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The party leaders: Where they went and what they said on Monday April 18
On Monday the Conservative party informed reporters travelling with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff that a recent attack ad on health attributes a quote to Stephen Harper that was in fact written by David Somerville, president of the National Citizens Coalition – an organization that Mr. Harper once led. The TV spot had been running for six days before the Tories found the misquote. Then they seized upon it, accusing the Liberals of fabricating the line out of desperation and calling on them to pull the ad. While his spokespeople handled the misquote fallout, Mr. Harper campaigned in the Northwest Territories. There, in keeping with his national unity message, he launched into a grim warning of the dangers of another minority Parliament with strong representation by the Bloc. (Photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives from snowmobiling at a campaign outing in Yellowknife, NWT)
After the Conservatives pointed out that Stephen Harper had been misquoted in a Liberal attack ad on health, the Liberals said Monday that they will not take the add off the air as the Conservatives had requested, but will instead replace the quote. The Liberals said they would post an online poll asking Canadians which new Harper quote on health care they should use instead. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who was campaigning in the Northwest Territories Monday, noted that the Conservatives have been taking his quotes out of context in ad campaigns for years. “I’ve had five years of malicious, selective misquotation of my work. But that is no excuse. If there is misquotation in any campaign, then that’s unacceptable. The fact that they did it to me doesn’t make it acceptable,” he said. The original quote wrongly attributed to Mr. Harper was: “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act.” (Photo: Michael Ignatieff tests out a tractor simulator in Yellowknife, N.W.T. )
NDP Leader Jack Layton was in Quebec City on Monday where he woke up to online polls that suggested his party is capturing the attention of voters across the country and especially in the province of Quebec, where his own attributes as a leader appear to be winning his party support. Mr. Layton started the day speaking at a breakfast where he outlined his plan to help cities. It includes dedicating resources to build green infrastructure, with targeted funds for urban transit, clean water, research and development. He later spoke with Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume about the city’s desire for streetcars, retaining basins for salt water and an institute to study water – all projects that could qualify for federal funding under NDP policy proposals. (Photo: NDP Leader Jack Layton trains on an elliptical machine in a gym as his sister Nancy, left, looks on in Val d'Or, Quebec.)
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe spent Monday in Montreal where met with artists and presented the party's priorities on cultural issues. Mr. Duceppe said his party is proposing a series of fiscal, budgetary and legislative measures to improve artists’ living conditions. He also talked about copyright laws and the importance of culture to Quebec. He ended his day in the riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles to pay tribute to long-time Bloc MP Francine Lalonde, who is not running for re-election. (Photo: Gilles Duceppe, left, arrives at a cultural centre during a federal election campaign in Montreal)