As Day Three begins, we see Stephen Harper still in Vancouver, Michael Ignatieff in the GTA and Jack Layton in Regina. Word has it Harper will unveil a policy on family income-splitting – a major sop to the socially conservative family-values crowd.
At his big Montreal rally last night, Ignatieff brought up some Quebec-tailored talking points: the issue of gun control and what it said to the victims of the Polytechnique massacre; Harper’s attacks on women’s rights; and crime prevention versus throwing teenagers in prison – during the last election, Harper’s law-and-order plans became a sticking point in Quebec, which has a successful youth-criminal-justice system. Ignatieff also added the term “internationally minded” to his list of why the Liberals are the better alternative to the Harper government. Over the Twitter machine, one particular pundit noted that Ignatieff is bringing back big revival-style rallies when most leaders have virtually abandoned them.
In contrast to Ignatieff’s high-energy rally, Harper's Burnaby, BC, gathering was subdued. He lamented that this is an election he is reluctant to be in: MPs should be in Ottawa working on the economy. (He didn't say what they would be doing, but one imagines them passing his bills, no matter how unrelated, and thinking good thoughts.) He then walked in talk-show style through a carefully screened crowd with a wireless microphone (and teleprompters off to the sides); he gave a speech that repeated every talking point of dubious veracity in the book as he touched on coalition bogeymen, carbon taxes and EI premium hikes (which he is actually implementing). After each budget point he outlined, he’d prompt the audience with "Conservatives say…," to which “Yes” was answered. Harper followed each with “the coalition says no.”
John Geddes takes a look at the ethnic considerations of Harper’s first campaign stop in Brampton.
And the Toronto Star is breaking a story about a Conservative candidate who was lobbying for the firm selling those pesky F-35 fighter jets. Perhaps this will make some additional hay on the trail today.