Postmedia News takes a look back at some of the highlights â€” and lowlights â€” of the federal election campaign.
Created by chrisjai on Apr 12, 2011
Last updated: 05/05/11 at 01:56 PM
Tags: Timeline Election Non-confindence vote Stephen Harper Michael Ignatieff Jack Layton Gilles Duceppe Elizabeth May NDP Conservatives Tories Liberals Green Bloc Bloc Quebecois
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The Liberal party vows to rebuild.
Gilles Duceppe, having lost his own seat, resigns as BQ leader the night of the elections.
Michael Ignatieff, who also lost his own seat, resigns as Liberal leader on May 3rd.
Voters go to the polls. #tweettheresults, a campaign to flout Canadaâ€™s election law banning the transmission of results before the polls close on the west coast, is the top-trending topic on Twitter.
Saying voters â€śchose hope,â€ť Stephen Harper finally achieves his long-sought majority government.
The NDP celebrates a historic success, becoming the Official Opposition for the first time, as the Liberals are reduced to third-party status for the first time and the BQ is nearly wiped out.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May becomes her partyâ€™s first elected MP.
Michael Ignatieff says he wants to remain Liberal leader not matter what the result of the election is.
Duceppeâ€™s campaign day gets off to a bad start: In addition to a royal wedding overshadowing election news, a letter comes out from former members of his Bloc Quebecois, urging Quebecers to vote NDP on May 2. But the salt in the wound may be the media bus Duceppe rented for the Gatineau leg of his tour: It was orange â€” the New Democratsâ€™ colour â€” and bore Ontario licence plates to boot.
Quebec turns into a battleground for both Harper and Ignatieff. Harper used his final Friday campaign on a whistle-stop tour to four ridings in Quebec and Ontario in an attempt to sway voters in large cities away from the NDP. He reminds voters about his partyâ€™s focus on low taxation.
Also in Quebec, Ignatieff insists recent polls that have cast him in third place behind the Tories and the NDP arenâ€™t concerning, suggesting Canadians should wait to the â€śfinal sirenâ€ť before tallying the score. Ignatieffâ€™s push through the final stretch of the campaign includes stops through southwestern Ontario and the Toronto area.
The campaign is swept by controversy after a report that Jack Layton was caught in what police say was a bawdy house while he was a Toronto city councillor.
No charges were ever laid.
Ignatieff unveils new ads that make a direct plea to Quebec voters, telling them an election isnâ€™t a popularity contest. He asks them to rally behind his team to defeat the Conservatives. In Quebec City, Ignatieff says candidates in the province should speak French and English fluently.
Layton makes his first stop in the Northwest Territories where he accidentally tells supporters in Yellowknife that he was "here for Northern Ontario" instead of Northern Canada.
Harper warns Canadians of a "band of opponents" led by the NDP, a movement that would result in hikes in taxes and on consumersâ€™ pocketbooks if they ever take power.
At a campaign stop in Niagara Falls, Ont., he says a re-elected Conservative government would press forward with Canada-U.S. negotiations to create a joint agreement on perimeter security.
Layton shies away from the campaign spotlight by limiting his media availability, potentially to avoid last-minute missteps.
Harper ramps up his attack on the NDP, saying that partyâ€™s growing popularity â€śclarifiesâ€ť the choice facing Canadians: A Tory majority that would focus on the economy; or a now Layton-led coalition government.
Ignatieff pens an open letter to Quebecers, which runs in many of the provinceâ€™s newspapers, asking them to choose a government â€śrespectful of your identity and your cultureâ€ť by voting Liberal.
A key Conservative strategist leaves Stephen Harperâ€™s election team following accusations from Sun Media that Patrick Muttart used the news agency as a pawn in a Tory plot to â€śseriously damage Michael Ignatieffâ€™s campaign.â€ť
Layton, campaigning in Montreal, says Quebecâ€™s absence from the Constitution â€ścanâ€™t go on forever,â€ť but he wonâ€™t reopen that debate just yet.
Harper jumps on Laytonâ€™s comment, saying Canadians donâ€™t want â€śan unstable government that is going to spend time arguingâ€ť about the Constitution. Ignatieff agrees.
Duceppe tells an interviewer he has no plans to quit if his party finishes behind the NDP.
Duceppe, facing a still-surging NDP in Quebec, gets campaign help from former PQ premier Jacques Parizeau.
