Federal election 2015: Key developments from Aug. 19

On the trail: Talk of small businesses, flexible hours, police and safety, supervised drug-injection sites


1. Pointed questions about Duffy

Queries to Stephen Harper about the Mike Duffy affair became more pointed Wednesday, as revelations from Duffy’s fraud trial more closely linked Ray Novak, his current chief of staff, to a $90,000 payment to Duffy in 2013. During former chief of staff Nigel Wright’s six days of testimony it emerged that Novak was informed about Wright’s plan to repay Duffy’s expenses. Both NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suggested it’s unlikely Harper himself was in the dark. But Harper maintained Wednesday that only two people are responsible for wrongdoing — Duffy over his Senate expense claims and Wright for paying them.

2. Conservatives tout plan for small businesses

Harper touted his government’s plan for small businesses, saying his record is solid in lowering taxes for them. He said a re-elected Conservative government would launch a new round of cross-country consultations on cutting red tape for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Harper held two events Wednesday in only one of four London, Ont., ridings that aren’t held by the Conservatives. The party is keen to pick up London-Fanshawe, which is currently held by the NDP’s Irene Mathyssen.

3. Mulcair promises to boost crime fighting

Mulcair went to Surrey, B.C., a community hard hit by gun violence in recent months, to promise he would raise the number of front-line police officers across the country by 2,500. He said an NDP government would invest $250 million over four years in police recruitment. That would be followed by $100 million in annual, ongoing funding. More than 30 shootings have rocked the fast-growing, Metro Vancouver community since March.

4. Trudeau touts flexible hours for Canadians

The Liberals said they would amend the Canada Labour Code to enshrine in law the right for employees to ask their bosses for flexible hours, as well as the ability to work from home. However there is nothing in the Liberal plan that would require employers to grant the request. But Trudeau said a similar plan in the United Kingdom has shown that about 80 per cent of requests from employees for changes in work hours are eventually granted.

5. Gilles Duceppe appeals for supervised drug-injection sites

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe accused Ottawa of blocking efforts to get supervised drug-injection sites in Quebec. Duceppe described it as “a rare occasion where there’s unanimity in Quebec” — against Ottawa and what he called its repressive approach. He called on Health Canada to “get out of the way” and grant Quebec an exemption.

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