At a rally in Saint John, New Brunswick, Jack Layton still read off his teleprompter as he talked about the momentum of his campaign. He spoke about cuts to the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency and the lack of good jobs in the region. He then turned his guns on Ignatieff, calling him part of the problem as he gave the same misleading attendance talking point. (Seriously – there is a difference between attendance and voting on private member's business.) He moved on to his small business platform plans and said that voters have a choice. When he took questions from the media, he was asked about the vote-splitting that could give the Conservatives a majority (we’re giving Canadians a choice); his cap-and-trade backtracking (we're convinced it could be implemented in a timely way with political will and a fiscally responsible approach); whether he is a bigger target now (people want change); what he would be willing to cut first if he couldn't get the cap-and-trade system in (we’ll calibrate appropriately); how he could get the revenue levels he claims from cap-and-trade (Mulroney got a sulphur exchange in place quickly for acid rain); and the Point Lepreau nuclear reactor (it's Harper’s fault as it’s a Crown corporation, we’ll put more money into clean and green tech instead of nuclear reactors).
In Thunder Bay, Michael Ignatieff was in the same hospital that Harper visited last week; he spoke about Telehealth and how May 2 is about choosing a government, not an opposition party. After highlighting his platform promises, he pointed out that Layton signed his platform and immediately had to backtrack on some of his promises, and how the Liberal team had experience. He took media questions about the issue of drinking water on First Nations reserves (we need to meet and get a costed solution immediately); his new attack ad in a “positive campaign” (I don’t feel squeezed, we’re a centre party, the NDP killed Martin’s childcare system, and their signed platform is science fiction); whether he supported Insite and its expansion (I support it, it’s about science, medicine and harm reduction, and I would like to see it expanded); the economies of Northern Ontario (they need a strong federal partner, and we have a costed commitment to broadband access); polls (60 percent of Canadians want Harper gone, and we’re the government that can replace them); FedNor (it needs a stand-alone capacity, and the Conservatives have bled it and cut it); committing funds to a cyclotron (we would keep the existing commitment, and we wouldn't let the same isotope crisis happen under our watch); Layton’s backtracking (Jack signed his platform, but now says whoops, and ours has serious adult politics that came out of a year-and-a-half of consultation).
Harper was before a crowd in Sault Ste Marie, where he read off his teleprompter yet again. He apparently got the name of the location and the biographical details of his local candidate wrong, and then outlined his priority list – which is now four items, not five. Interesting to see the big human-smuggling issue drop off the radar. When taking questions, he was asked about getting back to work after the election (they didn’t want to help focus on the economy and were more concerned with motions and procedures about whether or not we wave documents – because that’s just trivial, don’t you know); whether he would need to work with other leaders (of course, but we need a majority); the Senate (we want to reform it without reopening the constitution – which is impossible given his proposals, by the way); upcoming Supreme Court appointments (it will be the same consultation process as it is now), foreign ownership in the telecom industry (no final decisions have been made); Senate reform if he receives a majority (we're looking at changes for elections and term limits, but have to get the process started – never mind that they’re unconstitutional); why he wouldn't go on Tout Le Monde En Parle (I won’t talk about individual interviews), helping steel business and other Northern Ontario industries (we have budget measures, and will keep taxes low).
Gilles Duceppe, now playing on the defensive in Quebec, brought out Jacques Parizeau to help bolster his faltering campaign.
Here’s a CBC Reality Check on polling data.
One of Liberal Joe Volpe’s campaign workers was caught replacing Green fliers in mailboxes and has been dismissed from the campaign, not that it’s enough for some.
As mentioned above, the Liberals have released a new attack ad, saying that Harper and Layton two sides of the same coin. It’s light and cartoonish, and uses a light background with a female narrator as opposed to the black, sinister background with the ominous male narrator of the Conservative attack ads.
The NDP have also released an HST-themed radio ad in BC, which continues their contradictory view that BC should keep their HST compensation money if they vote in a referendum to scrap it (never mind that other provinces would love billions in free “compensation”).