It’s Day 26 of the campaign; Stephen Harper starts his day in Rivière-du-Loup, Michael Ignatieff is in Saint John, New Brunswick, and Jack Layton is in Stoney Point, Ontario.
Things got heated last night across the interwebs after the Conservatives put out renewed “Coalition Watch” releases with quotes from Ignatieff’s interview with Peter Mansbridge; they omitted the fact that Ignatieff said he would also work with Harper if necessary. Next, they put out transcripts of the interview that omitted the Harper mention; when they were called on it, they said it was the fault of The Canadian Press, which they got the transcripts from. Err, except CP didn’t produce the transcripts. So then they named the company they got them from; it’s one notorious for rushed and inaccurate transcription from broadcasts. Once they were called out on that and had the record pointed out to them, they finally sent the transcript out again – minus the whole paragraph with the Harper mention. Harper’s spokesperson started it all again by blaming CP. And… oh, what’s that? Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. That is all.
Harper held a rally in Val d’Or. It didn’t start with the national anthem as other rallies have, given that it was a Quebec event; it wasn’t going to be a standard stump speech. So what did we hear? Harper touched on the coalition; Duceppe wanting a weak government for a new referendum (funny, Duceppe said that majority or minority, it won’t matter – the last two referendums were under majority governments); focusing on the regions; the need to work on the economy; the things he’ll do without raising taxes; the Bloc being soft on crime but tough on duck hunters; and Duceppe's party being too Montreal-centric. He followed by talking about all the wonderful infrastructure projects they have funded, his need for more Conservatives in Ottawa, security and stability, and the choice of a Conservative government or another referendum. Funny, there was no appeal to patriotism in Quebec.
Ignatieff was in Brampton for a town hall. He kicked things off with his “very Canadian, not very ethnic” shtick and followed by speaking briefly about his platform planks (with a few digs at the NDP along the way). He took questions on gas prices (we can’t roll back prices, but we have Dan McTeague in caucus: he's an expert in gas prices and we'll get him to examine the issue to ensure that there's no gouging); Libya (we're there to prevent a massacre – we weren’t there in Rwanda); family reunification (we need to restore the balance in the system because it’s about fairness and equality); a woman who was considering spoiling her ballot after the Conservative and Green candidates didn’t show up for a debate (candidates need to show up to debates, your vote matters, and people fought for the right to vote); the International Criminal Court (the ICC has ended immunity for dictators, and grown-up foreign policy means isolating the Sudanese while ensuring the South can have their democratic referendum); what “the economy” means in terms of the election (social programs like childcare and education are crucial for the economy); an apology for the Komagata Maru incident in the House of Commons (I taught about it at UBC 30 years ago, and yes, an apology is appropriate); family visitor visas (it should be a right of citizenship, we can’t wave a magic wand, and we should streamline the bureaucracy); alleviating homelessness (we have a platform commitment to affordable housing that is not just for the homeless, issues around addictions and mental illness that need to be addressed, and we're committed to national anti-poverty strategy); deficit and debt (we have clear priorities, but can’t be all things to all people, it will be one percent of GDP in two years, and we'll grind it down from there); taking on big pharma for availability of alternative medicine (our goal is more health, not more healthcare, we need to reform the system, but we can’t make empty promises because the provinces deliver healthcare), the environment – as asked by a child… and that’s when CPAC cut away.
What’s that? Two Quebec ministers had to intervene on behalf of the Montreal Port Authority in 2007 when one of the prime minister’s spokesmen was lobbying for someone to be elected as president of the board? You don’t say!
A cleaner is claiming she was paid under the table for work done at 24 Sussex. That’s one way of ensuring Canadians pay fewer taxes, I suppose…
Here is an analysis of the French accents of the three anglophone leaders.
The CBC’s Reality Check team gives a failing grade to Conservative ads that claim they’re tough on human smuggling while the Liberals aren’t.
And here’s the revision of the Liberal ad that the Conservatives objected to. The Harper misquote has been replaced with an excerpt from the infamous “Firewall letter,” which was chosen by voters on the Liberal website.