The well-known sovereigntist urges his partyâ€™s supporters to get out the vote for the Bloc Quebecois on May 2.
Harper vows to press ahead with Senate reform if he wins a majority.
A string of vandalism plaguing the campaign trail, largely in Toronto, is condemned by the federal leaders.
Duceppe issues a rallying call to the provinceâ€™s sovereigntists, telling them now is the time for an independent Quebec.
Close to 2,000 supporters cheer Layton at an NDP rally in downtown Montreal â€” the biggest turnout for any such New Democrat event in Quebecâ€™s history.
Harper suggests the New Democrats would hinder Canadaâ€™s economic recovery with higher taxes.
The Liberals release a new attack ad targeting Layton.
A poll conducted for Postmedia News shows the Tories making inroads in a demographic that traditionally, has been tough for them: 37 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 polled said they would vote for the Conservative candidate in their riding.
Layton leaps to second place in polls, and is suddenly the subject of attack ads from all sides.
And in an interview with Postmedia News, Ignatieff says he still has time to convince Canadians his is the party best-suited to govern Canada.
Layton may have noticed the limelight shining more prominently on his party.
Following the release of results from several polls, including one conducted for Postmedia News and Global National, which suggest his partyâ€™s support is surging, particularly in Quebec, the NDP leader is suddenly the subject of attack ads from all sides.
New polling indicates the NDPâ€™s popularity is continuing to surge, as the party takes over first place in Quebec from the Bloc.
Ignatieff says Quebecers are "experimentingâ€ť about how to replace the Conservative government, but he argues that his party would be the clear choice at the end of the day â€” the Liberals are the only party that could form a government to build a new link to replace the Champlain Bridge, defend the long-gun registry, help students get a college education or families get daycare spaces.
The Conservatives go into damage control over the contentious abortion debate after a Saskatchewan Tory MP suggests funding has been cut off to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, an organization that provides family-planning services around the world.
Harperâ€™s chief spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, says no decision on funding renewal has been made, dismissing incumbent MP Brad Trost as a â€śbackbencher.â€ť
The Greensâ€™ Elizabeth May thanks a supporter who posted a love song to her on YouTube.
Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe demands Harper explain what his chief spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, was doing speaking to the board of the Montreal Port Authority about appointing a new president after a media report suggests interference.
Deja vu hits the campaign as the word â€ścoalitionâ€ť echoes from coast to coast again. Harper ramps up the anti-coalition talk after Ignatieff tells the CBC he would not form a formal coalition, but he still believes one is perfectly legitimate and democratic.
Harper accuses the Liberals of knowingly misquoting him in a campaign attack ad about health care. The Liberals fix â€” but donâ€™t pull â€” the ad.
Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois rekindle discussion of sovereignty as the PQ meets at its convention in Quebec City.
Duceppe says with a strong Bloc in Ottawa and a PQ government in Quebec, â€śeverything becomes possible.â€ť
Harper uses the prospect of a divided Canada as another reason to argue for a majority mandate on May 2.
Elizabeth May attends a rally in Vancouver before beginning a three-day whistle stop tour of Western Canada.
The Bloc Quebecois receives the support of the Canadian Auto Workersâ€™ Quebec division, a union representing 20,000 workers in the province.
Michael Ignatieff, spending the day with former prime minister Paul Martin, fires back at the Tories for their approach to health care over the last five years while in government.
Stephen Harper, on the other hand, blasts the Grits during a visit to Vancouver for the â€śshamefulâ€ť cuts they made to health care in the 1990s.
Former Tory MP Helena Guergis holds a news conference to address media reports a day earlier over allegations linked to her ouster from the Conservative caucus. She lashes out at her former colleagues, accusing the party of engaging in a â€śdestructive campaignâ€ť against her.
Stephen Harper says she still wonâ€™t be welcomed back to the party.
The ballots cast at a special University of Guelph voting station are valid and will be counted, Elections Canada said Friday, in response to the Conservative party's attempt to have the votes nullified.
The Conservative party on Thursday asked Elections Canada to void the votes cast during a one-day special ballot at the Ontario university earlier this week, saying the polling station was illegal and unauthorized.
More scandals plague the campaign trail as Michael Ignatieff gets heat for an interview with a Sikh radio host who once condoned the beating of Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh and appeared sympathetic to the assassins of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Stephen Harper finds himself in a controversy of his own, with allegations surfacing about a Conservative candidate having ties to the terrorist organization, Tamil Tigers. The candidate, Gavan Paranchothy, flatly rejects the claims.
