Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses his caucus on the one year anniversary of winning his majority government, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 2, 2012.
Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - The Conservatives and NDP used the anniversary Wednesday of last May's election to set out their ideological visions for Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his was about polishing policies to secure Canada's place in a fragile global economy.
"The financial and debt crisis of the past few years may not in many countries be a passing phenomenon," Harper warned in a speech to caucus to mark the Conservatives' milestone majority.
"World economic power and wealth are shifting in a way that is historic and we, as Canadians, must decide that we will be on the right side of that history."
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said his plan forward was about wooing "progressives" - in other words, Liberals - to topple Harper in 2015 and restore Conservative program, pensions and tax cuts.
"Today is the end of the beginning for our new team, but more importantly it's the beginning of the end for a government that thinks it can ignore the voices of millions of Canadians," he said.
Both parties pulled off historic feats last year - the Conservatives winning their first majority under Harper and the NDP forming the official Opposition under Jack Layton.
Mulcair painted the Conservatives as uncaring to women, seniors, aboriginals, and unions and one "plagued by scandal and mismanagement" with a hidden agenda to outlaw abortion.
He repeated his pro-environment party's anti-war mantra and how it would pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan.
Harper boasted his party was the only one with a serious workable economic plan and not "pie-in-the-sky" promises.
"A majority mandate cannot change who we are and how we govern. Our values are our values," Harper said, adding he'll use his majority to focus on the longer term.
He recommitted to speeding up environmental reviews for major projects, including a pipeline to the Pacific to ferry Alberta crude to Asian markets.
He said changes to Old Age Security and rewriting the formula to stream money to the provinces for health care will help "sustain the welfare and security of future generations" well beyond his government's time in office.
"Canada is the best country in the world. Our ancestors have seen to that. Let's get back to work to ensure that under our stewardship, it will always remain so."