UPDATE 1-Canada PM tries to use market turmoil as election campaign tool

Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:22pm EDT
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(Adds quotes from prime minister, opposition leader, background)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA Aug 24 (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper seized on global stock market turmoil on Monday to argue voters should stick with his Conservative government in the Oct. 19 election, warning that the policies of his opponents would be dangerous for the economy.

Harper's ruling right-of-center Conservatives - seeking a rare fourth consecutive mandate - have long prided themselves on their handling of the economy, though the country is teetering on recession due in large part to low oil prices.

Recent polls suggest the party is neck-and-neck with the New Democrats and the Liberals, and could well lose its majority in the House of Commons.

Asked about stock markets currently hit hard by bad news from China, Harper said the policies of his two opponents - to the left of him on the political spectrum - would be damaging because they would be paid for by tax hikes and deficits.

"This is a ridiculous and very dangerous position for the Canadian economy," he told a televised news conference in Drummondville, Quebec.

Harper said Canada had solid economic fundamentals, low debt and stable banks and should stick to Conservative policies designed to cut taxes and boost growth.

The government, he added, had a range of tools it could use in case of "much more serious circumstances." He did not give details.   Continued...