Harper gets Hammered From All Sides During French Language Election Debate
Harper took hits from all four opposition member leaders but kept his trademark smirk during much of the Canadian french-language election debate.
Stephan Dion, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May all criticised various aspects of Harper's conservative government, on aspects from the economy, international relations and the environment.
In a lively two-hour French language face-off, Harper was also accused of showing "disdain" for democracy and for the arts. He was slammed for doing nothing about soaring gas prices and failing to protect Canada's food safety.
And on the critical issue of the economic crisis threatening North America, Harper took repeat shots from all sides. The Conservatives were accused of rewarding Alberta's rich oil industry, while the forestry and manufacturing sectors sink in Ontario and Quebec.
With the U.S. financial crisis top of mind, the first portion of the two-hour session focused on the economy.
Harper was quick to downplay the potential effects the economic turmoil south of the border might have on Canada.
"Canada is not the United States," he said, adding the country's economic fundamentals are strong and jobs are still being created.
In a jab at the Liberals' proposed carbon tax, Harper said the last thing needed at this time of financial uncertainty is a new tax system.
The second, much anticipated english-language debate will be airing tonight. Unfortunately it will directly conflict with the United States' vice-presidential debate going on tonight. Which one will *you* be watching?
Federal party leaders will look to gain traction in English Canada in Thursday night's election debate, a day after attempting to gain ground in the crucial Quebec battleground during their verbal-jousting session in French.