Stephen Harper's Conservatives are launching a final TV advertising blitz in Ontario this weekend against Justin Trudeau as the Tories scramble to erode their Liberal rival's front-runner status.
A new TV ad, which the Conservatives say will be played during Saturday's Toronto Blue Jays game against the Kansas City Royals, is a compendium of familiar shots at Mr. Trudeau, including the line "He's just not ready" and his comment that "the budget will balance itself."
This advertisement goes further, though, trying to build a connection between Mr. Trudeau's policies and those of Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Ms. Wynne, unlike most premiers, has taken an active role in the federal election. She has endorsed Mr. Trudeau and campaigned aggressively for him.
The ad is trying to stir up animosity among Ontario voters about the fiscal record of the Wynne government and tar Mr. Trudeau with the same brush, saying he represents "the same Liberals who crippled Ontario under a mountain of debt, taxes and wasteful spending."
The Conservatives say the ad will be in heavy rotation this weekend, but they declined to put a dollar figure on how much they are spending.
Ontario is the most important battleground in the federal election, with 121 seats, or more than one-third of the House of Commons, up for grabs.
The Conservative ad also plays on fears about Mr. Trudeau's plan to expand the Canada Pension Plan, noting that Ms. Wynne embarked on her own plan to enhance retirement savings that will require employers and those covered to make new contributions to their nest egg.
The Tories are alleging that this would mean a hefty cost for Canadian voters if a Trudeau government does the same thing. "With the Liberal Premier of Ontario, Justin is pushing a $1,000 tax on your paycheque."
Polls have shown, however, that Torontonians at least on balance support the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, so the Harper Conservative appeal probably will not resonate with everyone. In addition, Ms. Wynne has suggested that if the Liberals win, her government would drop the idea of a provincial plan.
The federal Liberals have not spelled out their plans to enhance the CPP.
Conservative campaign spokesman Stephen Lecce said the Tories are trying to make the case that Mr. Trudeau will pursue the "same disastrous economic policies" as Ms. Wynne's government.
Like a show stuck on repeat, Mr. Harper will spend the final days of the 2015 election campaign reprising a stunt with piles of Canadian currency and the ring of a cash register bell.
His target remains Mr. Trudeau and his strategy remains the same as the past two weeks: trying to shift the ballot question away from time for change to "Which leader will leave more money in your pockets?"
That explains the re-enactment each campaign stop of cash being piled in front of a sign representing tax hikes the Conservatives say will come under a Liberal government – complete with a dinging bell to signify the rising tally.
On Saturday, Mr. Harper wakes up in Fredericton after a Friday-night rally for candidates in this small province. The Conservatives feel that it represents their best chances in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberal Party's appeal is strong in 2015.
The Conservative Leader will then return to Quebec one last time for a campaign stop in Montreal as the party remains hopeful that it will pick up seats in this province.
Then Mr. Harper flies to Toronto for a final rally in the region that holds the most votes in Canada. Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug say they are mobilizing their political support base – known as "Ford Nation" – for this event, which is meant to showcase candidates for 55 Greater Toronto Area seats.
On Sunday morning – the last day of campaigning – the Harper tour heads to British Columbia. It has been another tight battle with the Liberals and NDP there, but the Tories privately say they feel their prospects remain good in B.C.
Finally, on Sunday night, Mr. Harper arrives in his hometown, Calgary, wrapping up his 78-day fight to retain the Prime Minister's Office.
The mood on the Harper tour this week has been a mix of resignation that they might lose and hope that the polls suggesting a six-point Liberal lead are wrong. Conservatives remain confident that their get-out-the vote machine is as strong as ever and that they could make up the difference by mobilizing voters more effectively.