Key developments on the campaign trail Sunday

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pulled the wrapping Monday off his full election platform, which is aimed straight at the pocketbooks of middle-class voters.


The leaders’ closing statements provided an inkling of where their strategies lie.

Why is Prime Minister Stephen Harper looking so good-natured despite the relatively strong showing of his political opponents?

He went on to say that an NDP government would rip up any agreement that doesn’t protect the fundamental pillars of supply management – a regime of production controls and import tariffs that protects Canadian dairy farmers and which a few have suggested could be on the table at the trade talks taking place in Atlanta.

“I want to reassure the Canadians who depend on it for their livelihood that we have reached an agreement that will clearly benefit our auto industry here at home”.

The partnership would create thousands of new jobs in Canada and provide access to a market of nearly 800 million new customers in the Asia-Pacific region, he added. The province has been unfriendly territory to the Conservatives in recent years.

“I think we got a tremendous deal here that achieves virtually all of our objectives in every sector”, he said during a news conference in Ottawa.

“It is a system we can and should be proud of”.

The conservative campaigns are stressing that they will ban face-covering religious attire at citizenship ceremonies.

Meanwhile, NDP leader Tom Mulcair turned in a competent performance but one that didn’t differ greatly from any he delivered in the previous four debates, which is to say a performance that was far from anything that would have jarred supporters thinking about jumping off the Orange bandwagon into changing their minds about doing so. Trudeau will be fighting to take back seats lost to the NDP in ridings with large number of anglophones and Quebecers from minority groups.

That is reflective of a profound contempt for Canadian values … you are targeting a community to play politics.

With Liberal grandees such as former prime minister Paul Martin in attendance, Trudeau said it was time to end the Conservative government’s practice of pitting Canadians against each other. Specifically, he seized on comments by Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna, who on Saturday said her party was not willing to echo the NDP’s position that they wouldn’t feel tied to an agreement.

The other aspect here is whether the Conservative government had the authority to even negotiate the TPP, given that an election was called and governments are supposed to act only in “caretaker” mode at that point.

Not everyone is enamoured of the deal: held up by Harper as a model for future 21st-century trade agreements, Mulcair is committed to tearing it to pieces.

The NDP appears to be losing steam, the Liberals are holding steady, and support for the Conservatives is on the rise. More of the same. About 4,000 of you participated as we asked who won the debate, whether Mulcair’s performance was enough to reverse his party’s flagging fortunes and whether you had made up your mind as to how to cast your ballot.

Both parties, in fact, had voted in favour of a deal the Harper government struck with South Korea a year ago.


Nearly 1,000 people attended the rally at the Dante Club as part of Mulcair’s six city Southwestern Ontario Whistle-Stop Harper tour.

TPP trade talks prominent issue on campaign trail this weekend