the end of every month. That plan is our Liberal plan.
A family with two kids making $90,000 dollars a year will get $2500 more, tax free.
Low-income families will see 315 thousand kids lifted out of poverty. Nine out of ten Canadians will be better off, in hard dollars and cents, under our plan than either of my opponent’s plans. We will pay for our plan in two ways. We will make the wealthiest pay more in taxes. We think that’s fair. After all, they’ve had it pretty good for ten years. And we will stop sending cheques to millionaires, just because they have children. We have a new plan for the economy that helps the middle class.
By making life for Canadians better, our plan will make Canada better. When hard-working families can save for their retirement, they invest in companies, employers, jobs. When they can afford to put their kids through school, they help build a highly educated work force that can take on the world. When we lift up the middle class, we will elevate our country.
We’ll also be talking about many other ideas in this campaign to create jobs and economic growth for the middle class – including new and innovative infrastructure investments, ensuring opportunities for post-secondary education are available to everyone, and investing in world-leading research and innovation, particularly around the environment.
Because Liberals understand this: when the middle-class does well, so does the entire country.
Mr. Harper has a failed plan, and Mr. Mulcair’s plan is a mirage.
The NDP will talk about raising the minimum wage. What they won’t tell you is that their plan won’t help 99% of the people who make the minimum wage in this country. It won’t help the people I met serving in restaurants, working behind motel reception desks, in parking lots and at checkout counters.
Tom Mulcair’s plan won’t give them a dime, because it only applies to minimum wage workers who are regulated by the federal government.
NDP candidates won’t tell you that. They’re peddling false hope to hard-working people. They’ll say they will help. But they won’t. And Mr. Mulcair knows it.
I think we’ve had enough of that kind of cynicism from the Harper Tories. I think that’s one of the reasons Canadians want change in the first place.
And the NDP’s other answer for everything is to make the company you work for pay more in taxes. That means fewer jobs and less investment, all while our economy is stalled. The NDP wants to put the brakes on the economy at the worst possible time.
The NDP will talk about helping the middle class, but they won’t raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians.
And Mr. Mulcair won’t cut taxes for the middle class. In fact, he’ll even keep Stephen Harper’s plan in place that sends child benefit cheques to the wealthiest Canadians.
Quite frankly, I just don’t know why he made the choices he made. Maybe he was afraid of their attacks. Well, I’ll tell you something, my friends. I’m not.
My opponents can say whatever they want about me. I’m going to stay focused on you, on making a real change happen that will make a real difference in your life.
So that’s what I’m going to do: stay focused on you, the people who build this country every day, and offer the best plan to help you.
Our plan. The Liberal plan.
You know, British-Columbians usually spend the August long weekend with family. We go camping, have friends over for a barbecue, or maybe catch a kid’s soccer tournament.
Well, Stephen Harper had a different idea this year. He spent something alright. Your money. A lot of it. 125 million dollars of it. Why? Because it’s the best idea he could come up with to help him keep his job.
Well, I believe a Prime Minister has three main jobs. Keep our country united. Keep Canadians safe. And give everyone, the Canadian people, a real and fair chance to succeed.
That’s what our plan will do. That’s what our team is committed to fighting for. And that’s what this election, truly, will be all about.