9-11 anniversary prompts security pledges

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Harper Refugee Crisis

OTTAWA – A campaigning Conservative Leader Stephen Harper used Friday’s 14th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. to highlight his government’s national-security credentials.

Speaking to an election rally in Victoriaville, Que., Harper flatly asserted that voters face a choice between “security and risk” next month at the polls.

The incumbent Conservatives have been buffeted by an international refugee crisis over the past week, and Harper has been trying to stress the terrorist threat millions of displaced Syrian and Iraqi civilians pose, and hence the need for rigorous screening of newcomers to Canada.

“On Oct. 19, you will have to choose between experience and the unknown, between security and risk,” Harper told a crown of partisans.

“Security and experience, that’s what Conservative candidates offer.”

The New Democratic Party under Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have been hammering the government for failing to speed up the refugee-resettlement process, while Harper has countered by playing to fears of terrorist infiltrators.

With the 78-day election campaign now past its midpoint, the three major federal parties remain locked in a tight three-way battle in most public opinion polls and are trying to separate themselves from the field.

The anniversary of the world-shaking 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washingto