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Liberal Express

Ignatieff's bus tour spurs chicken-or-egg dispute Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff and his officials detect a pattern as their summer bus tour winds across the country: Stephen Harper's cabinet ministers show up just before the Liberal Express makes a stop in a community.

They point to the fact that, last week in Quebec City, senior Quebec minister Josée Verner made three announcements "just before and while the Liberal Express was in town." The Grits even had a clock on it: the last announcement, they say, was made exactly one hour before their "official launch."

The Liberals also say Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has been more visible than usual, making announcements nearly every day (he does have that sensitive situation in the RCMP to deal with.)

On Thursday, the Tories have scheduled a barbecue in Mr. Ignatieff's Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding. Coincidentally, Mr. Ignatieff and his bus are in the Toronto area all day.

The Liberals managed to get an invitation to the Tory event, though they wouldn't say who from the party sent it out:

Subject: Etobicoke Lakeshore Community BBQ - July 28 @ 5 pm

Hi Folks, This is a major event right in the heart of Etobicoke Lakeshore and we know whose riding that currently is. The cost is extremely low ($25/person). For this event I will need the names of attendees to obtain clearance before the event.

In addition, junior Foreign Affairs minister Peter Kent and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley are making an announcement with two provincial cabinet ministers Thursday on affordable housing in Toronto, stealing a bit of Mr. Ignatieff's thunder, perhaps.

"So obviously, they are noticing us," a senior Ignatieff official told The Globe on Wednesday.

Not so, a senior PMO official replied, arguing the Grits are instead following Tory ministers.

"I know that in the Iggy-verse the sun revolves around Iggy, but in the real world it's the other way around," the Tory said. "And so it is here - Michael Ignatieff has done a fine job following our hard-working cabinet around the country.

"While Iggy has been pretending to play the role of the proletarian, the Prime Minister and his ministers have been hard at work making announcements that will benefit Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast."

That said, it's worth noting Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not been around lately. Canadians have yet to hear his views on the long-form census debate and on the deteriorating leadership situation within the RCMP.

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