It’s Day 28 and it looks like everyone is finally taking a day off. Thank the gods.
From a Presse Café in Montreal, Michael Ignatieff hosted a Facebook town-hall meeting and answered questions that were posted online. He was asked about youth unemployment (we need better education and employment credits); democracy promotion (we need to establish a new democracy promotion agency, and you can’t promote it abroad unless you practise it at home); the Court Challenges Program and other women’s programs (yes, he’ll restore them); GHGs and environmental plans (we would offer the home retrofit tax credit, reinvest oil sands subsidies into green technology, and we need more investment in renewable energy); Planned Parenthood (we must respect those with other opinions, PP has spent 40 years giving scientific, unbiased advice to women on a full range of options, and they must be funded fully); First Nations issues (we need to offer better education and to address health issues); the “bickering” of question period versus democracy (there are two loyalties – to party and to democracy – that must be balanced, we need to get out on the road and talk to more people, and Trudeau added that youth need to get involved in politics in order to help change things); gun control (the registry is essential, and Layton wasn’t there to stop the Conservatives); vote mobs (they’re great – brings up the “Rise Up!” and says if you don’t vote and the other guy gets in, the country goes to hell); women in politics without using quotas (I've learned a lot from women who were in leadership roles, we need that in Parliament, and we need more men who understand women’s leadership); sustaining healthcare (vote Liberal, we need equal access across the country); multiculturalism and unemployed immigrants in Quebec (multiculturalism is about equality, integration is an issue), the parliamentary budget officer (the role is a crucial instrument of democracy, and he needs to be there to give us a hard time); foreign policy (it's too militarized right now, we need to use the 3 Ds: diplomacy, development and defence, and the military role is to protect civilians and we need equipment to do that); national unity (I don’t take it for granted, and I respect Quebec's identity in the order they choose); and arts and culture (I understand what it’s like to make a living as an author, artists need more support and no iPod tax!).
A short while later, Harper held a rally in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where he gave yet another standard stump speech – the Coalition Menace, the Coalition Said No™, separatist scare, stability, security, appeal to patriotism and Harper out.
Layton held a rally in Brampton for several hundred people; he started off talking about the “new choice” Canadians have and moved on to his rote criticism of Harper and his scandals. He followed by moving on to immigration issues, focusing on the family reunification issue. He then turned his guns on Ignatieff, repeating disingenuous lines about votes and closed with his pitch to become prime minister.
Planned Parenthood says its submission to the Canadian government didn’t include funding for abortions because they knew it would be a problem with this Conservative government. And yet they’ve been waiting for more than two years for approval. Trost says he’s sticking by his statement and says that nothing the government has said contradicts his position. And he’s right. Also, remember that Planned Parenthood in Ottawa just lost its United Way funding. Likely unrelated, but possibly part of a larger narrative that we should start paying attention to.
The CBC takes a closer look at the issue of those harassing phone calls that were being made to Liberal supporters. The investigation finds that they’ve been coming from the phone number of a company the Liberals contracted legitimately. The company's owner says that someone is "spoofing" the number – projecting a fake caller ID.
The Globe and Mail wonders if Layton’s absentee pay-docking plan will actually do anything meaningful.
The CBC’s Reality Check team gives failing grades to NDP charges that the Liberals oppose pharmacare (their own plans are just as vague) and Conservative plans to speed up deportations. (It’s already a top priority and going in their draconian direction would create more problems than it would solve.)
And the NDP has a new television ad: Layton lays out his positive ideas while some of his campaign moments are played. At least it’s not more creepy animation, right?