TORONTO — Stephen Harper is continuing to pick apart the Liberals’ platform in a bid to convince Canadians of a tangible effect on their lives should Justin Trudeau become prime minister.
Harper’s focus Tuesday morning is what he says are Liberal plans to raise taxes for small businesses in the form of an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan and increases to employment insurance premiums.
Harper says small businesses are the beating heart of Canada’s economy and the Liberal plan will cost jobs.
Harper is in the highly-symbolic Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, where former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff infamously lost his seat in the 2011 campaign to Conservative Bernard Trottier.
That campaign saw the Liberals reduced to third-party status, an ideological victory for the Conservatives who have long said that quashing the notion of Liberals as the natural governing party of Canada is one of their main ideological goals.
But with the Liberals reinvigorated under Justin Trudeau, Harper finds himself on the defensive in the riding and throughout Ontario, where he is spending the early part of the final week of the campaign.
So he’s shifting his focus not on selling his party’s policy but trying to hammer home the message of what a Liberal government will actually mean for Canadians.
One candidate alongside the prime minister Tuesday was Ted Opitz, who won the riding of Etobicoke Centre in 2011 by only a handful of votes, triggering a judicial review that ended up in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, which ultimately upheld Opitz’s victory.
Also in attendance at Harper’s event were Coun. Rob Ford and his brother Doug. Doug Ford said he believes Harper’s campaign is running well and that it’s his message — and not the size of rallies — that matters.
The Canadian Press