There’s been an alleged outing on the campaign trail today: Françoise Boivin, a former Liberal MP who is running for the NDP in Gatineau. Anonymous Liberals have apparently told Le Devoir that Boivin did not leave the Liberals for ideological reasons, but rather because she hired her same-sex partner to work in her office; Boivin claimed she was just a roommate. Boivin now says she’s going to sue Le Devoir for the “smears.” (I’m going to look into this further.)
Jack Layton was on CTV’s Canada AM today; he took some questions from the audience and did the weather report. Later, he met with the media and spoke about jobs versus tax cuts in Welland (his upcoming stop) and the NDP being different from the Liberals because Ignatieff's party is “what’s wrong with Ottawa.” He also said that Boivin had been subjected to unwarranted personal attacks.
Michael Ignatieff was in Winnipeg, where he drew attention to the Freshwater strategy in his platform; it includes plans to prevent flooding, use the best of science for a long-term strategy, clean up Lake Winnipeg and deal with invasive species in the Great Lakes. He took questions on flood mitigation, especially in First Nations areas (it's a direct federal responsibility and needs consultation with communities); bulk water exports (Canadians say no, we say no, and there needs to be awareness of the water as human-rights issue at the UN); the polls saying that the Liberals are stagnant (have you seen the crowds I’m drawing?); the latest Bruce Carson revelations (it's a question of good judgment on the part of the prime minister, and it's a double standard); why the census is important (a government needs to base decisions on information instead of ideology); those harassing phone calls that are alleged to be from Liberal candidates (the candidate from St Boniface says it’s happening there); the Boivin issue (I always kept a good personal relationship with Ms Boivin, our candidate is strong, and I don’t want to make personal attacks); Conservatives not showing up for all-candidates' debates (it's basic to democratic politics – you show up, and he wishes that he could attend more in his riding but is busy doing the tour); and inflation (we propose practical things like home renovations to ease energy bills, help for costs of post-secondary education, homecare, etc).
Harper was in Thunder Bay, where he would invest $100 million to establish a Canada Brain Research Fund. The rest of the speech was simply rehashing his standard stump lines; he looked tired and off his game as he kept pausing, restarting and messing up his lines. The media then asked him about his quest for a majority (if they don't win a majority, the other parties will try to run the country); whether he’d continue to lead the party if he gets a minority (he’s not going to answer that); the rise of the NDP in Quebec being a good thing for him (it's not his role to analyze trends); and his failure to address healthcare wait times (it's a provincial issue that will be part of future negotiations, and this investment is about better healthcare).
As mentioned above, incumbent Liberals in certain contested ridings have found that their supporters are being subjected to harassment – late-night phone calls, supposedly from the Liberal campaigns, and Conservatives coming up to houses with Liberal lawn signs to tell them that voting for Ignatieff will mean turning power over to the Bloc. Basically attempts to suppress the vote, because Harper wins when you don’t vote.
Liberal Glen Pearson talks about encountering those techniques in his riding and his memorable exchange to counteract them at one door.
And a Liberal campaign volunteer in Brampton has been charged with stealing Conservative signs. The Liberal candidate, Andrew Kania, claims he was framed.