Welcome to Day Four of the campaign. In Oakville, the Liberals will be making a major announcement on education before they head out to Vancouver. Harper is in Regina and Winnipeg; Layton is in Brantford and Kitchener (also promising policy).
While Layton had another rally in Moosejaw (which didn’t seem to be available in the media), Michael Ignatieff held a large rally in Mississauga. After Ignatieff introduced his team as “the next government of Canada” (again taking the focus off himself), he took issue with the part of Harper’s Brampton address that referred to the attendees as “you people” born outside of Canada. Ignatieff said the last time he'd heard someone talk about an ethnic vote was in 1995 when Jacques Parizeau was talking about the defeat of the referendum. He went on to say that he wants to put an end to the language of division and fear, and that he believes the Canadian vision is “equal in rights, equal in responsibility and equal in hope.”
Meanwhile, Harper held another talk-show-style rally in the Edmonton francophone suburb of Beaumont. Most of it was a complete rehash of last night’s speech in Brampton, with the exception of local identifiers being replaced on his teleprompter. Oh, and he repeated his false story of how Laurier never could have imagined that Canada would win so many medals at the winter Olympics. Perhaps because Laurier died before the modern Olympics began? But hey, details, right? Also, giving a shout-out to the “Quebec Nation” while in Alberta? Speaking as a former Albertan, that really doesn’t sound like the smartest move to make there, given that a huge chunk of western voters resents pandering to Quebec. Just saying.
Elsewhere, here’s another piece on how income splitting won’t help families in need. The policy was never intended to do that; it was just a sop to the religious right and social conservatives.
Here’s another look at Stephen Harper's revisionist musing on 2004 and how it is an “odd (!) understanding” of how Parliament works. But hey, when has actually understanding parliamentary democracy been a consideration for anyone currently vying for public office?
John Geddes reflects on the Liberals’ derision of the term “ethnic voters” – as they roll out ads aimed at “multicultural” audiences.
In other news, the government is quietly proposing a regulatory change to rules regarding people from abroad who marry Canadians. The revision would require an immigrant to stay in the relationship for two years before becoming eligible for permanent resident status. Though this is supposedly a bid to crack down on fraudulent marriages, it will affect people in legitimate cross-border relationships (like my friend and her Brazilian bride).
As the polygamy trial in BC nears its end, a provincial attorney has made the case against polygamy, both in theory and practice, saying that it “consumes” the young of its communities. While not yet online, there is a terrifying interview in this week’s Maclean’s with a woman who escaped an abusive polygamous sect. The stories she tells are definitely worth reading.