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

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read