It’s Day 32 of the campaign, and there’s less than a week to go. Stephen Harper is headed to Quebec, Michael Ignatieff is in Vancouver, and Jack Layton is in Montreal.
Stephen Harper held a rally in Windsor, Ontario; he apparently said something about a new bridge to Detroit… but seeing as CPAC never aired it, I can’t tell you for sure (kind of like a tree falling in the forest).
Jack Layton was in Gatineau at a rally for more than 250 partisans. Layton was back behind a podium, which was a bit curious considering that he ditched it weeks ago. It was brought back for his last two Quebec stops, possibly to draw attention to his new French signage, which features a fleur-de-lys. His message began with affordability and Harper’s scandals, and moved to statements about women in politics (likely done because of the female candidates in the area). He promised to reverse Harper’s decisions around things like pay equity and Status of Women cuts. He moved on to promises about pensions and bringing the troops home, and said that he doesn’t want to be prime minister to attack the other parties. He said his focus would remain on getting results for families. He made a direct pitch asking women to vote for him in the interest of equality; he knows this is a key demographic he needs to win over.
Ignatieff held a rally in Vancouver; he delivered some fairly standard stump speech lines, made a few pointed attacks on Layton and the NDP about the credibility of their platform (especially given the costing they have already recanted) and then turned things over to the town hall portion of the evening. He took questions from the audience (as reported through the Twitter Machine by the press on scene) on mental health; the income gap; how he was planning to defeat Harper next week (we're convincing Canadians and have a positive message); more ridings to keep urban ridings from being disadvantaged – at which point a heckler got up, yelled at Ignatieff for blowing sunshine up the asses of the audience and then left (Ignatieff did answer, saying there need to be more seats in the West, even if it disadvantages Liberals); his attendance record (he tries to show up for votes but is also on the road talking to Canadians – which isn’t the whole story, mind you); floor-crossing legislation after the David Emerson incident (he’s prepared to consider it, but he remembers some who did it for honourable reasons, like same-sex marriage); and corporate social-responsibility (we need an ombudsman to monitor overseas). He then said that this would be his last town hall of the campaign – his 60th since he became leader – and went on to his Rise Up! speech.
In potentially troublesome news, the Liberals have obtained a copy of Harper’s embarrassing quotes, indexed alphabetically by subject, which was compiled by the Conservatives themselves. Here are a few highlights.
Oh, look – still more evidence, this time from the Pentagon, which states that the F-35 jets are each going to cost a lot more than the $75 million figure Harper still insists on using.
The Soudas tapes story gains another twist: the former head of the Montreal Port Authority quit the search for his successor when Soudas got involved because he no longer wished to be part of the process. That doesn’t sound good.
Here’s a CBC Reality Check about minority and coalition governments. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t really explain the basic civics lessons that everyone apparently needs, but at least it calls out the government for misleading the public about the nature of our democratic system. As well, here is the second part of the Reality Check from yesterday, which looks further at the NDP surge and gives one chilling reminder – Nick Clegg.
Speaking of polling data, here’s a particular poll showing voter distrust.
Vancouver Conservative candidate Wei Young’s troubles aren’t going away. Not only is the Air India bombing funder's endorsement plaguing her, but also her own family is suing her over their father’s estate and won’t be voting for her. Ouch!
And from the 1988 election, here’s a trip down memory lane to the last time the NDP was poised to make huge gains in Quebec.