The campaign trail features plenty of mud-slinging, some of it more valid than others. We asked each of the leaders to respond to the sharpest barb.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
"You have been outside of Canada for a number of years and shouldn't be trusted."
"I think the fact that I've lived outside the country is a reason to trust me more. I've got international experience. (Stephen Harper) is a Prime Minister who lost our seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. This is the Prime Minister who presided over the decline in our international prestige.
"And what is he saying here? The only good Canadian is the Canadian who's never left the country. That doesn't sound right to me. A Canadian is a Canadian. I'm proud of what I did overseas and I'm proud I've come back to serve."
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
"You don’t respect democracy."
“Well, I think the people who are out office always say it’s undemocratic. We’ve received two mandates from the Canadian population. We hope to receive a third and we’ll accept whatever the democratic judgment of Canadians is.
"I think we’re in this election, to a significant extent, because the other parties have simply refused to accept the democratic judgment of Canadians and are forcing election after election after election, and we’ve had four elections in seven years. If we do not have a Conservative majority government, whatever the other scenarios are, they all lead to a fifth election in the not very distant future.
"So, this is, I think, why Canada needs a stable, majority Conservative government. So we deal with the real
issues -- not those kinds of issues, which, all these parliamentary manoeuvres, which frankly, I think, turn the public off -- and instead, the Parliament focuses on the economy and the real concerns of Canadians.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton
"You can’t be trusted with Canada’s economy."
“First, I think the old line parties have lost the trust of Canadians and they’re asking themselves, who can they trust to be on their sides to focus on the issues that concern our families, and when it comes to
offering good balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, the party that (when) in power has shown itself to have the best record is the NDP.
"That was a study done by the finance department and there very good current examples: the NDP government in Manitoba with nine balanced budgets in a row, and the recent budget just approved in the House of Assembly in Nova Scotia with the surplus, again, another NDP government. So we have a lot of experience in addressing these kinds of issues. In fact, when you go to Saskatchewan, they’ll tell you it’s the Conservatives who leave the finances in a mess.”