Editor's Note: The following is the text of the Conservative Leader's remarks as he kicked off the official portion of the 2015 federal election campaign on Sunday, Aug. 2.
A few minutes ago, I met with his excellency, the Governor General, and he has agreed to my request that Parliament be dissolved.
In accordance with our commitment to a fixed election date, the next general election will be held as prescribed by law.
As it is my intention to begin campaign-related activities, as is also the case for the other party leaders, it is important that these campaigns be funded by the parties themselves rather than taxpayers.
It is also appropriate that Canadians have the time to consider the alternatives before them, because this is an election about leadership on the big issues, the issues that affect us all: our economy, and our nation's security.
It is an election about who will protect our economy, in a period of ongoing global instability, and secure Canada's future prosperity.
And it is an election about who is best-equipped to make the tough calls to keep our country safe.
A national election is not a popularity contest.
On October 19th, Canadians will make a serious choice, between proven, real-world experience and a dangerous approach that has failed before and is failing in other countries.
Today, as Canadians know, the global economy remains uncertain and unstable.
The debt crisis in Europe continues to unfold.
China is experiencing a significant economic downturn.
Economic recovery in the U.S. continues to be slower than anticipated.
These events abroad are once again impacting us here at home.
Canada has continued to perform well compared to other G7 countries, but we cannot forget our focus or lose our course.
Managing our economy remains our government's top priority.
Our choices have been prudent and our actions have been disciplined.
As a result, our economy and our employment have grown steadily over six years.
Our budget is balanced.
Our social programs have been preserved.
And we have lowered taxes for hard-working Canadians, and delivered significant new benefits directly to Canadian families.
Now is not the time for the kinds of hazardous economic schemes that are doing so much damage elsewhere in the world.
Now is most certainly not the time for higher taxes, reckless spending and permanent deficits.
Now is the time to stay on track.
Now is the time to stick to our plan.
This election is also about our security, not merely our security against the normal risks of criminal behaviour, but our security
against the growing threats of an increasingly dangerous world.
The rise of the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East has done more than just create an urgent and horrific crisis in that part of the world.
It has also fuelled the violent, global jihadist movement that poses a direct threat to our friends and allies, and to us here at home.
Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada and Canadians by name, and last October violent attacks were carried out on our soil.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and ongoing military aggression continues to threaten the peace and stability won at great price by previous generations.
Our government has taken decisive action in response to these threats.
We've strengthened our legislation to give our security and law enforcement agencies the modern tools necessary to keep us safe.
We are part of the broad international military coalition, led by President Obama, against the Islamic State.
Day in and day out, the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces do us proud by taking the fight to the terrorists who seek to harm us.
And our government has been out front in the world's response against Russian aggression and for the right of peaceful and democratic countries, like Ukraine, to choose their own future.
I am proud that, today, Canada takes stands in the world in defence of freedom, peace, and human dignity.
Now is not the time for political correctness, inexperienced governance or an ideological unwillingness to act.
Now is the time to face those who threaten us with moral clarity, strength, and resolve.
We Canadians are truly blessed to live in the best country in the world.
In less than two years we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's birth as a united country.
But before this significant moment in our history, Canadians will make a critical decision about the direction of our country.
— A decision
— with real consequences,
— a decision about who
— has the proven experience today
— to keep our economy strong
— and our country safe.
I will be asking Canadians for their support to continue to deliver sound economic management, and to take the difficult decisions necessary to protect our country's security.
Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting Canadians from coast to coast to coast as we lay out the next steps in our plan.