Day Nine kicked off early this morning; Harper had journalists trucked to a press conference at a karate centre in Kanata. He announced a $500 fitness tax credit for adults and the increase of the existing children's credit to $1,000 – but only when the budget is balanced. It was also noted that he started using the word “allies” as opposed to “coalition.”
At a Gatineau cabane à sucre, Jack Layton touted his local candidates. During his address, he gave the false impression that Canadians directly elect a prime minister as though we had an American presidential system.
The Liberals held a media lockup for their election platform before its public launch; about 250 people attended the launch, while some 9,300 participated online. Michael Ignatieff had five female candidates give introductory videos on each of the main platform planks before he took six questions: two were from the audience, two were submitted via Skype and two were received by email. It was stressed that Ignatieff had not seen the questions beforehand. (They were particularly friendly questions, almost on par with those from Layton's town hall in Sudbury on Friday.) Next, a number of "rapid-fire" questions came from people watching online. He answered more questions, this time from journalists, at a press conference that finished the launch.
The NDP put up Olivia Chow and Gatineau candidate Françoise Boivin to respond to the Liberal platform. (NDP operatives had previously given journalists departing the launch copies of a pamphlet entitled "The Red Book of Broken Promises," which detailed past Liberal platform failures.) Their message was that the Liberals couldn't be trusted to fulfill their promises. It was mentioned that Michael Ignatieff missed 70 percent of votes in 2010, including 72 percent of the confidence votes. Boivin stressed that as a Liberal, she knew there would be many fights to get these progressive programs out the door, but now as a New Democrat, she knows it’s all talk and no action.
From Toronto, Jim Flaherty gave his response, saying the Liberal plan amounted to $10 billion in uncosted spending and that it proposed "massive tax hikes.” He also claimed that under the 2008 coalition, Thomas Mulcair would have been finance minister (despite a signed agreement that finance would always be a Liberal portfolio) and that the government fell “on a procedural matter,” rather than a loss of confidence stemming from a finding of contempt. But hey, you know, details.
Elsewhere, Linda Diebel looks at Ignatieff’s Harvard legacy.
The Liberal candidate in Nepean-Carleton, who hopes to take down Pierre Poilievre, has had his signs defaced, many of them with spray-painted gun-sights.
From the Ottawa area, the Citizen offers a profile of Karen McCrimmon, the Liberal candidate running against Gordon O’Connor. Some of her accomplishments include being the first female air navigator in the Canadian Forces, as well as being the first woman to command an air squadron. And yes, it seems she has some informed opinions on why the F-35 purchase process needs work.