WATCH ABOVE: During a campaign event in Brampton, Ont. on Tuesday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is choosing “austerity” over jobs with his balanced budget pledge.
TORONTO – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took aim at NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s pledge to run a balanced budget saying Mulcair is choosing “austerity and cuts” over jobs.
Speaking to supporters at a campaign event late Tuesday in Brampton, Ont. Trudeau said the NDP leader had “signed on” to Harper’s economic policy and was leaving the door open to future federal cuts.
“I have a couple of questions for Mr. Mulcair. Why does he want to take billions of dollars out of the economy in a recession, and what public investments will he be cutting to do that?” Trudeau told a crowd of supporters, alongside former prime minister Paul Martin.
“Let me tell you this, the choice in this election is clear. It’s between jobs and growth or austerity and cuts — and Tom Mulcair just made the wrong choice.”
Trudeau’s remarks come after Mulcair, who spent the day touring Conservative-friendly ridings in southwestern Ontario, said he would not go into the red in his first budget if elected prime minister.
“We’re of course going to finish the fiscal year on Mr. (Stephen) Harper’s watch – 2015-16 is his budget, but our first budget will be a balanced budget,” Mulcair said during a stop in Hamilton.
The new rhetoric on the economy from party leaders comes one day after a market meltdown spurred a plunge in the Chinese markets and the Canadian dollar fell to an 11-year closing at 74.93 cents U.S.
WATCH: Mulcair not concerned if raising corporate tax rates will lead to job losses
Toronto NDP candidate and former Saskatchewan finance minister Andrew Thomson took a page from the Tory playbook in responding to Trudeau’s comments saying the Liberal leader “isn’t up to the job.”
“Being Prime Minister isn’t an entry level job and on issue after issue, Justin Trudeau isn’t up to the job,” said Thomson in a statement Tuesday evening, similar to past Conservative attacks ads.
Paul Martin, a former prime minister and finance minister under Jean Chretien, spoke about a Liberal team under Trudeau that is “proven, experienced and ready.”
“The Liberal party again has the right team, made up of the right people to take on the vacuum that has been left by the Conservative government,” Martin told party faithful.
“It is a team that is proven, experienced and ready. They are certainly of a quality that none of our opponents can match.”
Earlier Tuesday, Harper, who was campaigning in Quebec City, said the high tax plans being proposed by the Liberals and NDP come at a time of “renewed global instability”
“You do not – as any financial planner will tell you, whether it’s from the prime minister on down – you do not run around and change your plans based on daily market news. You have a long-term plan and you stick to it,” Harper said, while announcing $26 million to expand the port facilities in Quebec City and to help build the new terminal at Montreal’s Alexandra Pier.