A Conservative email surfaces asking supporters to wear â€śnational folklore costumesâ€ť for a Stephen Harper campaign stop.
The email, signed by Zeljko Zidaric of the Ted Opitz campaign team, was looking for volunteers to sit in the front row behind Conservative leader Stephen Harper at an event in Etobicoke, in the west of Toronto, Thursday night.
Michael Ignatieff jumps on the memo, saying â€śCanada isnâ€™t Disneylandâ€ť and ethnic garb isnâ€™t a costume.
A Green Party candidate in Surrey, B.C., resigns over an inappropriate comment made on Facebook. Alan Saldanha had listed as one of his favourite quotes: â€śIf rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!â€ť
The French-language leaders debate is held. The first issue brought to the table is whether a coalition government could work.
Stephen Harper focuses on the economy during the leaders debate, saying â€śwe didnâ€™t want more elections.â€ť
Muguette Paille, a 53-year-old woman from central Quebec, steals the show at the leaders debate after asking a question on her efforts to find employment, and the issue of job creation. Her name goes viral on Twitter after the leaders pepper their answers with reference to â€śMme Paille.â€ť
The auditor general's office has launched a probe into how draft G8 and G20 summit spending reports were leaked to the media this week.
The leaks â€” which set off a political firestorm just ahead of the first federal leaders debate â€” suggest the Harper government did not act "clearly" and "transparently" when it sought permission from Parliament to spend $50 million on a G8 summit fund that supported several dubious projects last year in a Conservative-held Ontario riding.
Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe go head-to-head in the leaders debate on the issue of corporate tax cuts, with the Bloc leader criticizing Harper for his support of Ontarioâ€™s auto industry â€” at the expense of the Quebec forestry.
Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper spar in the leaders debate over whether a minority government could work. Harper says without a majority, there would be more elections to come. Ignatieff counters, saying that Harper hasnâ€™t â€śearnedâ€ť a majority because of his disrespect for democracy.
In a high moment for NDP leader Jack Layton during the leaders debate, he presses Michael Ignatieff on his less-than-perfect attendance record in the House of Commons.
A bombshell drops on the campaign as a leaked copy of the auditor generalâ€™s report surfaces, suggesting the Conservative government misinformed Parliament when it sought approval for a $50-million â€ślegacy infrastructure fundâ€ť for last yearâ€™s G8 summit.
All party leaders call for the full release of the G8 spending report, saying the final findings should come out before Tuesdayâ€™s debate. Auditor General Sheila Fraser refuses, saying she can only table the report while Parliament is sitting.
Gilles Duceppe formally requests that the French-language televised leaders debate set for Thursday be changed to Wednesday â€” and the organizing consortium agrees â€” after the NHL schedule shows the Montreal Canadiens are to play their first NHL playoff game against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
If elected, the New Democrats would balance the budget within four years and focus first on creating more jobs, strengthening the public pension and hiring more doctors and nurses, leader Jack Layton unveiled in his partyâ€™s platform Sunday.
The plan, titled â€śGiving Your Family A Break: Practical First Steps,â€ť also promises to limit household expenses and fix Parliament by spending $8.9 billion in expenditures in 2011/12.
The platform is the last to be released by the major political leaders since the election campaign kicked off two weeks ago.
NDP leader Jack Layton unveils a Canada-first defence policy in Esquimalt, B.C., home of the Canadian Navy on the West Coast.
He says the armed forces should focus on protecting the country, assisting people when disaster strikes and supporting global peacekeeping.
The Conservative party releases its platform in Mississauga, Ont., vowing to balance the budget a year earlier than expected and taking aim at what it calls its â€śsoft-on-crimeâ€ť opponents.
The Tories say they would bundle all unpassed crime bills into at least one bill, to be pushed through Parliament within 100 days â€” if they win a majority.
Green party leader Elizabeth May unveiled her party's platform Thursday, full of promises to create more jobs by addressing climate change, reducing the national deficit quicker than other parties and reforming the Canadian electoral system.
Harper apologizes to those kept out of the Conservative rallies in recent days. The party starts letting young voters in its event as â€śvote mobsâ€ť â€” groups gathering en masse in a bid to bring attention to the youth vote â€” begin to spring up at Canadian universities.
The NDP surges in Quebec, passing the Liberals and Tories in support, according to one poll. Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, whose party is leading, declines comment.