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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff arrives at a campaign stop at Sheridan College in Oakville on March 29, 2011. (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff arrives at a campaign stop at Sheridan College in Oakville on March 29, 2011. (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)

Ignatieff heads to Vancouver pharmacy to unveil another platform plank Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff will offer more money for middle-class families Wednesday, announcing the third major plank in a platform he is funding with the $6-billion he says will be saved by reversing corporate tax cuts.

His announcement, at a pharmacy in Vancouver, follows his $1-billion pledge Tuesday for the so-called "Learning Passport." That program is aimed at encouraging high school students to go on to university and college by helping them out financially.

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Last October, Mr. Ignatieff released the first major platform plank - a $1 billion family care program. The Liberals say they will fund these programs by cancelling planned cuts to corporate if they form government.

The Liberal Leader is expected to make two more significant announcements this week. They will form the five major planks of his platform, all involving help for middle class families.

Then, at the start of the second week of the May 2 election campaig, he will release the entire platform. That's a full week earlier than his predecessor Stéphane Dion, who delivered his at the beginning of the third week of the 2008 campaign.

The earlier drop gives Liberal hopefuls substance to work with when canvassing door-to-door or speaking at all-candidates meetings. It also allows some of the policies to percolate for four weeks before Canadians go to the polls.

Mississauga-Brampton MP Navdeep Bains, the chair of the Liberals' platform development committee, says the five major planks tell the Liberal election story of families and the economy.

He said there had been some discussion about releasing the Learning Passport before the election was called. But that was ruled out after party strategists argued it was significant enough to break through the "noise" of a campaign.

The Liberals had also worried coming back to the Commons in January that Stephen Harper would cancel the $6-billion tax cuts, deciding the country just couldn't afford them. It would deny the Liberals their big issue - and the spending envelope for their programs.

Their entire platform would have been in jeopardy had Mr. Harper changed his mind. "Our biggest fear coming back in the New Year was that he would think twice about the corporate tax cuts," a senior Ignatieff official said Monday. "But he didn't do that, he is stubborn, he is ideological and he didn't do that."

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