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Stephen Harper talks investments, mother in Victoria

Conservative leader Stephen Harper faced questions about his investment advice and his mother at a campaign stop in Victoria this morning.

“Many Canadians have seen big losses in the last couple weeks,” Harper said after giving a speech focused on the economy and health care. “I know that because my mother is one of those people and I hear about it every single day. We know people are worried. They have a right to be worried.”

The questions arose from an October 7 CBC television interview where Harper suggested a falling stock market presents opportunities to buy.

Harper stressed though that he's not getting into the investment advice business. “The point I'm trying to make is governments don't get caught up in stock market panic and pessimism. Stock markets go up and down,” he said. People should act like the government and think long term, he said.

But he does understand people's concerns about their investments, he added. “I use my mother as an obvious example because she's the person closest to me who's most worried about the stock market these days. Believe me, I get quicker updates on the stock market from her than I do from the department of finance.”

Also of note from the event:

* It was Harper's second appearance in Victoria during this campaign. This one was at the Coast Harbourside Hotel, just a few hundred metres from the Laurel Point Inn where he spoke a few weeks ago.

* Harper answered 10 questions from the media. Nine of them came from reporters travelling with the campaign and just one from a local reporter. That reporter wanted to know if Harper was afraid cabinet minister Gary Lunn might lose his seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands where he faces a united left. Harper said they take nothing for granted in any riding and hope to hold the seats they have and gain others.

* A supporter standing behind Harper wore a “Run with Rob” T-shirt. The slogan is for Rob Reid, the running shoe store owner who after several false starts entered the race to be Victoria mayor.

* Harper again took aim at carbon taxes in a province where premier Gordon Campbell introduced just such a thing this year: “Tell me how imposing a carbon tax, that would drive up the cost of everything Canadians buy, tell me how that shows you care or understand the situation.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. You can reach him here.

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