1. All in the family. The Tories will make their first policy announcement Monday morning on Vancouver Island, promising a new tax cut for families with children under 18.
The Conservative Party confirmed to The Globe that today's announcement will be called "Stephen Harper's Family Tax Cut." However the announcement is expected to come with a catch.
The measure would not be implemented until after the deficit is erased - a feat that is not scheduled to happen until 2015-2016.
As last week's federal budget indicated, big deficits mean money is tight. Therefore one of the biggest challenges for the political parties on the campaign will be to keep promises affordable and properly costed.
The Tory announcement comes as the federal parties move to establish themselves on issues related to families and the battle for middle-class voters begins.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will begin rolling out major policy announcements this week on the costing of post-secondary education for families. Mr. Ignatief has emphasized how middle-class families want to be able to afford to send their children to college or university, but are also worried about taking care of elderly parents.
2. By the numbers. Liberals say it's good to start a campaign as the under dog. They're certainly getting what they wanted. A new public opinion poll out Monday morning shows the Liberals trailing the Conservatives by 17 points.
PostMedia reports on a survey by Forum Research, which finds the Tories in front at 41 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 24 per cent. Support for the NDP is at 19 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois at 10 per cent.
According to a seat projection by Forum Research, that would give the Conservatives 162 seats - enough to form a majority government.
The Forum Research survey of 2,095 Canadians was conducted over the weekend by phone. The Forum's national poll numbers are considered accurate +/- 2.2. per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The Forum findings are similar to a survey by Ipsos-Reid last week, also for PostMedia, which found the Conservatives entering the campaign with a 19 point lead. But an EKOS survey for the CBC last Friday suggested a tighter race. It put the Conservatives at 35.3 per cent, the Liberals at 28.1 per cent, the New Democrats at 14.2 per cent, the Green Party at 10.6 per cent, and the Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in Quebec, at 9.7 percent.
Also this morning, QMI reports that a survey of 1,119 Canadians by Leger Marketing found only 17 per cent believe Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff when he says he's "ruling out a coalition."
3. Where are they? The first event of the day will be a press conference inside Toronto's Fairmont Royal York. There Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff holds court with Mark Holland, the Liberal candidate for Pickering-Ajax. Though Mr. Holland was the Liberal party's lead critic of the Conservative government's law and order policies, the Liberals say the focus of the event will be on the Harper record of the past five years. The party is also expected to focus on the cost of last year's G20 meeting in Toronto.
Later in the day, Mr. Ignatieff will tour the Hua Long Supermarket on Spadina Ave. with Michael Chan, the Ontario Minister of Tourism, and Christine Innes, the Liberal candidate for Trinity-Spadina. The riding, currently held by the NDP's Olivia Chow, has featured a tight race between the Liberals and NDP the past several campaigns.
An evening rally is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at the Payal Banquet Hall in Mississauga.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's tour begins 9:00 PT (noon ET) for an undisclosed "campaign event" in Saanich, B.C. The Tory plane then flies to Edmonton for a 4:30 MT campaign event (6:30 p.m. ET) in Beaumont, just south of the city, with local candidates.
NDP leader Jack Layton spends the Monday in Regina, portraying his party as the only one that can beat Conservatives in Saskatchewan. He will be at The Artesian at 10:00 a.m. MT (noon ET) event and question and answer session. His tour then heads to Moose Jaw for a 3:00 p.m. MT in the riding of Palliser.
The NDP plans on criticizing the Conservatives for refusing to fire Conservative senators - Doug Finley and Irving Gerstein - who were charged this year over allegations they violated the Elections Act when they served in senior roles for the Conservative party during the 2006 campaign.
The NDP is also releasing its full list of social media tools Monday. They include live-streaming of the leader's tour, ways for online users to identify themselves as NDP supporters and a Jack Layton app for iPhones.
Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe has a full day of campaign events in Montreal, beginning with a press conference just after 10:00 a.m. ET.
With a report from Jane Taber