Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau kicked off his party's federal election campaign Sunday, casting the Liberals as wiser agents of change than the NDP because of their economic strategy.
As polls suggest the NDP is leading over the Conservatives and Liberals, Mr. Trudeau attacked the NDP's economic policies as much as he cast his Liberals as a better political choice than the governing Conservatives.
"The NDP would put the brakes on the economy at the worst possible time," Mr. Trudeau told supporters, citing the rival party's proposal to raise corporate taxes.
And he also said the NDP won't raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians, cut taxes on the middle class or stop sending child-benefit cheques to the wealthiest Canadians.
"I don't know why [Mr. Mulcair] made the choices he made. Maybe he's afraid of attacks," said Mr. Trudeau. "I'm not."
Mr. Trudeau has been targeted by Conservative party ads suggesting he lacks the experience to be prime minister – a point the Liberals have sought to rebut with ads released in recent days.
"My opponents can say whatever they like about me. I am going to stay focused on you."
Mr. Trudeau has said he wants to replace the Conservative child-benefit program with a more generous tax-free child benefit that will give more to parents with household incomes of less than $150,000. Wealthier households would receive less under the Liberal plan.
"We will stop sending cheques to millionaires just because they have children," he said.
As in the leadup to the official campaign, Mr. Trudeau touted himself as the champion of the middle class. "If you want to create jobs and grow the economy, you have to give middle-class Canadians a real chance to succeed."
Mr. Trudeau promised the Liberals will outline other middle-class friendly policies in the campaign, touching on such areas as infrastructure investments, programs to allow for greater access to post-secondary education, and investments in research and innovation around the environment.
"The Conservatives think you grow the economy by making wealthy people wealthier. We know that you grow the economy by strengthening the middle class and those hoping to join it," he said.
"When the middle class does well, so does the entire country."
Unlike Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who launched their campaigns in the Ottawa area, Mr. Trudeau made his first appearance Sunday in Western Canada.
But as the campaign begins in the competitive Lower Mainland electoral battleground, Mr. Trudeau sought to make a virtue of being in the province where he worked as a teacher and where his mother and her family are from.
"Getting outside the Ottawa bubble is extremely important to Canadians," Mr. Trudeau said.
Mr. Trudeau said Mr. Harper's election call, which he has criticized, was not going to deter him from a commitment to attend to the Vancouver Pride festival. The Liberal leader was scheduled to march in the Pride parade soon after his kickoff event.
"No one is going to get me to break my word, particularly not Stephen Harper," he said.
Mr. Trudeau said of his B.C. appearance that "somewhere my Grandpa Sinclair is smiling and nodding approvingly," referring to his maternal grandfather, James Sinclair – a Liberal MP, and fisheries minister.
The 2011 election left the Liberals with two seats in the province.