OTTAWA — A look at some of the key developments in the federal election campaign on Sunday:
Stephen Harper promised that a re-elected Conservative government would make it a crime for Canadians to travel to regions of the world controlled by terrorist groups. The proposal is based on a law already in place in Australia, which has designated parts of Iraq and Syria as no-travel zones and sets a jail term of 10 years for anyone caught violating the law that was enacted last year. Harper said there would be exceptions for those who could prove they were in the "declared areas" for humanitarian reasons, diplomatic purposes or as a journalist covering a conflict.
With Harper's former chief of Staff Nigel Wright scheduled to testify this week at the trial of disgraced former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, Harper maintained he knew nothing about Wright using Conservative party funds to cover Duffy's questionable housing claims. When asked Sunday about the trial Harper said yet again that Wright acted without his knowledge when he gave Duffy a $90,000 cheque to repay his disallowed housing and travel expenses. Harper said the famous words in a Wright e-mail -- "We are good to go from the PM" -- were not his words and that he went public as soon as he learned about the payment.
Speaking at a campaign event in the Ottawa area, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Wright's appearance at the Duffy trial was a sign of Harper's "lack of respect for democracy and of his extremely poor judgment." He took aim at Harper's economic policies Sunday as he had all week, accusing the Conservatives of failing with their plan to create jobs and a better life for middle income earners. He attempted to position himself as a centrist on oilsands development, claiming he was the best candidate to strike a balance between resource development and environmental protection.
Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair continued to exchange barbs over natural resource development. Harper accused the NDP of having a not-so-hidden anti-development agenda over comments by Toronto NDP candidate Linda McQuaig. She told a CBC panel discussion that for Canada may have to leave a lot of the oilsands in the ground in order to meet its climate change targets. Mulcair retorted by accusing Harper of gutting environmental law, and promised that an NDP government would bring back a "credible" environmental assessment process that would allow development to be done sustainably. Trudeau tried to position himself as a centrist who could grow the economy while caring for the environment, and accused both his rivals of being extremists on the issue: Harper of favoring developement at any cost, and Mulcair of willingness to hamper industrial production with red tape.
Campaigning in Vancouver, Mulcair accused the Harper government of having gutted environmental law and ignored the problem of climate change. He maintained that the NDP was in favour of resource development as long as it was done sustainably, following a "credible" environmental assessment process that would include an analysis of whether each project allowed the country to meet international greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The Canadian Press