Economic shots traded in Canadian election race

Mon Oct 6, 2008 6:47pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada's political leaders traded election shots on Monday on whether the Conservative government had done enough to protect the country's economy from the global financial crisis.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion and New Democratic Party chief Jack Layton accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of ignoring the impact of the credit crisis in the United States, Canada's largest trading partner.

"He hasn't done anything for the last two years, and he's not about to start now," Layton told a campaign rally in Vancouver, ahead of next week's general election.

Harper said Canada was not immune to the global economic slowdown but it was not in recession, and the government had taken steps to protect the country's banking system and economy in advance of the crisis.

"We've developed a plan that is suited for a period of slow economic growth and economic uncertainty," he told Business News Network television.

Opinion polls on Monday showed the Conservatives still leading, but in a tighter race than earlier in the campaign. Canadians go to polls October 14, and advance voting is already under way.

A Harris-Decima/Canadian Press rolling poll put the Conservatives at 32 percent, down 2 points from the day before and down 5 points in the space of three days -- and 4 points less than what they got in the 2006 election.

The poll showed 25 percent support for the Liberals and 21 percent for the left-of-center New Democratic Party.

A Nanos survey has the Conservatives at 34 percent, the Liberals at 29 percent -- just one point less than their result in the 2006 election -- and the NDP at 20 percent.   Continued...

<p>New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton (C) is greeted by supporters while holding a campaign rally in local a restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia October 6, 2008. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>