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

Alberta energy war room must avoid online morass, preaching to choir: experts

CALGARY — Tzeporah Berman only learned of her cameo appearance at an… Continue reading

CSIS destroyed secret file on Pierre Trudeau, stunning historians

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service destroyed a Cold War dossier on Pierre… Continue reading

Premier refuses to back down on plan to scrap 18,000 immigration applications

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is holding firm on his plan to scrap… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Red Deer Hospice celebrates hitting fundraising halfway mark

Red Deer Hospice Society in middle of $5.2-million expansion

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Massive protests draw apology from Hong Kong leadership

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that… Continue reading

Butterfly garden keeper manages to film large tarantula shedding exoskeleton

VICTORIA — A 20-centimetre tarantula capable of killing a bird has been… Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal wins 2018 Michener Award recognizing public-service journalism

OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner… Continue reading

Victorious Raptors cancel their return to Toronto after becoming NBA champs

TORONTO — Some Raptors players returned to Toronto on Saturday night for… Continue reading

How a Montreal working-class neighbourhood’s activists changed Quebec and Canada

MONTREAL — The Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood is isolated from the rest of Montreal… Continue reading

‘He was ditched:’ La Loche victim spiralled without support, now going to prison

SASKATOON — A promising football player whose dreams of playing professionally were… Continue reading

‘I’ve fallen in love’: Paralyzed Bronco player finds passion for water sport

SASKATOON — Jacob Wassermann spent most of his life on the ice… Continue reading

Most Read