CALGARY -- A look at some key exchanges from Thursday's televised leaders' debate on the economy.


Conservative Leader Stephen Harper: "They propose hikes to payroll taxes, to CPP particularly and also employment insurance, that are 10 times bigger than the tax cuts they are promising small business. That's why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has come out against these plans. That's why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other experts today said that Mr. Mulcair's tax increases will cost at least 250,000 jobs. You don't protect our economy and you don't move it forward and create jobs by running permanent deficits and raising taxes."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau: "Mr. Harper has demonstrated once again that he's missing the point. Canadians need support. The fact that he's talking about pensions as taxes. Why pensions aren't taxes Mr. Harper, is when people retire they get their pension money back. They don't get taxes back. That's where the difference is."

Harper: "That's a decision for people to make themselves."

Trudeau: "Mr. Mulcair needs to hit the wake-up call."

Harper: "We have given all kinds of tax incentives for people to save and they're taking advantage of them."

Trudeau: "No, they're not Mr. Harper."

Harper: "... 11 million people have opened tax free savings accounts. Workers and employers, small employers, do not want these tax hikes and when you say they're not tax hikes, they're coming right out of the pay cheques. A thousand dollars for the Liberal party proposal out of someone making $60,000 comes out of the mortgage."

Trudeau: "Mr. Harper you're inventing ..."

Harper: " ... comes out of planning for education, comes out of putting food on the table it's not just money that appears out of thin air."

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair: The average Canadian knows that a pension plan is necessary. the Canada Pension Plan, as far as Mr. Harper's concerned is a tax. We view it as an investment in the future. I'm tried of watching successive Liberal and Conservative governments dump these massive ecological, economic and social debts on the backs of future generations."

The economy and the environment

Mulcair: "Mr. Harper sees the environment and the economy as polar opposites. Everybody in Canada knows you have to work on both at the same time."

Harper: "Which is why we've done both. Mr. Mulcair, you actually are the only leader in Canadian history to have gone to another country, you and your colleagues to the United States to argue against Canadian jobs and against Canadian development projects."

(all shouting over each other)

Mulcair: "40,000 Canadian jobs would be exported to the United States with Keystone XL. That's not our figure, that's the government of Canada's figure under Mr. Harper's Conservatives. I want to create those 40,000 jobs in Canada. Let's add value to our natural resources here. That's the way to sustainably develop our resources."

Harper: "Mr. Mulcair, when you export your product it creates jobs on both sides of the border. That's why trade is a good thing."

Puffs of smoke

Trudeau: "Mr. Mulcair, who's talking about child care, the fact is that a young family with a two-year-old doesn't need child care eight years from now when their kid is in Grade 5. They need it right away, but Mr. Mulcair is not making a choice that's going to allow to invest in his promises. They're puffs of smoke."

Mulcair: "You know a lot about that, don't you, Justin?"

Infrastructure spending

Trudeau: "No less than the person you appointed to head up the Privy Council, Kevin Lynch, actually said yes, a plan for investment right now is what we need. The former chair of the Bank of Canada, the list of the former parliamentary budget officers. There are many people who have said now is the time to invest and that's exactly was the Liberals are going to do -- not because we're cheery and optimistic but because we know that countries that believe in their future are willing to invest in their future and that's what we're going to do."

Harper: "Mr. Trudeau, we have the largest infrastructure investments in history right now including major public transit announcements going on all over the country including right in this city."

Trudeau: "Yeah, at election time, Mr. Harper. At election time. People see through your games."

Harper: "…Those are the facts. I ask everybody to look at the numbers, to look at the numbers. They're there. And we're doing that without raising your taxes and without borrowing money. Mr. Trudeau says he has former public servants and politicians who tell him it's OK to spend more. I've gotta tell you something: those people will tell you always to spend more. That's what they will tell you. You've got to be able as a prime minister to know when to safeguard the taxpayers' money."


Trudeau: "This is exactly a moment to invest; when interest rates are low, when our debt-to-GDP is low and when the economy has been flat for 10 years because Mr. Harper hasn't stepped up for his home town or for anywhere across the country."

Harper: "Let's be frank about Mr. Trudeau's plan. The reason Mr. Trudeau is running deficits is not because he has some underlying economic philosophy, it's because he went around the country and promised far more money than he actually had and found out that taxing a few wealthy people a little bit does not cover that. And so now he's trying to run saying deficits are a good thing.

"This is a guarantee to people, to you ladies and gentlemen out there, that when we've lowered your taxes they're going to stay down and the investments we make are sustainable, and when Mr. Trudeau gets us off the anchor of a balanced budget for no apparent reason, we know where, the Liberals have done that federally and in Ontario, that goes on forever and it gets worse and that is not a risk you or our economy in this fragile economic environment can afford."

Trudeau: "Mr. Harper you have run deficits in good years, you have run deficits in bad years. The only time you've said that deficits are not going to be run is in election years. The fact of the matter is you stood on stages like this, looked at Canadians three times and promised not to bring in deficits and yet that's exactly what you've done. The reason we're stuck in deficit for so long is that you don't understand that giving tax breaks and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians is not a way to grow the economy any more."