In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives recently passed Bill C-51. You’ve probably heard about it but if not, here’s the summary. It grants Canada’s spy agencies new enforcement powers to act upon data they’ve collected by monitoring your phone calls, text messages and your interactions on social media. The reason for this is they want to protect you from a terrorist attack – or arrest you if they suspect you are a terrorist. It would dismantle much of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was ratified by former Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau and grants Canadians the privacy and freedom of speech they have today.
With an election just months away, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided to abandon the traditional all-broadcasters debate hosted by the nation’s major broadcasters and for the first time will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The Liberals, NDP, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois have all agreed to participate but the Conservatives refuse to even negotiate.
Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson won’t probe potential conflicts of interest in Conservative candidate Peter Penashue’s campaign in Labrador after Green Party leader Elizabeth May launched a complaint. Penashue stepped down as Harper’s cabinet minister after acknowledging his campaign accepted illegal campaign donations in the 2011 election campaign. Meanwhile polling trends appear set to give Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones a landslide victory in the riding with over 60% of the popular vote.