At a business in Conception Bay, Michael Ignatieff was out first this morning calling for the prime minister to release the auditor general’s report on the G8/G20 spending. He also touched on the way Harper ejected students from rallies in London and Guelph, noting that Harper does background checks on his audience but not his former deputy chief of staff (aka Bruce Carson). He took questions on Muskrat Falls (aka Lower Churchill) and spoke of needing “the numbers to add up,” Harper's casting of his narrow glance to minority governments, his conversation with a young Afghanistan veteran that morning (he repeated his veterans pledge), whether he’d support a public inquiry into police action at the G8/G20 (he doesn’t want to interfere with ongoing inquiries), how his message is connecting (it’s about the message, not the messenger), how the environment is becoming an issue, his Quebec campaign (underscoring the two choices for prime minister) and the trust issue with Harper, which included the recent revelations of the attempt by the government to muzzle the Military Police Complaints Commission on Afghan detainees.
(On the auditor general’s report – as she reports to Parliament, there seems little reason for her to release it during an election, when there is no Parliament to report it to. That’s a rhetorical failure.)
In Victoriaville, Quebec, Stephen Harper’s photo-op was to show up in a fire truck. He again announced the volunteer-fire-fighter tax credit from the budget. (Note: the Conservative credit is non-refundable; the one in the Liberal platform is refundable). He gave a shout-out to the local asbestos industry (no, seriously), and to ensuring more essential services in rural areas (like every other party). During questions, he was asked about his campaign bubble after the student ejections (staff deals with operations, not me), Lower Churchill (yay green energy!), Bruce Carson (we only knew about the problems in the distant past, not recent ones – really!) and tax harmonization (not in the budget because it wasn’t agreed on at the time).
Jack Layton was at a childcare centre in Winnipeg, where he began by talking about Bruce Carson and other “Liberal-style scandals,” before moving on to his announcement about the “sandwich generation.” He introduced home retrofits of secondary residences for senior family members, a flexible EI program for home caregivers, a caregiver benefit for low and middle-income earners, and closing a loophole in EI regulations so those who have taken parental or caregiver leave aren’t excluded from regular EI if they lose their jobs in the meantime. His pitch – I’m the only one you can trust to get things done for families. For questions, Layton was asked about how open his events were to the public (completely, then he made another Carson dig), the local campaign (our candidate isn’t pro-life like the Liberal), the originality of his ideas (we have lots of new ideas along with great old ones), the auditor general’s report (if Harper’s sitting on it, that’s unacceptable) and more questions about the freshness of his promises.
Here’s a little more about the government’s attempt to keep the Military Police Complaints Commission report on Afghan detainees quiet.
And here’s yet another defence expert who says the F-35 fighter jets are going to cost way more than the Conservatives say they will.