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On the campaign trail: The weekend photo recap

The party leaders: Where they went and what they said on Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10

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NDP Leader Jack Layton was in Toronto on Sunday where he unveiled his party’s full campaign platform. It promises a balanced budget within four years but also a broad range of spending on items like health care, job creation, education and “green” measures to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. The New Democrats would use money from tax cheaters, big corporations, and carbon-emitting industries to pay for the broad range of initiatives to reduce the financial burden on Canadians families and promote a cleaner environment. Earlier this weekend, on Saturday, Mr. Layton was in Saskatoon and La Ronge Saskatchewan to try to end the NDP’s electoral drought in the province.

Paul Chiasson/Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

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After touring the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean on Saturday, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe on Sunday lead the charge to change the date of the French-language debate. After Mr. Duceppe’s request (which all parties followed in agreement), the consortium of television broadcasters agreed Sunday to move up this week's French-language debate to avoid any competition with Thursday's first playoff game involving the Montreal Canadiens. The English-language debate will take place Tuesday, ahead of the start of the NHL playoffs, while the French-language one will now take place Wednesday. The French-language debate was originally scheduled for Thursday, when Montreal will play against the Boston Bruins. Mr. Duceppe pushed for the rescheduling saying “democracy should be placed ahead of ratings.”

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Christinne Muschi/Reuters

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On Saturday, Conservative leader Stephen Harper was a “Volleyball Dad”, taking a break from his campaign to cheer his son Ben's team at provincial championships in Waterloo, Ont. On Sunday, Mr. Harper ventured deep into Bloc Quebecois territory in the riding of St.-Hyacinthe-Bagot to promise the province’s farmers he’ll maintain policies sheltering Canada’s dairy, egg and poultry industries from international competition. At the same time the Conservative Leader promised to spend more than $20-million annually to help open global markets for other farm products. Mr. Harper also spent Sunday invoking the ghost of Pierre Trudeau to warn Canadians about the dangers of granting him only a minority government. He alleged the Liberals and NDP will form a coalition if he fails to win a majority of Commons seats and that these two parties will run up federal government spending if given a chance, just like the former Liberal prime minister. He also took aim at the Liberal Leader’s math, accusing Michael Ignatieff of making $28-billion in promises for which he hasn’t accounted in his platform.

CHRIS WATTIE/Chris Wattie/Reuters

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Liberal Leader Micheal Ignatieff was in downtown Toronto on Saturday where he charged that the Tories will sacrifice health care to pay for their election promises – that's the only conclusion he can draw after the Conservatives could not explain an $11-billion hole in their platform. “Seventeen days ago we had some numbers,” Mr. Ignatieff said, referring to the March 22 Conservative budget. “And hey presto, 17 days later, whoops we have a whole new set of numbers. Go figure.” But also on Saturday, Mr. Ignatieff acknowledged that he actually likes a promise contained in the Harper Conservative election platform – the one to create a $5-million Office of Religious Freedoms. It turned out however that Mr. Ignatieff's endorsement of the idea was at odds with people in his own party. On Friday a number of Liberal candidates had dumped on the idea, according to a Canadian Press story. Mr. Ignatieff had no events planned for Sunday.

MARK BLINCH/Mark Blinch/Reuters

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