Conservative Leader Stephen Harper attends a campaign event at William F. White International in Etobicoke

Harper puts cash on table in stop Trudeau bid

Harper's putting cash on table as Conservatives bid to stall Liberal momentum

  • Oct. 13, 2015 4:00 p.m.

By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is literally putting cash on the table in an effort to halt the momentum of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the closing days of the federal election campaign.

With just five days of campaigning left before Canadians go to the polls next Monday, the Conservatives have twice staged low-tech stunts designed to illustrate how much they say Liberal tax changes will cost voters as Harper attempts to pick apart the Liberal platform.

The prime minister played the role of game show host again Tuesday at a partisan rally in west-end Toronto, calling out Liberal tax increases as a pizza store owner counted bills onto a table to the backdrop of a loudly ringing cash register.

“The tax hikes the Liberals talk about, they are not just numbers in a pamphlet,” said Harper, without jacket or tie and with his blue shirt sleeves rolled up.

“They are real dollars and I want to show you again today what the payroll tax hikes look like.”

Conservative party videographers took tight shots as pizza store owner Dino Ari laid bills on a table to repeated “ka-chings” from a cash register.

“Hand it over, Dino,” Harper coached. “I hope you counted that carefully.”

The Conservatives staged a similar display on the Thanksgiving weekend and the stunt appears destined for party advertising in the final moments of this extraordinary 78-day campaign, the longest in modern Canadian history.

All three major party leaders were in the greater Toronto area on Tuesday morning as polls continue to suggest an electorate in flux and swathes of seat-rich Ontario up for grabs.

There’s also compelling evidence of a motivated electorate.

An estimated 1.2 million voters cast ballots in advance polls Monday, according to Elections Canada, bringing the four-day holiday weekend total to more than 3.6 million ballots cast. That’s an increase of 71 per cent over advance ballots in the 2011 election, when only three days of advance polls were held.

Antipathy to Harper’s Conservatives appears to be the only unifying element among the various challengers to the throne.

“I got into politics because I disagreed deeply with the vision that Stephen Harper has for this country and there is no circumstances in which I could either support him or even stand back and allow him to be prime minister,” Trudeau said when asked about a potential minority Conservative government.

The Liberal leader, who ventured into an NDP-held riding in Toronto, appears to be trying to peel off voters from both the New Democrats and Tories, while hoping to win over strategic voters who might see an incumbent NDP MP as the best vehicle for removing Harper from office.

“You do have a choice — multiple choices,” Trudeau said. “I won’t pretend that you don’t.

“To suggest otherwise would be arrogant and an insult to your intelligence, so I’m not asking you to look at the polls. I’m asking you to look at our platform.”

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, framed by a crowd of partisans waving orange, octagonal “Stop Harper” signs, spoke to a rally in Oshawa, Ont., just east of Toronto. He continued to maintain that New Democrats are only a few dozen seats short of unseating the Conservatives — notwithstanding that every party starts with zero seats when Parliament is dissolved and a new general election campaign begins.

“Mr. Trudeau in this campaign has spent more time going after the NDP than he’s spent going after Stephen Harper,” Mulcair charged. “I challenge Mr. Trudeau to start taking on Stephen Harper.”

Even Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe is predicting a swift end to Conservative rule in the event the Tories can’t eke out a majority in the newly expanded 338-seat House of Commons.

“Stephen Harper will not be prime minister even if he finishes with the most seats in a minority Parliament,” Duceppe said during a campaign stop in Granby, Que.

Harper, who spent the 2011 election campaign warning repeatedly about a potential, unstable coalition government if he couldn’t secure a majority, is refusing to speculate on any such outcome this time.

With no potential dance partners after Oct. 19, Harper is counting on rallying his core support.

The Conservative leader visited the highly symbolic Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, where former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff lost his seat in 2011 en route to the worst Liberal electoral drubbing in party history.

Etobicoke is also Ford country, as in the well-known Toronto city councillors Rob and Doug Ford, both of whom were in attendance for Harper’s morning rally, where they were introduced as “two great sons of Etobicoke Centre.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Person in serious condition after potential drowning in Abbotsford

Individual airlifted after incident at a home on Tuesday afternoon

Gangster Jarrod Bacon released from prison for third time

Parole board continues to express concerns about Bacon’s behaviour

UPDATE: Charges laid after boy, 7, allegedly abducted by mom in Abbotsford

Child returned to dad in Langley, charges now laid against mom and partner

Drive-Thru Safari a success for Abbotsford Agrifair

Organizers state that over 1,250 vehicles took in the event over the weekend

Banter ice cream shop arrives in Abbotsford

Jubilee Park location has proven popular for new establishment

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

UPDATE: Man injured in targeted shooting in Maple Ridge

Shots fired from one vehicle into a white Hyundai

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Most Read