OTTAWA – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper kicks off his campaign day at a steel processing plant in Burlington, Ont., part of the important “905 region” around Toronto, where he is expected to face questions about the economy.
The area is solidly Conservative but not one without some political controversy.
One of the ridings that takes in part of the municipality is Oakville North-Burlington, which former Conservative MP Eve Adams was hoping to represent in this election campaign.
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But a nasty nomination fight ensued, involving allegations within the party that Adams’ partner and former chief spokesman for Harper, Dimitri Soudas, interfered in the process.
The fracas led to Soudas eventually resigning as executive director of the Conservative party and Adams quit the race, citing health issues. She was eventually told she wouldn’t be allowed to run for the Conservatives and she subsequently crossed the floor to the Liberals, but failed to win a nomination.
Later Tuesday, Harper heads into northern Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie, where the Conservatives eked out a narrow victory over the NDP in 2011. Two weeks before the election began, area MP Brian Hayes announced $6 million for renovations to the local armoury, one of dozens of spending announcements ahead of the campaign aimed at shoring up support for the Conservatives.
New Statistics Canada data released Tuesday indicated Canada went into recession earlier in the year, paving the way for his opponents to attack his economic and fiscal record. Harper has indicated he will be trying to change the channel from the economy to security – with chatter about Canada’s military mission against the Islamic State.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who took the day off Monday, spends the day in Quebec, starting in Gatineau, Que., where the NDP held the seat in the last Parliament. Among other things, he’ll be glad-handing at a Tim Hortons, before moving on to Laval.
The Liberal support base in Quebec is based in the Montreal area, and the party will be trying to extend its political clout in other areas of Quebec, where the party was only able to pick up seven seats in 2011 and polls have suggested the NDP under Tom Mulcair is surging.
Mulcair himself will be out west, rallying the troops in three B.C. centres: Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops.
The Green’s Elizabeth May in on the opposite coast, first in Halifax where she will be showing her support for postal workers and Canada Post, then in Charlottetown for a rally and another party event in the evening.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe will be making a seniors announcement in Varennes, Que.