OTTAWA — Stephen Harper says Canadians don’t have to worry about a secret agenda if they give him his first majority government.
The prime minister told supporters in the Niagara Falls region on Monday he would not try to pass laws against abortion or same-sex marriage if elected with a majority.
In answer to a question from a reporter, Harper said he would implement promises in his platform if given a majority, stressing those two issues are not a priority with the party.
He would, however, move to abolish the long-gun registry, which he said has been a long-standing position of his party.
“We will govern on the platform we are elected on,” he said. “Abolishing the long-gun registry is a position of the Conservative party held by every single member of the caucus.
“On the other matters you mention (abortion and gay marriage), they are not in the Conservative platform. I have no intention of opening up those issues.”
Harper was not asked and did not say whether he would support a private-member’s bill on the issues.
The Conservatives have long been plagued with the spectre of a secret agenda should they have enough seats in the House of Commons to override opposition checks, an issue that has dogged their campaign in past elections.
The issue is emerging again because some recent polls show the party within striking distance of forming a majority.
Harper is gearing his campaign on picking up the additional dozen or so seats he needs for a majority. On Monday, he was again targeting an opposition incumbent, New Democrat Malcolm Allen of the riding of Welland, Ont.
Allen was among six New Democrats who initially backed a Tory private-member’s bill to kill the registry but then switched his vote.
Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was in Halifax selling his party’s platform released with much fanfare on Sunday.
Ignatieff told supporters a Liberal government would pay the full costs of tuition, books, accommodations and living expenses for up to four years of post-secondary education or technical training for veterans. The program is estimated to cost $120 million.
“While Stephen Harper chooses to spend $30 billion on untendered stealth-fighter jets, we’re saying clearly our priority is vets, not jets,” Ignatieff said.
“There can be no more fitting tribute to the service of our Canadian Forces than to guarantee that they have full support to go to college, university or technical training after they complete their service.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton was in Toronto touting his plan to expand and improve the Canada Pension Plan.
Layton says the Canada Pension Plan has been long neglected by successive Conservative and Liberal governments. He says the retirement security of millions of people has eroded over the last decade and his party intends to set it right.
He’s proposing to gradually double CPP and QPP benefits in conjunction with the provinces, a measure that could require a 2.5 per cent increase in payroll deductions. He’s also pledging to add $700 million to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to help seniors in the lowest income brackets.
On Sunday, Ignatieff released the Liberal campaign platform loaded with $8 billion to Canadian households and financed by repealing the latest corporate tax cut by the Harper government.
Harper blasted the document as unaffordable.