OTTAWA — A look at key developments Wednesday on the federal campaign trail:
Stephen Harper is dismissing suggestions that he’s fear−mongering when he says the Liberals would cancel income−splitting for seniors and runs a series of ads in the ethnic media claiming Justin Trudeau will put brothels in neighbourhoods. Harper says the choice before Canadians is a “serious choice of two very different directions for the country.” Among the other issues Harper is pushing is that the Liberals would allow marijuana to be sold in corner stores; while that party has said it wants to legalize the drug, the specifics have not been determined.
Tom Mulcair took his campaign to a Nova Scotia riding which the NDP won in the last election and is fighting to hold this time around. The NDP leader was in Dartmouth−Cole Harbour, captured in 2011 by Robert Chisholm, a popular, former provincial NDP leader and labour organizer. Considered a rising star, Chisholm rode the Jack Layton tide four years ago, yet finds himself mostly swimming against the Trudeau surge this time against Liberal candidate Darren Fisher. The NDP likes to portray this election as a fight between them and the Conservatives, marginalizing the Liberals. But this riding upends that narrative and may well be the most cogent snapshot of the electoral battle New Democrats are facing.
Justin Trudeau, riding high on polls suggesting his party has the momentum heading into the final days of the campaign, is allowing himself to muse about a majority. After he said Wednesday he is asking Canadians for a majority government, one of his staffers pointed out that his main rivals have also asked for majority governments during the campaign. A party must capture at least 170 seats to hold a bare majority in the House of Commons, which will have 338 seats in the next Parliament. The Liberals held just 36 seats at dissolution.
The Liberals have come to the defence of their national campaign co−chair, who sent a detailed email Monday to people behind the Energy East pipeline with advice on how and when to lobby a new government. In the email, Dan Gagnier tells five people at TransCanada Corp., to target the right people in a new government as quickly as possible so they can help shape either Liberal or NDP decisions on a national energy strategy. A Liberal spokeswoman said Gagnier’s analysis, as outlined in the email, has “nothing to do with his volunteer role on the campaign,” nor does he advise Trudeau on energy issues.
The Canadian Press