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The Globe and Mail

Harper turns his gaze to Liberal supporters

Prime Minister Stephen Harper gestures as he responds to a question following a campaign stop in Richmond Hill, Saturday April 30, 2011.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Stephen Harper is wooing right-of-centre Liberal voters now that Jack Layton has overtaken Michael Ignatieff in the polls, arguing the Tories are now the only party capable of governing with a "moderate, mainstream" approach to the economy.

The Conservative Leader's pitch warned that a strengthened NDP could end up as the dominant partner in a coalition government with Liberals if the Tories don't secure a majority.

"A vote for the NDP is a vote for an NDP government -- not an experiment," Mr. Harper said during a campaign stop Saturday north of Toronto.

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"A vote for the Liberals is also a vote for an NDP government."

The Conservative Leader has refocused his attack on the NDP in recent days in light of polls showing Mr. Layton's party is second in national support. The latest Nanos Research survey has the Tories at 38 per cent of the vote, the NDP at 29.6 per cent and the Liberals at 23.3 per cent.

Mr. Harper says he doesn't think Canadians would be comfortable with an NDP-led government pursuing the party's planned tax hikes.

"NDP economic policy is not thought out ... it would be very dangerous for the economy, kill jobs, stop the recovery [and]set families back."

He urged Conservatives to seek out Liberals and try to convince them.

"I particularly want you to go out and talk to those Liberals," Mr. Harper said.

"There are many Liberals, people who have traditionally voted for that party, who do not and will not support the policies, the economic direction of an NDP government," he said.

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"We need those people who voted Liberal in the past to vote this time to ensure we have a strong, stable national government."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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