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The Hamilton Spectator
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Wednesday October 8, 2008
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, sliding in the polls a week before elections, on Tuesday released modest legislative goals saying now is not the time to boost spending.

Harper's Conservative Party has faced criticism the prime minister is out of touch with the country's economic situation, but Harper has insisted that the economy is stable and that no major intervention is necessary.

The new Conservative platform promises $745 million in tariff relief and loans for hard-hit manufacturers, but otherwise includes no major new spending.

Toronto's stock exchange dropped 10 percent Monday before rallying late in the day, though it dropped again by four percent on Tuesday as oil stocks were sold off amid fears of a global economic slowdown.

Harper said the market was overreacting to falling oil prices which he acknowledged were down but still higher than a year ago.

A national Harris-Decima poll released Tuesday found voter support for the Conservatives at 31 percent, 10 points below where they were in early September. The Liberals are at 26 percent, followed by the New Democratic Party with 21 percent and the Green Party at 13 percent.

Harper has maintained that Canada will avoid the mortgage meltdown and banking crisis hammering the United States and Europe. More...

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Sliding in polls, Harper unveils platform
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