Stephen Harper is targeting seniors – those Canadians most likely to cast ballots – with his campaign message on Wednesday as the Conservatives struggle to overcome the desire for change in the Canadian electorate.
Mr. Harper warned elderly Canadians that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's plans to increase federal spending, run deficits and cancel some Conservative tax breaks would end up increasing the cost of living for them.
"Even Justin Trudeau's many tax hikes can't prevent him from running massive, permanent deficits," he said. "His reckless promises would increase government spending by $146.5-billion – and Canadian seniors and families would be stuck paying the bill."
Tory officials say privately that the party's biggest challenge in the 2015 election campaign is not so much Mr. Trudeau as it is the fatigue with Mr. Harper that they claim the Liberal Leader is capitalizing on.
On Wednesday, in the riding of Brantford-Brant, where the incumbent Conservative candidate first won in 2008, Mr. Harper again used props and sound effects to attack Mr. Trudeau. In front of a sign labelled "Liberal campaign promises," a Conservative supporter piled thousands of dollars in Canadian currency, accompanied by the sound of a cash register.
The Harper campaign is playing defence in the final days of the campaign as polls by firms such as Nanos Research suggest that the Liberals have a seven-point lead over the Conservatives.
With less than a week to go, the Tory Leader is devoting all his time to campaigning in ridings the Conservatives already hold, in the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario. His campaign itinerary covers seats the Tories first picked up in the 2004, 2006, 2008 or 2011 elections.
The Conservative campaign, with its pile of money and cash-register sound effects, is trying to shift the ballot question away from throw-out-Stephen Harper to which party will leave the most money in voters' pockets.