The rise of the NDP in Quebec is forcing Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe to take a much stronger line against Jack Layton:
The NDP’s newfound status proved jarring enough for Duceppe to make a strident, emotional appeal to his base Saturday:
“This election is a battle between… Canada and Quebec,” said a message Saturday from the Bloc leader’s Twitter account.
He later erased that note and replaced it with a toned-down appeal for all sovereigntists to back his party. The message is a clear departure from previous campaigns that saw Duceppe work to broaden his appeal beyond sovereigntist voters.
“This election is not a left-right battle, but a battle between federalists and sovereigntists,” said the later message from Duceppe’s account. “Between the parties of the Canadian majority and Quebec.”
There are even anti-NDP attack ads, including a new one from the Liberals featuring a yellow traffic light and the message, “Not so fast, Jack.”
The Liberals have been forced to pay more attention to the NDP than they had planned, especially with the parties in a statistical tie in the latest polls. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was even booed loudly at at hockey game last night, which has only been lightly mentioned in the media. His low personal popularity is starting to be seen as a big reason for the Liberals’ plight in the polls — although it can’t be the only reason.
The NDP’s financial promises are one area the Liberals can safely attack:
The Liberals are pointing out a series of alleged exaggerations in the NDP platform, saying the promises are based on invented revenues like a supposed $3.6 billion that would come in the first year of a climate cap-and-trade system. The Liberals call it, “fantasy money.”
The Liberals also heaped ridicule on the NDP promise to hire 1,200 new doctors and 6,000 nurses for the bargain-basement rate of $25 million.
They said the NDP promise to save $2 billion by slashing subsidies to the oil sands overstates the possible savings by four times, and that the math is similarly wonky on the NDP’s pledge to crack down on foreign tax havens.
“It’s time to take a close look at what Jack Layton’s saying to the Canadian people. The numbers add up and up and up,” Ignatieff said.
“Mr. Layton has got a platform that when you look at it closely has . . . $30 billion of spending, which we think is not going to be good for the economy and he derives it from sources we just don’t think are credible.
“He’s got a cap-and-trade system that’s going to deliver $3.5 billion in the first year. We don’t even have a cap and trade system. It’s science fiction.”