OTTAWA — A look at three things each of the federal leaders will likely have on their "To Do" lists for the next phase of the campaign:
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper:
1) Keep hammering home the "stay the course" message, that his party is the safest choice in a period of economic stability.
2) Start spending the massive war chest to buy more advertising, and drive home the message that the other parties are ill-equipped to govern.
3) Carefully avoid or neutralize any unnecessary controversies that might further solidify voters' negative impressions, particularly on ethics.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair:
1) Continue trying to better acquaint Canadians with the leader's personal background and professional experience.
2) Convince skittish voters that the NDP can responsibly run a country by emphasizing prudent fiscal policies and providing a bulletproof costing of all platform promises, while at the same time not suggesting he has abandoned progressive principles.
3) Drive home the message that the NDP can actually defeat the Conservatives, and so anti-Harper voters should strategically support the NDP rather than split the vote.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
1) Carefully avoid making any gaffes that will weaken credibility when speaking publicly and inadvertently reinforce rival message that you are not ready for the job.
2) Continue to bill yourself as the real progressive alternative to Harper, by critiquing the NDP's policies on the economy (i.e. its refusal to entertain running a deficit).
3) Drive home the message that Liberals can actually defeat the Conservatives, and so anti-Harper voters should strategically support the Liberals rather than split the vote.
The Canadian Press