Facing down the final two weeks of the election campaign, Stephen Harper added a sense of urgency Saturday to the need for Canadians to think seriously about what he says is the key question this election: who should be in charge of the public purse.
Harper threatened fiscal ruin for Canada should either of his opponents be given that power, a possibility that can't be ignored he told supporters at an afternoon rally in the town of Bay Roberts, NL.
"Imagine waking up on Oct. 20, polls tell us this is very possible, and find an NDP government or a Liberal government making decisions on borrowing money or on your taxes," he told a crowd of about 100 supporters.
"Think about that for a moment and tell me friends that we will work every single day to make sure that those who want reckless spending, deficits and tax hikes do not get their hands on managing our economy for next next four year."
Harper stressed that every vote was going to matter come election day, a notion currently born out by polls suggesting that while the national logjam in support for the three parties is starting to break, in many places in Canada, the race remains neck-and-neck.
He urged his supporters in the riding of Avalon to spread the word, saying they should talk to their friends, families, seniors, fishermen and small business owners about what's at stake in this campaign.
"We will not give up on the future of his country," he said.
By showing up in Avalon Saturday, Harper suggested the party hasn't given up on the riding either, which at one point was their best hope to pick up a seat in the otherwise hostile political territory in the province.
The seat is currently held by former Liberal, turned independent Scott Andrews, who took it from Conservative Fabian Manning in 2008.
A fight for the Conservative nomination this time around saw the son of John Crosbie, a high profile federal cabinet minister in the governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, denied the right to run for the federal Tories. It is one of the issues that's said to have soured even some local Conservatives on casting a ballot.
The current candidate is Lorraine Barnett, a long time advisor to federal politicians in the province.
Outside Harper's event a few dozen protesters also voiced their concerns, on issues ranging from the ongoing debate about religious tolerance in the country, to support for the fisheries.
Harper was speaking as trade negotiators in Atlanta continue to hash out a massive Pacific Rim trade deal and it was the last major deal his government signed that's sparked some of the bad blood in Newfoundland for the Conservatives.
In order for Canada to clinch the Canadian-European Trade Agreement, known as CETA, the province had to give up its minimum processing requirements for European markets and the Conservatives agreed to compensation; how much is a sore point on both sides.
The provincial government says the Conservatives aren't honouring that commitment, which it says is necessary to help the seafood industry once the deal is actively in force – it still hasn't been ratified.
Harper, speaking inside a storage warehousing serving the fishing industry, pledged the money would still be there.
"We will deliver compensation for any minimum processing requirement losses," he said.
Questions have already been asked of the Conservatives whether the Trans Pacific Partnership could require similar types of industry-specific compensation, given its potential to alter the dairy farming sector in particular. Indications have been that if necessary, compensation will be provided.
Just one of the province's seven seats went Conservative in the last federal election in 2011 as Peter Penashue eked out a surprise victory over Liberal incumbent Todd Russell in Labrador.
Penashue later resigned over illegitimate campaign expenses, asking voters to give him another chance in a subsequent byelection. He lost to the Liberal challenger. His former official agent has now been charged under the Canada Elections Act.
Penashue is running again.
Harper heads back to Ottawa Saturday night for a down day Sunday before resuming his race to the finish line.