Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued to target the Greater Toronto Area ridings Wednesday. Harper spoke at NOVO Plastics in Markham, Ontario where he proposed new measures to assist immigrants with their foreign credentials.
The latest polls show that the Conservative Party of Canada is at or near majority territory. Polling numbers suggest that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives maintain double-digit leads over Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party and Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party.
The Prime Minister has been campaigning diligently throughout towns in the Greater Toronto Area. Conservative pundits have speculated that these ridings are the key to Harper and the Conservatives gaining a majority in the House of Commons.
Immigration and loan assistance
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper talking to a factory worker.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister, alongside Conservative Member of Parliament Paul Calandra, made a campaign stop at NOVO Plastics in Markham where he commended the company’s success despite the global economic downturn.
Harper praised immigrants who have come to Canada and contributed the country’s economic growth. The recent campaign pledge made by Harper was to help strengthen immigrants and their families’ financial security.
One of the key measures proposed by the Prime Minister was to help foreigners obtain their foreign credentials faster and more easily.
“We understand the importance of credential recognition to the financial security and well-being of new Canadians and their families, as well as the Canadian economy,” said Harper, in front of a backdrop of the Canadian flag and NOVO Plastics employees. “Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our government has invested $50 million over two years in the development and implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking at an election event in the Greater Toronto Area.
The proposed loans will cover various costs, including fees, training, exams, training materials and other charges in the foreign credentials process.
Harper said that the program, which is projected to cost an estimated $6 million annually, was originally rejected by the the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois under the Next Phase of Canada’s Action Plan “to provoke an unnecessary and opportunistic election.”
Following his speech, the Prime Minister was asked about this week’s incident in London, Ontario where a 19-year-old student was ejected out of a rally because of a photo that was posted on her Facebook. The image showed the girl posing with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper being thanked for making a campaign stop at NOVO Plastics.
Harper responded that there have been thousands of people who have attended Conservative rallies – the Prime Minister said it is much more than his opponents’ rallies – and he is trying to get his message out to as many people as possible.
The Prime Minister added that he cannot comment specifically on the case because there are “literally thousands of people coming out to these events, but my preference is to get people to hear the message.”
“It’s better when you’re turning people away than not getting them to come,” said Harper. “But I will not comment on individual cases. I think the reason we’re getting the people to come out, and the other guys are having difficulty getting people to come, is because people didn’t want this election.”
“People wanted this government to keep governing; they don’t want a coalition, they don’t want to raise taxes, they don’t want to take chances with the economy and they want us to keep governing and moving this economy forward.”