Stephen Harper took his election campaign to a Victoria cul-de-sac Sunday, where the Conservative camp and media descended upon a suburban home.

The Conservative leader spent the morning making Easter baskets and decorating eggs with a group of children, and participated in an Easter egg hunt. Homeowner Rose Cowles runs a small artist studio out of the back of the house where she teaches children's arts classes.

Harper used the backdrop to talk about a children's arts tax credit first announced on the 2008 campaign trail and promised in the March 22 budget.


Stephen Harper and wife Laureen Harper help Ava de Souza find eggs during an Easter egg hunt in Royal Oak, B.C., Sunday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Harper is hoping to gain ground in B.C. on May 2, where several swing ridings could hold the key to a Conservative majority.

Following the Easter festivities, Harper took the crowd outside where he took questions from the media.

Harper again answered questions about the Conservatives' Vancouver South candidate, Wai Young, who came under fire for accepting an endorsement from Ripudaman Singh Malik, a local Sikh businessman linked to individuals convicted in the Air India bombings.

Harper said he stands by his candidate and her explanation that she simply did not know who Malik was when she accepted the endorsement. Young has since rejected Malik's endorsement.

Harper was also questioned about whether he can be trusted with a majority government. Harper said his record and sound handling of the economy prove he can be trusted. He did not address the question of whether Canadians can trust him, given that several campaign promises  — including a pledge not to run a deficit — have been broken.

NDP takes heat

The Conservative Leader attended a rally Saturday with Conservative candidate John Duncan in Campbell River, part of the Vancouver Island North riding.

Duncan re-took his former seat in the Vancouver Island riding in a tight race in 2008, defeating NDP incumbent Catherine Bell.

"We do know about the NDP around here. And we know better," Duncan told supporters at the rally.

Harper also blasted the New Democrats, criticizing party leader Jack Layton over the gun registry.

"Mr. Layton and his partners said no again to fee waivers because they support the long-gun registry," Harper said. "We don't need the long-gun registry and we don't need your taxes to pay for it."

The NDP has been taking heat from all sides as the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Québécois after a spate of polls suggested increasing support for it.

Mario Canseco, vice-president at Angus Reid Public Opinion, said he expects the apparent uptick in NDP support will be a major issue in the final week of the campaign.

"One of the main things that has happened over the past 48 hours, now we have Tory ads attacking the NDP," he said. "This is something that we never thought would be possible a few weeks ago."

The Conservatives held 21 of B.C.'s 36 seats heading into the election, while the NDP held nine and the Liberals held five. One seat was vacant.

Harper was set to make appearances in Victoria and Vancouver Sunday before heading back to Ontario.