It’s now Day Eight of the campaign. With the exception of the NDP, the national campaigns are taking a day off; Layton will appear at a rally in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Conservatives are taking a breather after hitting all 10 provinces in the first week, while the Liberals are preparing for the rollout of their full platform on Sunday morning.
Yesterday afternoon, Jack Layton held a town hall meeting in Sudbury, where he spent 45 minutes answering questions from a modest crowd. The room was arranged in a circular fashion; Layton and his moderator were seated in the middle, while the teleprompter was still present to one side. He took a bunch of friendly questions on most of his major policy planks and pet issues – healthcare, the “sandwich generation,” childcare, proportional representation and Senate abolition, post-secondary education, his climate-change bill and predatory credit-card companies. The closest thing to a controversial question was on the long-gun registry. Layton calmly replied that NDP MPs had consulted with their constituents and proposed changes to fix it, and that it was now in the hands of the less-wasteful RCMP. For reporters on the scene and those watching remotely on CPAC, the whole affair seemed a bit like a love-in. While the questions seemed "softball," the party insisted they were not planted.
Michael Ignatieff held a roundtable discussion at Conestoga College in Waterloo. Introducing Ignatieff, candidate Andrew Telegdi remarked that lab coats for trainees are a better use of money than prison uniforms. Ignatieff then proceeded to listen to concerns from the table, whose participants included local educators and representatives from both the YMCA and YWCA.
Harper then had an event in Covehead, PEI, located in the riding of Liberal incumbent Wayne Easter. With protesters outside the building, he recited his same old, same old talking points. He also added a false point about how the Conservatives conceived of Confederation in Charlottetown. (Hint: It was a Conservative-Grit coalition and Charlottetown was only one of three conferences that ironed out the process.) After his recitation of his budget talking points and false statements about Ignatieff and his opposition partners, he closed with a plea for stability and security.
Elsewhere, Elizabeth May received a personal endorsement from Linda Keen, the former nuclear watchdog, in her fight against Gary Lunn – the man who had Keen fired when he was minister of natural resources.
The NDP has a new political ad featuring more creepy animation. This time it's on the issue of corporate tax cuts and uses the example of Electrolux leaving Canada for Tennessee. I’m not sure if being given cash incentives is a fair comparison to being given tax cuts.
Ottawa-Centre candidates Paul Dewar and Scott Bradley have each outlined their own public service plans to woo the civil servants in the riding.
And in other news: ironically, Christian groups are using the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage to uphold the ban on polygamy in Canada by citing the definition of marriage as a union between two persons to the exclusion of all others.