The Election: Day 21

More hypocrisy from Paul Martin! Martin said yesterday that Liberal candidates are entitled to run in this election even if they want to deny Charter rights to gays and lesbians seeking same-sex marriage.

This appears to contradict a controversial declaration made a day earlier by Mr. Martin, when he said Conservative leader Stephen Harper shouldn't even be running for the highest political office in the land because of his refusal to protect same-sex marriages as a Charter right.

But when pressed by journalists to explain why this double standard is acceptable, given that he says protection of the Charter is a fundamental "principle," Mr. Martin said his higher standard only applies to those leaders who want to run the government, not to regular MPs.

BTW Martin billed his party as an "agent for change" despite 12 years in power.

I wonder what weed he's smoking these days?

Meanwhile both Layton and Harper took aim at the Liberals re their impact on widening the rift with Quebec. Voters wary of widening Canada's rift with Quebec should think long and hard before voting Liberal, Layton warned Sunday.
Layton accused Martin of damaging the process of reconciliation with Quebec by trying to make a ballot-box question out of the separatist threat. Returning the Liberals to power would suggest to Quebec that the rest of Canada doesn't much care about the sponsorship scandal, he said.

"It would send a very strong message to Quebecers that Canadians frankly aren't very concerned about the Liberals' attempt to buy the support of Quebecers in a corrupt fashion."

Stephen Harper pledged that a Conservative government would recognize Quebec's provincial autonomy and give it a more prominent voice on the world stage.
Harper said he would allow Quebec to play a role in international bodies such as UNESCO. Harper accused the Liberals of damaging the federalist cause with the sponsorship scandal, and added the Conservative Party can make repairs.

Harper said a Conservative government would put an end to the scandals that have damaged the image of federalism in Quebec and have allowed profiteers to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers.

His proposals include:

Revising and tightening all procedures related to issuing contracts and using public funds.
Giving greater independence to the ethics commissioner and increased powers to the auditor general.
Creating an independent and objective parliamentary budget authority.
Ensuring that all governmental institutions – including foundations – are subject to full audits by the auditor general.
Reforming federal political party financing along the lines of the model established in Quebec by René Lévesque.

Martin's big announcement of the day was a promise to increase the lifetime capital gains tax exemption by 50 per cent to help small business owners and farmers. The exemption would be raised to $750,000 from $500,000.

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