3 min

Day 13 so far: tax-free savings and gangs

At a family home in Vaughan, Stephen Harper unveiled his plans to double the contribution limit for the tax-free savings accounts – once the budget is balanced. He took questions on the RCMP's exceeding limits by removing people from rallies (the campaign apologized and we want people to hear our message); how that controlling nature reminds people of the contempt ruling (focus on the economy!); renegotiating the healthcare accords in 2014 (the system is not without its problems, we have to make it work better, but we’re not about to throw the baby out with the bath water); the Quebec National Assembly's condemning the support for Lower Churchill (fighting climate change); funding the Champlain Bridge (infrastructure money in the budget); and whether Fantino would be running another peek-a-boo campaign (he got elected, go us!).

In Laval, Michael Ignatieff held a town hall in a seniors' home, taking questions from its residents. (This wasn’t aired, so I can’t offer much of a recap, unfortunately.) Afterward, he answered questions from the media on the Champlain Bridge (had meetings, money is in the budget now to start environmental assessments, we can get the process rolling); the remarks made by the Alberta candidate John Reilly – a former judge – about different kinds of sexual assaults (the comments were “disgraceful,” but he made an unreserved apology and has a long record of public service); those crime bills (needs more information on the costs to reprioritize investment); whether he considers the NDP an opponent in Quebec (only we can form government, so they can vote for us or more years of Harper); responding to Obama’s worries about the tar sands (it’s not a communications program, we’re proposing stronger regulation and investment in reducing CO2); what’s gone wrong with the GTA in the past few elections that has caused the Liberals to lose seats (we can’t take them for granted and we support the necessary settlement services that turn strangers into citizens); and whether there should be a broader investigation into the RCMP ejections (Harper has to take responsibility).

And in Surrey, Jack Layton held a roundtable about his plans to combat gangs, using a “prevention and prosecution” approach. He promised to boost funding for the National Crime Prevention Centre, double funds for the youth anti-gang strategy, hire 2,500 new police officers, make recruiting gang members a crime and make both home invasion and carjacking separate offences. The roundtable portion of the event was mostly a collection of platitudes, though one participant wanted to stress that prevention programs need to encourage people to participate in them rather than being stand-alone. Afterward, he took media questions on the Reilly comments (think about the victims, Ignatieff has to take responsibility); the need for a probe into RCMP actions at Conservative rallies (parties shouldn’t put RCMP in the position of doing political work); how to reconcile his vision of crime prevention with Harper’s (need more prevention); whether he would revisit any crime bills (we’ve supported about half and amended some, so it's case by case); Conservatives not turning up for all-candidates' debates (that’s terribly undemocratic); the legalization of marijuana (it’s a debate we need to have, but “I’m told” marijuana is different now from what it was in my youth); how he reconciles abolishing the HST in BC but not Nova Scotia (the premier promised not to bring it in here); the NDP moving up in Quebec polls (they respond to me because I’m a leader from Quebec); and the latest revelation that Carson had a job interview with Harper personally while the Conservatives were in opposition (Harper has further explaining to do).

You know that woman bulldozer driver that Ignatieff keeps bringing up in his speeches? She’s actually a crane operator. But otherwise she’s happy about the childcare announcements and plans to vote Liberal.

Today’s Bruce Carson revelation is that he was the guy in charge of the Afghan file, with a security clearance he probably shouldn't have received (if Harper’s recanting is true).

And Liberal Glen Pearson laments the effect that attack ads are having on the youth of this country after seeing a Grade 5 class he visited recite them from memory.
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