Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

World Cup humiliation for host nation

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

FOCUS

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system?

Read more

ENCORE!

How a comedy dud became one of France's biggest box office hits

Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    Read more

Stephen Harper faces voters amid economic crisis

©

Latest update : 2008-10-15

Canadian voted for the third time in four years, amid a financial crisis. The ruling conservatives led by PM Stephen Harper are predicted to win but, with one-third of voters still uncertain, Harper's victory is not assured.

Canadians voted Tuesday in their third election in four years, likely to return the Conservatives to office as global stock market gloom turned to bloom.
  
Canada is the first major economy to go to the polls since the start of a global financial meltdown, to be followed by a US presidential election November 4.
  
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at the helm of a minority government since January 2006, is predicted to win his second mandate, with polls on Monday giving him a five percentage point lead over his main rival, Liberal leader Stephane Dion.
  
But with one-third of voters still undecided, and three other mainstream parties nipping at the front-runner's heels, a Conservative victory is by no means assured.
  
"It was hard to make my choice, especially on the economic question, because I find none of the party leaders very convincing," said Jos, who was casting his ballot in Montreal's Little Italy neighborhood, and declined to give his last name.
  
The 37-day electoral campaign started slow but in its dying days was dominated by the question of who was best qualified to lead the country amid current economic uncertainty.
  
"The number one job of the next prime minister of Canada is to protect this country's economy, our earnings, savings and jobs at a time of global economic uncertainty," Harper said Monday in the town of Cornwall, Prince Edward Island.
  
"If you give me the honor of re-electing me as your prime minister, I can assure you that I will make it my top priority to protect Canada's economy and Canadians' stake in it," he said.
  
On a coast-to-coast blitz, Harper urged supporters to push hard to the finish line. "In this close election, there is no guarantee we will win," he said.
  
Dion meanwhile said the incumbent prime minister "has no plan" to safeguard Canada's economy from the worldwide woes provoked by a collapse in the US subprime mortgage market.
  
"We have a plan to create jobs, to ensure that we are doing all we can in these tough economic times to protect our pensions, our savings, our mortgages, and our jobs," Dion said in Fredericton.
  
Throughout the campaign, partisan jockeying over health care, justice, arts and culture funding, Canada's mission in Afghanistan and climate change was ordinary, even dull, with no one issue galvanizing voters.
  
Then in the last 10 days, focus shifted to global financial troubles, and Harper lost his early 10-point lead.
  
Rivals accused Harper of glossing over Canadians' fears of US economic carnage splattering this country, despite his and his finance minister's efforts to reassure them.
  
They attacked Harper's "stay the course" campaign, and for saying in a recent television interview that plunging stock markets presented good buying opportunities for investors.
  
Harper shot back, saying the Liberals' plan for the largest tax shift in recent Canadian history, massively cutting income and corporate taxes to offset a new pollution tax, was too risky in "uncertain economic times."
  
Amid the politicking, the Toronto Stock Exchange took its worst beating in almost 70 years, and a leading Canadian bank predicted a recession in 2009.
  
Nearing the finish line, support for both the Conservatives (33 percent) and the Liberals (28 percent) was actually down two percentage points from the last election in 2006, according to the Strategic Counsel.
  
The nascent Green Party meanwhile nearly doubled its support to 11 percent, the separatist Bloc Quebecois dropped one percentage point to 10 and the New Democrats remained at 18 percent.
  
Tuesday, the TSX/S&P index bounced back 1,600 points in early trading after the United States and European governments unlocked more than two trillion dollars in rescue funds for ailing banks the previous day.
  
By mid-afternoon, the Toronto Stock Exchange rally had settled back to a more modest gain of 731 points or eight percent to 9,796.
  
But after a dizzying roller coaster ride, Canadians' footing was shaky and fears of a US-led global recession spilling over into Canada still haunted them.

Date created : 2008-10-14

Comments

COMMENT(S)