Under fire over Duffy, Harper clings to Conservative campaign message

Questioned relentlessly at every campaign stop about the fallout from the Mike Duffy trial, Stephen Harper is refusing to be knocked off his double-barrelled core campaign message: economy and security.

OTTAWA — Questioned relentlessly at every campaign stop about the fallout from the Mike Duffy trial, Stephen Harper is refusing to be knocked off his double-barrelled core campaign message: economy and security.

The Conservative leader is stressing the latter at a stop in Fredericton, N.B., where he is promising to add 6,000 people to bolster the reserve ranks of the Canadian Forces reserves.

Harper says the measure will cost $163 million over three years and $63.4 million going forward once the overall target of 30,000 personnel is reached.

His main opponents, meanwhile, want heads to roll over the Duffy affair. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office fired; NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says it’s Harper who should be turfed.

But the prime minister says the two people to blame are Duffy and Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, the star witness at Duffy’s trial and the man who personally paid the embattled senator’s questioned expenses.

Harper — ignoring evidence that indicates a number of PMO staffers were aware of the arrangement — says Duffy and Wright were the two principal players and are the ones being held accountable.

“I do think that what’s important for Canadians looking forward is going to be the two issues of this campaign; the economy of our country and our future prospects in the security of our country,” Harper said.

“Those are the two issues and this Conservative party is the only government that has answers.”

While Harper is in New Brunswick today, Mulcair and Trudeau are in southern Ontario.

In Ajax, Ont., Trudeau is promising a tax break for the middle class, saying those earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year will see their tax rate fall to 20.5 per cent.

“We will raise taxes on the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians,” Trudeau said.

A Liberal government would also retool Canada’s child-benefit system to provide more to those families that most need the help, he added.

Just Posted

Despite warnings, plenty of temptations to thieves left in vehicles

Lock It or Lose It campaign still finding plenty of valuables left in plain sight

WATCH: Notley invites central Albertans to “team up” with New Democrats for equitable, prosperous future

NDP leader lashes out against her rival, Jason Kenney, calling him a cheater

Red Deer sees highest rate of fentanyl deaths

47 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018

Why Solar: Canada needs to get its collective house in order

Canada needs to get a grip. The country has one of the… Continue reading

Gardening: Take care when making plant purchases

After a cold February, the longer sunny days and warmer weather triggers… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Most Read