Week One - Macleans.ca

Week One

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This is the week that was.

Stephen Harper went to Rideau Hall and warned the nation about what would happen if he wasn’t reelected. Michael Ignatieff explained the rules of our democracy and stepped out into the sun.

The leaders stumped. Jack Layton rallied in Dartmouth, Mr. Ignatieff rallied in Ottawa and Mr. Harper rallied in Brampton. Mr. Ignatieff bought some bagels and the Liberals got excited. Mr. Layton sold some blenders. Mr. Harper squabbled with reporters inside the bubble and Mr. Ignatieff promised more access. Reporters onboard the Conservative campaign were told to stop asking Mr. Harper about any of the candidates running for his party. Other reporters compared Mr. Harper to his previous self, while Mr. Harper tried and tried and tried to explain himself (only to be raise more questions).

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Mr. Harper mused of debating Mr. Ignatieff. Mr. Ignatieff offered to do so and Mr. Harper changed his mind. Mr. Ignatieff put his challenge in writing. After some consternation, the broadcast consortium settled on two debates with four leaders. Rick Mercer (among othersoffered to host a debate between Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Ignatieff accepted.

Mr. Harper said no to tomorrow and Canadians said yes to a coalition. Gilles Duceppe remembered the summer of 2004. The former Liberal candidate in Vaughan defected. The New Democrat candidate in Elgin-Middlesex-London defected and the Conservatives pounced. Cheryl Gallant compared Mr. Ignatieff to Ghaddafi.

Mr. Ignatieff promised student aidpension reformchild care and family care.

Mr. Harper promised income splitting for families with children (in five years), help for small businesses and an end to the per vote subsidy.

Mr. Layton promised help for small businesses, a cap on credit card fees, more doctors and nurses, help for veterans and an end to oil subsidies.

I posed two questions for Mr. Harper and dug up what Mr. Layton wrote in 2006. Terry Milewski dug up what Mr. Harper wrote in 1997. Susan Delacourt reflected on campaigns past.

And finally, perhaps most important, an astronaut told us the secret to preventing motion sickness.