It’s Day 30 of the campaign. Stephen Harper is in Victoria, Michael Ignatieff is airing a 30-minute infomercial across the country, and Jack Layton is in the Ottawa area.
Premier Robert Ghiz joined Michael Ignatieff at a rally in Summerside, PEI. Ignatieff talked about meeting with the premiers during the first 100 days of a mandate with the goal of fixing healthcare, homecare and catastrophic drug coverage. He mentioned that he and his wife own a cow that lives at a farm on the island. He said that we are now in the serious part of the campaign – the time to choose a government and not an opposition. Pointing to the stage and two former ministers of the Crown, he emphasized that his team is a choice with experience, unlike the “amateur hour” of the NDP. He spoke about getting the deficit under control, not making promises they couldn’t keep and their ability to make difficult choices because they have experience. He called the NDP a nice “free ride,” saying that like a taxi, the meter keeps running up. He said that the Conservatives don’t have a platform; they're just demanding a majority to avoid all hell breaking loose. He reiterated that he wants to offer something positive – his Family Pack – instead of bullying or offering things five years down the road. At that point, he laid out his five platform planks and said it boils down to equality for the country as a whole, as opposed to inequality with a division between urban and rural. He said that he is so focused on education because that's the ticket to advancement and equality, which is the key to economic success. He demonstrated a fairly impressive array of local talking points, saying that he wants to be prime minister in order to serve Canada. The event closed with an abbreviated version of his Rise Up! speech.
Stephen Harper was at a rally in Campbell River, BC, where he started off with his usual stump speech elements – a focus on the economy, the Coalition Menace (with the added dig that we don’t know who would be reporting to whom at this point), the Nova Scotia NDP having raised their HST by two percent and the iPod-tax fallacy. He then went after the NDP, the biggest threat to the local incumbent, John Duncan. During his “Conservatives say yes” call and response, it was “Mr Layton and his partners” instead of “the opposition coalition.” From there, it was promises (not mentioning that they wouldn't kick in until after the deficit is eliminated); the trouble lapping at our shores; an appeal to patriotism (bringing back the false Laurier-Olympic Gold Medals anecdote, which had disappeared for the past week or so); an awkward pitch for unity; his usual pitch for security and stability; and a plea to “win that victory for Canada.”
In light of the incident in Mississauga yesterday that saw PMO staffers whipping up a crowd to drown out a reporter’s questions, Reuters’ Ottawa correspondent David Ljunggren is reminded of similar incidents that happened during the last election: Harper held his press conferences before supporters who would boo when unpopular questions were posed by reporters (usually on the global economic meltdown). The more things change…
Here’s a good story on the rise of the NDP in Quebec. (Caution: There's a paywall.)
Speaking of the NDP in Quebec, Layton apparently has difficulty naming any of his Montreal candidates – or really, any more than about four of them.
Another Liberal MP, Wayne Easter, has to repay some improperly claimed housing expenses.
Meanwhile, a Conservative incumbent in Oakville keeps making increasingly bizarre allegations about his Liberal counterpart and refuses to appear on air to discuss them.
Here’s an interesting video piece on some of the dead prime ministers, using the Twitter Machine.
And Susan Delacourt looks at the possibility that all those Liberals who stayed away in the last two elections are waking up and getting involved again – which could win back the 905 belt from the Conservatives.