From the garage of a family home in Ottawa, Michael Ignatieff talked briefly about his homecare plan and then took questions from reporters. He was asked about the Guelph vote incident (this is part of a pattern, this is a prime minister who doesn’t respect the democratic system); what a socially conservative PM will do in a majority (he'll be into big spending while attacking rights and healthcare); the allegations against Helena Guergis (the issues were the lobbying by her husband and the prime minister’s judgment); the Afghan detainee document issue (I believe the justices actually put it on the government to change the memorandum of understanding); whether all of these Conservative issues are catching on (I think the drip, drip, drip of scandals are starting to connect); how he connects with people (the core of our appeal is hope); that Conservative candidate with alleged Tamil Tiger connections (parties must ensure candidates don’t have ties with extremism abroad – although Ignatieff should probably be careful around questions of party vetting); immigration and keeping the ministries of immigration and multiculturalism separate (we want to ensure family class stays important and ministries should be separate to avoid politicizing multiculturalism); and the difference between the Liberals and other parties on healthcare (their numbers don’t add up, ours do).
In Thornhill, Ontario, Stephen Harper was nearly an hour late to begin speaking at a seniors' residence. He rattled off his talking points before speaking about elder abuse and his plans to make it a special aggravating factor in the Criminal Code. (Funny how they’re all for proposing specific offences for elder abuse, treating it just like auto theft, but adding gender identity and gender expression to hate provisions is too “problematic” because making things too specific isn’t helpful, apparently.) He was asked about the revelations around the Helena Guergis allegations (there were a range of problems around “this individual,” and I have no desire to see a return of “this individual” to caucus – he couldn’t even say her name!); the Guelph incident (we want youth to vote, but we also want Elections Canada rules to be followed); Libya (we want to see Gaddafi gone and are discussing it with allies); and G20 compensation (the G20 saved the global economy).
In Montreal, Layton had a press conference where he took questions on the Guelph incident (the Liberals did it in 2006 as well – err, except that was a case of cancelling an advanced special ballot instead of tearing up votes already cast, which is different); Helena Guergis (it's a double standard – Harper has senators up on charges and had a convicted fraudster in his office); the NDP candidate who's currently on vacation (he’s a family guy who made plans beforehand, and if we had fixed election dates, it wouldn’t be an issue – err, except fixed election dates are antithetical to the principle that a government must command the confidence of the House); and his Quebec team (look how great they are).
Helena Guergis held her own press conference on the allegations. She talked about how the past year has been a nightmare; how none of the allegations are true; the absence of evidence to substantiate them; and the prime minister’s office running a smear campaign against her. She insists that she’s still a Conservative and hopes to return to the fold once there’s new leadership in the party.