OTTAWA — A look at key developments Wednesday on the campaign trail:
1. Stephen Harper offered a public vote of confidence in his chief of staff Ray Novak.
He brushed off testimony from the Mike Duffy trial earlier in the week that suggested Novak knew of a plan to have Duffy repay questioned expenses with a cheque from Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright. Harper’s main opponents, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, said the testimony strikes at the issue of integrity in Harper’s office.
2. Conservatives promise to increase adoption expense tax credit.
The prime minister campaigned in a community north of Toronto, where he promised to expand the 15 per cent non-refundable adoption expense tax credit and make it fully refundable. He said a re-elected Conservative government would increase the credit to $20,000 from $15,000. Harper has been trying —in vain, for the most part — to move away from the Duffy fallout that has dogged his campaign, preferring instead to promote his party’s bread-and-butter campaign promises on growing the economy, helping families and keeping the streets safe. After his morning announcement, Harper flew across the country for an event on Vancouver Island.
3. Tom Mulcair touts child care plan.
The NDP leader was in Vancouver, where he promoted his plan for $15-a-day child care in a region where costs for day care space are among the highest in the country. Mulcair said his plan will ease the burden on women who often have to choose between their careers and their children. He said his plan would provide more than 110,000 affordable child-care spaces in British Columbia. He took his campaign on to Winnipeg later in the day.
4. Justin Trudeau promised to improve EI compassionate care benefits.
The Liberal leader, also in B.C., said his government would make it easier to qualify and would allow the six-month benefit to be spread in blocks across the year. The plan would cost $190 million a year, but wouldn’t mean higher EI payments, he said.
5. Green party Leader Elizabeth May held private meetings in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.