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Dawning of Day 16: unveiling the NDP platform

It’s now Day 16; Jack Layton and the NDP are about to release their election platform. Michael Ignatieff is taking the day off, while… there is no word on Stephen Harper’s activities.

At a rally in Scarborough, Michael Ignatieff started by pointing to Vimy Ridge Day and giving a shout-out to both our troops in Afghanistan and veterans; he used this as a handy segue to speak about his pledge for free post-secondary education for veterans. He then compared Lester Pearson to Stephen Harper: Pearson's work in diplomacy earned him a Nobel Prize, whereas Harper was the first prime minister to see us lose our seat on the UN Security Council. He said that while there was a pledge to create an institute to promote democracy overseas, you couldn't preach it abroad unless you practise it at home. He talked about Pearson’s record of two minority governments and how he did more good for Canada in one year of minority government than Harper did in five. He called himself both a Pearson and a Trudeau Liberal and said that he is the heir to their legacy. Looking at the largely visible-minority crowd, he said, “This is the Canada they wanted to create” and “This is the Canada I love.” Stealing from Jack Layton’s thunder, Ignatieff talked about how Tommy Douglas’s dream of universal healthcare wouldn’t have happened without the Liberals and that they must defend it because, bottom line, Harper’s spending promises won’t have enough money left for it. In a bit of shameless pandering to the crowd, he touched on how Harper likes to talk about families but is absent on family reunification. From there, he began on his points about the politics of fear versus the politics of hope, saying, “Politics is not about manipulation; politics is about persuasion – one person at a time.” With a tour through the five platform planks and an appeal to life-long Liberals, he was out.

In a legion hall in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Layton attended a barbecue with about 80 party faithful. He took credit for the residential schools apology and said that it should have been followed up by more concrete action for the First Nations. He followed by saying that young Aboriginals must be encouraged to vote.

The Conservative war room is putting out talking points on how it’s “a bit rich” for Ignatieff to criticize the Conservative platform and includes a listing of the uncosted Liberal promises. The one that stands out for me was the $2.2 billion in tax harmonization for Quebec – Ignatieff has stated that he based his numbers on the 2011 budget and fiscal framework, and if that money wasn’t in there, it was on Harper’s shoulders, not his.

Paul Wells goes after John Baird to explain the expenditure review cuts – and Baird can’t.

The CBC takes a crack at the deficit hole in the Conservative platform.

And here is the first Green Party television ad, which is due to go out today.

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