OTTAWA — A look at key developments Wednesday on the campaign trail:
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and his Conservative counterpart, Stephen Harper, found themselves on similar fiscal ground — arguing against allowing the country to slip into red ink — while the Liberals' Justin Trudeau staked out his own turf on the issue, accusing his rivals of planning to cut program spending at a time the economy can ill afford it.
Trudeau who defended former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin's cost-slashing measures, was in Trois-Rivieres, Que., as part of his swing through a province that looks decidedly NDP friendly, according to polls. He pressed his position in favour of deficit spending as a way to get the economy moving, blaming Harper and the Conservatives for leaving the country in a fiscal mess. He said a Liberal government would spend $20 billion over the next 10 years in green infrastructure.
Harper, who said at a rally in North Bay, Ont., that he would balance the books, announced tax credits worth $60 million a year to help boost mining and exploration. However, the announcement was partly overshadowed by a man who was escorted from the event for wearing a shirt that said: "Water Not Harper." The protester, Yan Roberts, accused the Conservatives of being more concerned about protecting themselves and their campaign than the environment. Harper's campaign has come under scrutiny for what some see as heavy-handed tactics related to who gets into his campaign events.
Mulcair, who is pledging to keep the books balanced if he's elected, promised $28 million for Sport Canada to make it easier for poor and disadvantaged youth to play sports. His event in Kamloops, B.C., capped a three-day tour of British Columbia's southern Interior, a largely Conservative area. Mulcair, who said sports have been an important part of his life, scrambled for the puck in a parking-lot game with a group of kids.
In Fredericton, the Green's Elizabeth May promised measures to help seniors. A guaranteed livable income and a national pharmacare program are among the highlights of the party's strategy. May said she is focusing her campaign effort on a key set of ridings across the country where her party has already made inroads. The Greens have one seat in both the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island legislatures.
The Canadian Press