On the campaign trail today: Stephen Harper returns to Brampton (a seat he really wants to win) and then heads to Montreal; Michael Ignatieff makes an announcement in Vancouver before heading to Winnipeg; and Jack Layton makes an announcement of his own in Oshawa, then stops in Brampton before heading to a rally in Toronto.
While Jack Layton did a mid-afternoon photo op in a Kitchener sporting-goods store, Stephen Harper decided to take things up a notch. He posed with the girl who did the Lady Gaga video on YouTube: she sang “Born This Way," and he sang a terribly off-key rendition of “Imagine.” Because hey, the press lapped up his piano playing before, so why not try to milk that schtick one more time? If that wasn’t odious enough, she sang the anthem at his rally that followed (where he proceeded to go through his usual coalition rants and high-tax talking points). Seriously though, why is no one calling him out on using a 10-year-old, who can’t vote, to tacitly endorse his campaign? It’s actually creepy.
Oh, and should we send out a reminder of Harper's saying, “Meeting celebrities isn't my schtick. That was the schtick of the previous guy,” when he referred to Paul Martin meeting Bono? He’s been doing the celebrity thing a lot during the past year (hello, the Nickelback photo).
Meanwhile over in Vancouver, Michael Ignatieff gave his West Coast shout-out to the announcement of the Learning Passport. He then announced that they would restore the family-reunification immigration targets to 2006 levels, noting that “Conservatives laud family values but are terrible about family reunification.” He then held another rally in Vancouver, which drew a good-sized crowd.
The NDP have unveiled a new ad, supposedly with a huge media buy, about the state of healthcare.
Cheesy animation aside, I will give them props for not promoting any blatant misunderstandings of the way our democratic system works (like in the “choosing a leader” ad). And it does go directly after Harper, which fits into their theme of the New Democrats being able to unseat the Conservatives.
Harper insists the 1997 clip of him endorsing coalitions was talk of “uniting the right,” the exploration of which didn’t happen for another four years. Also, when he ran for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance, it was on an anti-merger platform. And so the revisionist history continues.Here is the Conservative spin and the Liberal counter-spin on the Learning Passport announcement. The NDP says something should be done about the cost of post-secondary education. Isn't that a provincial responsibility?
And it looks like Elizabeth May is going to be shut out of the leaders' debate; only Michael Ignatieff has said that he has no problem with her participation. Ignatieff also wants a one-on-one with Harper – which could make for some very good television.