NEWS
09/21/2015 16:45 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

A look at some key developments Monday on the federal campaign trail

OTTAWA — A look at key developments Monday on the campaign trail:

Military procurement preoccupied the campaign trail Monday as the main party leaders took aim at one another over Canada's on-again, off-again plan to buy 65 new F-35 stealth fighters. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and his NDP counterpart, Tom Mulcair, trained their sights on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who wants to scrap the multibillion-dollar purchase.

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Harper questioned "what planet" Trudeau was living on and accused him of living in a "dream world." The Tory leader said domestic economic spinoffs for the F-35 would be "critical" for the aerospace industry and the manufacturing sector. Harper, who was campaigning Monday in Peterborough, Ont., also said he was optimistic about his party's chances there, despite the travails of the city's former MP. Dean Del Mastro was Harper's former parliamentary secretary and point man on parliamentary ethics who became a target for the opposition parties after he was convicted of violating the Canada Elections Act.

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Trudeau didn't back down when it came to his view on scrapping the F-35 purchase. He said proven options would meet Canada's requirements to replace its CF-18s and cost as much as 30 per cent less than the estimated $44 billion the stealth fighters are expected to cost over their 40-years lifespan. He argues the savings could be spent on upgrades for the Navy.

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Mulcair argued Trudeau was pre-judging the public tendering process. He also criticized Harper for endorsing the project in the first place, while suggesting there are cheaper and better options for the Air Force. In Halifax, Mulcair also pledged to do more for the country's military veterans, promising more federal health care support, including $454 million over four years for treatment of post-traumatic stress.

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The Green party's Elizabeth May won Trudeau's support for her contention that she should be able to take part in the Munk debate on foreign policy later this month. The Green party has filed a complaint with the Canada Revenue Agency alleging the debate format violates the policies that limit the political activities of charities. The party says it will withdraw the complaint if May is invited to Monday's debate in Toronto.

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Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe pushed for more electric vehicles at a campaign event in Montreal before heading to other Quebec centres, Longueuil and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville.

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The Canadian Press