At a town hall in Welland, Ontario, Jack Layton opened by praising local incumbent Malcolm Allen and the work he did to get the billion dollars in EI spending and a motion on takeovers. Layton then decried companies that took tax cuts and shipped jobs out of Canada; he blamed Harper for plant shutdowns, saying, “Harper says he has a job creation strategy – you just have to go to the US to find them.” He turned his guns on Ignatieff for the usual reasons – apparent flip-flops on tax cuts, voting for the HST and the disingenuous 30 percent “attendance record.” (I will say once again that voting and attendance are not the same thing.) After touting the job creation promises from his own platform, Layton took questions from the floor. He was asked about more jobs for young people (we propose tax cuts for small companies that are most likely to hire younger people); money for seniors to live in their homes (we want to ensure there’s enough money for seniors to live in dignity); war resisters (we support them, the government doesn’t); and… that’s when the CPAC feed cut out.
Afterward, Layton took questions from the media on whether there may be a message that electing Conservative MPs will mean fewer business closures (the Conservatives don’t have a policy of standing up for jobs here); whether he’s on the defensive in Ontario (this is a region where tens of thousands of jobs have been lost); his fight against tax cuts and the continued loss of jobs (our policy would have tax policies on jobs created instead); his emphasis on small business and what he was proposing to do for big factories (our tax credit for job creation); previous experience with such credits and jobs leaving after the credits expired (they're designed to kick-start growth); the long-form census (it should be brought back); Ontario feeling ignored by the NDP's courting of BC and Quebec (we’ve been here a fair bit); vote-mob videos (I watch them on my iPad, and I think they’re great); and Harper in Quebec (Quebeckers don’t share his values, but they share ours).
Layton then went to work at a Tim Hortons drive-through.
Michael Ignatieff sat down with Peter Mansbridge for a live one-on-one. He was asked about the ads that say Harper wants “absolute power” (you can’t trust him with democracy); why he hasn’t attacked back at Harper; his Rise Up! speech (I'm trying to connect the dots to demonstrate the pattern); his bar of success (I’m here to become prime minister – I won’t elaborate further); the issue of coalitions (in 2008, I came to the conclusion they are against the national interest); his saying that Harper would have to “try” to gain confidence (that’s the way the system works); whether he would try to form a government should he not win a majority (we'll cross that bridge when we get there); Layton's statement that there’s a similarity in their platforms, the difference is leadership, and the Liberals can’t be trusted (the NDP numbers don’t add up, our commitment to equality of opportunity is unique); and what the past five years have taught him about politics (it's been a humbling experience and has taught me a new way of communicating with people). He said he still has 13 days to connect with Canadians, and they’re listening to what he has to say.
Elsewhere, Elections Canada is now investigating those harassing phone calls made to Liberal supporters. The Conservatives deny involvement.
And the CBC’s Reality Check team gives a failing grade to the NDP’s tough-on-crime policy of creating new offences for things like carjacking and home invasion. Those already exist under different names, and creating new offences would have no tangible effect.
Still to come tonight – Ignatieff is holding a rally in Brampton and Harper is in Val d’Or (which I don’t expect will be aired).