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ELECTION 2011: Not Harper

Day 15

ELECTION VIDEO: To see Maude Barlow’s new ‘Week 2’ election commentary, please watch below or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hXiyT-PXsM. At the start of the election Barlow said, “We must highlight the negative implications of another Conservative minority government, or worse, a Conservative majority government. Stopping the Conservatives from gaining power in this election will be a win in and of itself.”

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NOT HARPER BANNER: On Friday morning, Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara held a ‘Not Harper’ banner beside the Harper campaign bus in Mississauga as the Conservatives prepared to launch their election platform. To see that photo, go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7420.

NOT HARPER FOR THE ST. LAWRENCE: Council of Canadians climate/ energy campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue writes, “The Conservatives platform includes a commitment to tabling necessary legislation in Parliament to implement an Accord on Quebec’s Offshore resources. What does this mean? It means that the conditions are being laid for the pursuit of offshore drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. …With greenhouse gas emissions on the rise and the need for deep emission cuts in the face of the climate crisis, political leaders must start choosing to leave fossil fuels in the ground. We need a transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment.” Her blog can be read at http://canadians.org/energyblog/index.php.

NOT HARPER FOR THE PERIMETER SECURITY: To read about where the Harper Conservatives and all parties stand on the critical issue of a perimeter security deal with the United States, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7393.

NOT HARPER FOR THE CANADA HEALTH ACCORD: The Toronto Star reports, “Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton all pledged Friday to boost federal funding for health care by 6 per cent a year past 2014.” CTV adds, “Michael Ignatieff has promised to spend billions on health care after the current agreement with the provinces ends in 2014. During a campaign stop at a Hamilton cancer centre, the Liberal leader said that he would keep up with current annual spending increases of six per cent. That number represents a rise of about $2 billion per year. …The Conservatives (say) a six percent raise has already been factored into their long-term plan. …While the recently defeated Conservative budget promised to increase transfer payments to provinces by an amount of $47 billion for 2015-2016, the document noted that ‘growth rates have not been legislated and are subject to change’.” The Kamloops Daily News reports, “(Layton) pledged to boost health-care spending and introduce home-care support immediately rather than in 2014 when the current Canada Health Accord expires…”

NOT HARPER ON TRADE: The Conservative platform says, “The North American Free Trade Agreement has benefitted Canada enormously… Stephen Harper’s government has signed new trade agreements with…Colombia (and seven other countries). …We aim to build on this with an historic new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union…”

VOTER’S TOOLKIT: Want to help make a difference in your community by taking action during the federal election campaign period? Check out the Council of Canadians’ new Voter’s Toolkit. The kit includes downloadable resources such as a 2011 Election leaflet, “Vote for the Canada you Want,” questions for candidates, tips on how to organize an all-candidates meetings, window signs and much more. You can download them at http://canadians.org/election/.

GET OUT THE VOTE: An Ipsos-Reid poll says that 56 per cent of Canadians are now promising to vote on May 2. That’s lower than the historic low voter turnout in the 2008 election – 58.8 per cent. In that election, 37.4 per cent of students voted.

CAMPAIGN SOAPBOX: The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter is planning a series of daily rallies on election issues, one issue per day, starting April 14 and going to April 30. These will take place weekdays at 5 pm outside Peterborough Square and near the farmers market on Saturday mornings. The first campaign soapbox will focus on F-35 fighter jets, the CBC, and our declining democracy will follow. Each day will include the issue prominently displayed, visuals, polling opportunities, citizen interaction and more. Organizations are encouraged to take on a day with their issue.

COMOX VALLEY DEBATE: The Comox Valley Record reports, “North Island Elder College and the local chapter of the Council of Canadians with the assistance of the North Island Students’ Union, are sponsoring a (Vancouver Island North) all-candidates’ meeting April 13. The meeting will take place at North Island College’s Courtenay campus in the Stan Hagen Theatre at 3 p.m.” The media release for the debate says, “This is an effort to engage youthful and senior citizens in our democratic process and to bring the young and not-so-young together on common ground – a dialogue about our democracy. …We would urge all voters, the community at large, to come out and be part of this opportunity. …Bring your questions for our local candidates and urge your sons and daughters to attend with you.”

CHAPTER-ORGANIZED ALL CANDIDATES DEBATES: To date, chapters are organizing all-candidates debates in Comox Valley (April 13), Kamloops (April 15), Brockville (collecting questions for a debate on April 18), Calgary (April 19, tbc), and Red Deer (April 28). The Council of Canadians is offering $250 to chapters to help cover the costs of organizing all-candidates debates.

WHERE THE LEADERS ARE TODAY: The Ottawa Citizen reports, “Harper taking a down day in Kitchener, Ont., with no events planned. He flies to St. Hyacinthe, Que., in the evening where he will overnight. …Ignatieff holds media availability at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, then he’ll be in Woodbridge and end the day in Toronto. …Layton will be in Saskatoon then La Ronge. …May will be in Halifax and New Glasgow.”

TODAY’S POLL: Global TV Edmonton reports, “An Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Global News indicates the Tories would win 41 per cent of the vote among decided voters if an election were held tomorrow, and the Liberals would receive 26 per cent. That represents a two point drop from two weeks ago for the Conservatives, and a two point gain for the Liberals. The NDP’s Jack Layton would receive 19 per cent, representing a three-point gain. The Green Party led by Elizabeth May would garner just four per cent, which is down one point from two weeks ago.”