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Conservative leader Stephen Harper makes a campaign stop in Montreal on Tuesday, August 25, 2015.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Stephen Harper says a re-elected Conservative government would spend an additional $200-million to expand the country's high-speed broadband Internet network across remote and rural areas.

At a campaign event in the eastern Ontario community of Lancaster, south of Ottawa, Mr. Harper says there is no infrastructure investment more critical to Canada's economic fortunes than Internet access.

He says despite the expansion of high-speed access in recent years, there remain significant gaps in some parts of the country far from major urban centres.

Mr. Harper is extolling the virtues of the Conservative record on issues of importance to rural Canada, including paying for local roads, bridges and community centres, and financial help for doctors, nurses and volunteer firefighters.

And he's taking well-aimed shots at Liberal rival Justin Trudeau, saying he only cares about "big-city issues, like legalizing marijuana," and lacks experience, knowledge and judgment.

Mr. Harper also told reporters that the current economic challenges reinforce his argument that Canadians need to stay the course with a Conservative government committed to making affordable investments to grow the economy while living within its means.

He says the Liberals are offering out-of-control spending financed by what Mr. Harper says would be permanent deficits while the New Democrats are promising an "avalanche" of tax increases.

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