NEWS
08/11/2015 19:04 EDT | Updated 08/11/2016 01:12 EDT

An at-a-glance look at key developments Tuesday in the federal election campaign

OTTAWA — An at-a-glance look at developments Tuesday in the federal election campaign:

With his wife by his side, former Liberal MP Scott Andrews announced he'll run as an Independent in the federal election as he brushed off lingering questions about sexual harassment claims against him. "I'm moving forward and I'm putting that in the past," Andrews said in Paradise, N.L., outside St. John's. Andrews left the Liberal caucus in March after leader Justin Trudeau suspended him for alleged misconduct involving a female MP. His wife, Susan Mosher, will act as official agent in the campaign, as she has since 2008. "I am 100 per cent supportive of this man," Mosher said.

---

The persistently murky — and decidedly meta — debate-about-the-debates got a little clearer Tuesday as Tom Mulcair agreed to take part in a bilingual election debate sponsored by the Munk Debates in Toronto. The Liberals confirmed their participation as well, but added what some took as a caveat, urging the organizers to invite Green party Leader Elizabeth May. The Conservatives, for their part, have already confirmed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would take part. In addition to requiring Harper's presence, Mulcair has also said one of his debate conditions is that there be an equal number in English and French. Harper has rejected the traditional debates run by a consortium of the major broadcasters, but has agreed to a Sept. 17 Calgary debate sponsored by the Globe and Mail and Google Canada and a French-language debate on Quebec's TVA network on Oct. 2.

---

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he was "extremely proud" that the Quebec Federation of Labour, a large, sovereigntist-leaning labour federation in Quebec, had dropped its long-standing endorsement of the Bloc Quebecois, with some of its member unions expressing support for the NDP. The federation, also known as the FTQ, is heavily involved in politics; it covers 37 labour unions and counts 600,000 members. Its secretary-general, Serge Cadieux, said Tuesday the FTQ is not officially endorsing any political party, but that two of its unions have so far come out in support of the NDP.  Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe downplayed the news Tuesday, saying that the FTQ has been planning to drop its support for the Bloc for a while. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's Quebec lieutenant, Denis Lebel, tweeted that "the last thing the country needs is an NDP government at the mercy of unions."

---

Saying Stephen Harper has "turned Ottawa into a partisan swamp" during his years in power, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is promising a more transparent government if elected in October. Trudeau accused the outgoing prime minister of leading the "most secretive, divisive and hyper-partisan government in Canada's history." Trudeau also said a Liberal government would bring substantial change to the scandal-tainted Senate by bringing in a merit-based appointment process. "Partisanship and patronage need to be eliminated from the Senate," he said.

---

Stephen Harper has been telling the Conservative faithful that the opposition parties want to legalize marijuana and prostitution, and make it easier to have supervised injection sites — all of which Harper's party has opposed. On Tuesday, the Conservatives promised to spend almost $27 million a year to help the RCMP root out drug labs and change the focus of the national mental health commission that it created in 2007. The campaign pledge would see an extra $4.5 million per year, on top of the $22 million currently budgeted, for an RCMP team designed to crack down on illegal drug labs and marijuana grow-ops. The party also wants to spend $500,000 a year over four years on a national toll-free hotline for parents to call to get information about drug use among the country's youth.

---

The Canadian Press