The first question we asked each leader was for their “elevator pitch” to Canadian voters.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff:
"Vote Liberal for a moderate, centre-of-the-road government that respects the public service of Canada, respects what public servants do, won't raise your taxes, will get the deficit under control, will curb the waste and mismanagement of the Harper government, and do the one thing that we absolutely have to do, which is invest in the education of our young people, from early learning and childcare through the learning passport for people wanting to go to college and university.
"That's the short version – basically a government that focuses on the priorities of the Canadian family… I just think on Monday, Canadians have got to choose a government. They've got to choose someone who's actually been in government, actually done this. The NDP has never formed a federal government in the history of Canada. We've got a choice between a Liberal platform that's costed and makes sense, with a Liberal team that has experience, versus basically more years of Harper, which is debt, deficit and mismanagement. I think these choices are becoming clear to Canadians. I don't think that people regard the NDP as a serious party of government."
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper:
“We’re the party with the plan for the economy. Canada is coming out of the global recession faster and stronger than others. I think it’s due in large part to the economic policies we’ve put forward and I think they’re working. We have a low tax plan that is creating jobs, that is creating growth and everybody’s looking at Canada, frankly, as the envy of the world right now, and that’s the path we want to keep this country on.
The alternative, at this point, has become an NDP government with a very different path which would be massive, unaffordable spending promises to be financed by tax hikes that would stall our recovery and kill jobs and set Canadian families back. So, we think the country is on the right track economically and needs to stay the course. That’s the biggest single argument we’re making, and the other, of course, argument we’re making along the way here is that we need a Conservative majority government, and if you don’t get a Conservative majority government you’re not sure what you’re going to be getting. So, I don’t think Metro readers should take the risk of an NDP government with an economic plan that is not thought out.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton:
“Because Ottawa is broken and people in Ottawa get to see that up close and personal when they see the shenanigans in Parliament Hill, the contempt in Parliament, the bickering and attacks going back and forth - the divisive approach to politics that gets played out there and people want it fixed. They want the needs of their family at the forefront, issues like retirement security.
"You know that the Nortel workers know that more than anybody, but it’s a concern felt by many seniors or people concerned about their ultimate retirement, and there’s many people in the Ottawa-Gatineau regions who don’t have access to a family doctor. This is a real crisis that needs to be addressed and there’s still a lot of unemployment in the regions around Ottawa, and a plan to actually help create jobs through tax cuts to small businesses and a tax credit that we’ve proposed for every new job. These practical ideas will help address the issues that people want to be addressed. Our approach is so that we’ve got to bring change to Parliament Hill and we have the opportunity to do that on voting day.