At a rural hardware co-op in Compton, Quebec, Michael Ignatieff talked about how he doesn’t want "a Canada with two speeds, rural and urban"; his party’s national food policy; and Liberal consultations with agricultural associations. Afterward, he was asked about his respect for Gilles Duceppe (he doesn’t believe in the politics of friend and foe, but vows to fight the separatists); the comments of a Liberal candidate about First Nations (he’s called for an investigation and will take action later today); whether he would be heading to Alberta and Saskatchewan (he will be heading there); whether his platform was indeed “light” on cities and infrastructure (he pointed to their commitment on affordable housing and regional rapid transit and said the P3 corporation, which the Conservatives put in, hasn’t been effective in getting money out the door, so they’ll use the money more wisely); the long-gun registry (he made a dig at Layton while noting they have proposed changes to make it easier for people in rural areas); why there’s no Quebec-specific slogans (it’s the same slogan as in the rest of Canada, apparently); how the number of rural doctors will be increased as it's under provincial jurisdiction (he’ll be working with the provinces on the issue); the comments made by Conservative candidate Chris Alexander on poverty in Canada (that’s now a matter between Alexander and his electorate); the disconnect between Mark Holland’s assertion that they wouldn’t change existing criminal laws with their commitment not to build more prisons (there will be changes, but they need to get into government to see the data that’s been withheld); and border crossings (closure doesn’t make sense).
Meanwhile in Markham, Stephen Harper made an announcement about foreign credentials recognition and then segued into an attack on Ignatieff’s apparent support for funding NHL arenas (which wasn’t what he said, but hey – details). He got back on point by announcing a loan program for recent immigrants to get the needed training to get their credentials recognized. Afterward, he was asked about the ejections from Conservative rallies (hey, I have thousands of people coming to these things – don’t blame me); Bill Elliott being the one who cleared Bruce Carson (PCO dealt with it, don’t look at me); his comfort with Chinese ownership of resources (based on commercial criteria); The Globe and Mail story on corporations hoarding cash after they get tax cuts (yay lower taxes!); and the details on the loan program he had just announced (wait for my budget to pass). He finished with a softball question from Sun Media on his human smuggling bill (boo backdoor immigration!).
(Incidentally, here is a rebuttal about The Globe and Mail story on corporate taxes.)
Jack Layton did have an announcement in Vancouver, but there’s been a delay in the CPAC feed, so I’ll do a post on that once it goes up.
Elsewhere, the Liberals have put out an ad that purports to depict Stephen Harper’s Facebook creeping and ends with the tagline of “Ditch Harper.”
There’s really not a lot to analyze in this one, other than to say they really did a quick turnaround and are trying to use humour to mobilize their vote without resorting to base character assassination.
Corrections expert Justin Piché has some questions for both the Liberals and the Conservatives on the inconsistencies in their justice policies.
And Antonia Zerbisias lists the women’s groups that have had their funding cut by the Conservatives.