Harper's final rally in Abbotsford
It was with a tone of urgency that Stephen Harper addressed the Fraser Valley's Conservative faithful on Sunday night, the night before Monday's general election, at the Cascade Aerospace hangar.
"This election is an enormous risk to this country," he said.
"Every riding is in play, every vote counts."
He was speaking to one of the biggest partisans crowds of the campaign.
"Welcome to the largest rally in this entire election campaign, in the province of British Columbia," said Port Moody West MP James Moore as he took the microphone to address the crowd which was estimated at well over 2,000.
He introduced the many Conservative candidates who took part, from Richmond and Vancouver East to Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon candidate Mark Strahl. The crowd took up a corner of the 230,000 square foot hangar, surrounded by Hercules aircraft and their components. The space for the Rally in the Valley was decorated with election signs for the many candidates present, Conservative balloons, with a massive Canadian flag as the backdrop. Many in the crowd carried Harper signs.
Abbotsford incument Ed Fast introduced Harper with descriptions ranging from "a steady hand", "basketball dad" and even "hockey fan."
Harper took the stage, and called the rally "maybe the biggest of the election."
"We must work friends, hard, until the end. We must get the vote out," he said.
His speech touched on crime, soveriegnty and the economy; and the words he pounded home were "stable Conservative majority government."
The NDP were in his sights, and Harper relegated the Liberals to also-rans.
"The best Mr. Ignatieff can now hope for is to be a packseat passenger in an NDP government," he said.
He spoke about B.C.'s "lost decade" in the 1990s under a provincial NDP government, when he said jobs and people left the province in droves, and warned against electing a federal NDP government that would raise taxes and ruin the economy.
He predicted NDP policies would raise gas prices by as much as 18 cents per litre.
Get past the NDP "smiles," "folksy talk" and "grandiose ideas," look at their platform, and their spending would be 10 times the Conservatives' predicted Harper.
"The choice in this election, as it's gone along, has become increasingly stark."
And he also appealed to traditional Liberal voters, urging them to vote Conservative rather than give support to the NDP.
It was Harper's final rally of the campaign, and after his 35-minute speech he remained for several more minutes, greeting many supporters who wanted shake his hand.