The Election: Day 40

Today Paul Martin announced a major initiative to clean up the St.Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. He promised that a Liberal government would invest $ one billion over 10 years to clean up major waterways in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. He said the program would tackle toxic hot spots along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.

The 10-year strategy includes:

$500 million to restore degraded and threatened areas across the entire region of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, including Montreal's Technoparc and Hamilton Harbour.

$100 million to identify and address current and growing ecological threats due to population growth, invasive alien species and new substances such as pharmaceuticals.

$200 million for scientific research to better understand the effects of human activity, alien species and climate change on these ecosystems.

$120 million to revitalize Lake Winnipeg and reduce pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

$80 million to establish the best practices for other key watersheds.

In the first recent glitch in his campaign, Stephen Harper had to clarify the Conservative tax cut proposals. Last night CBC ran a story quoting unnamed Conservative sources as saying that the Conservatives would rescind the tax cut passed by the Liberals in the days before theelection, which included reducing the tax rate for low income earners from 16% to 15%.

Harper confirmed on Saturday that his party would scrap the tax relief plan outlined in the Liberals' mini-budget last November. But he claimed that Canadians would end up with more savings.

Harper said Conservative tax breaks, including a reduction in the GST, would have a more significant impact on Canadian families than the Liberals' proposed tax cuts announced for low- and middle-income earners.

Harper also said the Conservatives would remove the capital gains tax on listed stock donations to charity if they were elected Jan. 23. The measure should make it easier for people to support the charities of their choice, he said.

Later Saturday Stephen Harper told reporters that the Conservative tax cuts would actually total about $49 billion, considerably more than the estimated impact of the Liberal measures.

Gilles Duceppe stepped up his attack on the Liberals over federal funds received by a federalist lobby group before the 1995 Quebec referendum. Martin accused the BQ of trying to create controversy out of long-resolved matter.

Gilles Duceppe's response was that Martin had said the same thing before the sponsorship scandal broke.

"They were saying that about the ad scam, so they're saying that now," Duceppe said.

"It's the same kind of attitude, denying the facts, trying to get away from the facts. I mean, this is typical of the Liberals. Period."

Duceppe has suggested Option Canada, under Martin adviser Claude Dauphin, may have used the some of the funds to pay for a huge federalist rally in Montreal just before the "no" side won the 1995 vote by a razor-thin margin.

Today ended a disastrous week for the Liberals. A new Ipsos Reid poll showed the Conservatives with a four point lead nationally. The poll indicated that, in the lead-up to the second leaders debate, the Tories are on the march to victory on January 23. The poll results were:

Tories (35%, +2 Points), Grits (31%, -1 Point), NDP (18%, Unchanged), Green (5%, Unchanged)
Bloc At 45% In Quebec (-7 Points) Versus Grits (23%, -3 Points) And Surging Tories (19%, +7 Points)

The Ipsos Seat Projection Model suggested a Tory minority as the likely outcome with the following seat projection: Conservatives 129-133 seats, Liberals 87-91, NDP 27-31, Bloc 56-60.

The fate of the election may now hang on the performance of the leaders in the second debates. If Harper can hold his own and come out looking Prime Ministerial and not get knocked off stride, then Martin will be between a rock and a hard place as election day rapidly approaches. This was the week he was going to seize the momentum. Instead, the exact opposite occurred and the Conservatives now clearly have the momentum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That Stephen is to the right of Attila the Hun. And the Liberals are so corrupt they stink! The only hope id to elect enough NDP members to keep Harper honest.