It’s been a very busy Sunday on the trail, so let’s get back to it.
Thanks to a late replay, we were able to see what happened at the Liberals’ morning press event. Ignatieff spoke about the need for better investment in the North on people rather than simply spending money on militarizing it; he said that he was unable to answer questions on the engineless F-35 fighter jets because there is no information available; Paul Martin explained that he named Ujjal Dosanjh as the health minister by saying, as a former provincial premier, Dosanjh understood the jurisdictional issues; Ignatieff remarked that bringing Martin aboard doesn’t really change the message as his Family Pack has a core economic message; Martin reiterated that he’s looked at the Conservative numbers and he doesn’t know where the $11 billion in cuts will come from; Ignatieff said he wasn’t going to prejudge the BC HST referendum and will not yet take sides on BC's seeking compensation, and then made points about the Conservatives cutting family reunification; Dosanjh and Martin reminisced about fixing immigration backlogs until the Conservatives broke them; and they both spoke about how Harper didn’t follow up on the 2004 healthcare accords by continuing the process around pharmacare and reforming the system, instead settling on following only the six-percent escalator.
Ignatieff later held a town hall in North Vancouver, which was so packed that they were crowding in from outside; apparently, there wasn't even room for the media. When the crowd of more than 700 people was asked if they had voted something other than Liberal in the past, half of them raised their hands. Ignatieff started off by pointing out that the word "liberal" is associated with the word “liberty” and therefore freedom and democracy. He did a bit of a theoretical exercise – you might have voted Conservative for fiscal responsibility, but you got the biggest-spending government in history. This went on to issues like government waste, income trusts, and how Harper couldn’t even keep promises to his own supporters. He said that Harper's taking credit for the state of the economy was like Yoko Ono taking credit for the Beatles and that Harper was surfing on Paul Martin’s credentials. He moved to touting his platform and Canada's place in the world, and then took questions from the room. He was asked about working with other parties (says he works well with others – just like it said on his grade-school report card); floor-crossers like David Emerson (he wants people elected as Liberals to serve as Liberals and so on); airport security with uniformed officers being pulled out (talking points on jails versus education, which didn’t really answer the question); scientific research programs being cancelled; and the separation of church and state (he believes passionately in science, evidence and facts, and sees this issue with the census. We need to restore long-term funding for science and evidence, and on abortion, declares himself pro-choice but will allow his MPs to vote their conscience); a Canadian imprisoned in Mexico (he has had his consular affairs critic on this and will call President Calderone if elected PM); corporate tax rates (look at how our platform is costed compared to the Conservative platform); support for CAMR and the return of Bill C-393 (he supports it as well as more support for health delivery in the developing world); the need for copyright reform (as a writer for 18 years, he knows about the need for writers to get paid, the need for compensation for the “digital hemorrhage” and the need for new stable funding for the CBC and the Canada Council); child poverty (this is a multiparty issue, we need to work with provinces on income support and childcare is part of the equation); farmed salmon on contained land rather than in the ocean (this is a good example of why science is important); and Middle East foreign policy (he has plenty of experience on both sides of the conflict, the only possible solution is two states and we need to stand against extremists on both sides). He also played the hip-flip game with Nardwuar the Human Serviette. Ignatieff then closed off with his Rise Up! appeal.
There was also a late replay of the NDP event in Bridgewater, where Layton gave his “Ottawa is Broken” speech. He said Harper turned his back on Nova Scotia with the Atlantic Accord and that the Senate is evil incarnate. (Well, maybe not in so many words.) Layton went after Ignatieff by saying that he's part of the problem “when he was at work” and gave a lengthy condemnation of his record. After some shout-outs to his platform, he moved on to the aforementioned commitment on elder abuse.
There will be another Liberal event in Victoria later tonight and a Conservative event in Yellowknife.
Elsewhere, Harper says that only a majority Conservative government can stand up to any renewed sovereignty movement in Quebec.