At a farmers' market in Guelph, Michael Ignatieff touted his local candidate (while Conservatives tried to crash the event). He took questions about the Sun story on Layton and the Toronto Star's endorsement of the NDP (no comment on either – running a positive campaign); about the Liberals getting squeezed (we have a proud and large base to get the vote out); his visiting nine out of 13 unheld ridings in the past two days (getting the vote out); the Toronto Star's endorsement of the NDP in Liberal Toronto (people make up their own minds, not the papers or the pollsters); whether he missed the opportunity after the debate (waiting until May 2); so little discussion about green issues (had a targeted platform on the middle-class family); the TSX merger (need to keep intellectual capital in Canada); Conservative crashers at his event (I shook their hands, respect their opinions); the Toronto-area Conservative candidate with closer ties to the Tamil Tigers than initially believed (unacceptable); the NDP surge as crisis of confidence in the electorate (has tried to do politics differently with open meetings, social media, re-engaged the party’s base); and whether the polls affect his ground game (convinced they’ll get the vote out).
At an autobody shop in Richmond Hill, Stephen Harper delivered the message that Conservatives need to keep fighting hard and that Canada can’t go to another minority since it would mean another election (really? So would a majority, unless he plans to suspend democracy if he gets one). He spoke about their low-tax plan and warned against an NDP-led government. He said that being prime minister means making tough choices, and he can’t promise billions in new spending because it would mean raising taxes and hurting the economy (as opposed to ramping up spending and cutting taxes like he’s done to date). After an interruption for the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to him (which ended up being the most unscripted moment of his campaign, although he totally fished for it), he moved on to reminding the crowd of the Bob Rae NDP government in Ontario and asked them to get Liberals to vote for them to block the NDP (describing the Conservatives as “moderate” in the process). He then took questions from the media: Terry Milewski asked him about a post-election scenario of a loss of confidence (which he dodged, and the crowd started to boo Milewski and shout, “Shut down the CBC” when he pressed); was his plea for Liberal voters a sign of desperation (nobody wants a high-tax NDP government); if the NDP is so bad, why appoint Gary Doer as UN ambassador (talking about the current federal NDP and the Rae government in Ontario); when do you plan to table the budget, and would you compromise on it (have been flexible and listened to opposition, choice of a Conservative majority or a high-tax NDP government); and how do you promote youth becoming engaged (get involved in the party of their choice).
Meanwhile, the media has already begun to analyze the demise of the Liberals in this campaign (Halifax Chronicle-Herald, PostMedia, Margaret Wente and Jeffrey Simpson in The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Sun, which seems to have missed that Ignatieff has actually reunited his party).
Susan Delacourt (in an unfortunately titled “What went wrong for the Liberals”) examines how the Liberals got back the ground war only to lose the air war, which is the reversal of the past few elections. She also muses about what will happen if the NDP does end up forming the official opposition.
Despite its aforementioned endorsement of the NDP, the Toronto Star is still endorsing the return of several Liberals, including gay MP Rob Oliphant.
Hey, there’s another gay Liberal on the roster – Darren Hill, running in Saskatoon-Humboldt against pro-lifer (and homophobe) Brad Trost.
The Conservative candidate in Churchill, Manitoba, has attacked the NDP candidate there for supporting Bill C-389 on trans rights.
And here is a lengthy condemnation of the Conservative non-evidence-based tough-on-crime agenda.