OTTAWA — A look at key developments Thursday on the federal campaign trail:
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the fact his campaign co-chairman stepped down reflects how seriously his party takes ethical standards and responsibilities. Dan Gagnier, a member of Trudeau's inner circle, quit Wednesday after a report by The Canadian Press revealed he sent a detailed email to officials at pipeline company TransCanada Corp., on how and when to lobby a new government — including a Liberal minority. Gagnier said in a statement that he left because he didn't want to be a distraction to Trudeau's campaign.
Stephen Harper is not following Trudeau in asking voters for a majority government. Harper was burned in 2004 for making similar late-campaign remarks and said Thursday he never takes voters for granted and is encouraging choice in this tight race. It wasn't until 2011 that Harper brought the term back into his campaign message, calling for a "strong, stable, national, Conservative majority government" at every stop. He got his majority, but heading into the 2015 campaign, the party acknowledged they can't count on a repeat.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is using the Liberal TransCanada scandal to try to cut into Liberal support in Quebec, a province that helped push the NDP to Official Opposition status in the last election and where NDP fortunes may be fading. Mulcair called the Dan Gagnier matter an "extraordinary opportunity" to remind Canadians, including those in Quebec, that this is "the same old Liberal party of the sponsorship scandal." Mulcair went straight into Tory turf on Thursday, campaigning in the newly rejigged riding of Lac St. Jean, where Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel is running for re-election.
It seems as though Canadians may not get to see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement before they vote on Monday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday it would be released as soon as it is available, but the text is still being crafted by Canada and its 11 Pacific Rim partner countries. Trade Minister Ed Fast had said that the text would be released before the election.
The Canadian Press