Harper takes swing at N.L. premier's 'ABC' campaign

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper replied Saturday to the anti-Tory campaign being run by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

'No one can tell Newfoundlanders and Labradorians how to vote'

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper replied Saturday to the anti-Tory campaign being run by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

Williams, a Progressive Conservative, has been attacking Harper for a 2006 change in party policy that adjusted the federal equalization formula, a change that cost the province billions, the premier has said.

The premier has been encouraging residents to vote ABC — "anything but Conservative."

On Saturday, Harper made his first election visit to the province, and said: "No one can tell a Newfoundlander and Labradorian how to vote."

He also characterized the dispute as a personality fight, and said voting is "about your own best interests."

Earlier Saturday, he pointed out Williams has a history of fighting with Ottawa.

"Premier Williams didn't like the last government. He doesn't like this government. And I don't think he'll like the next government, whoever that would be."

Harper visited the Avalon riding of Conservative incumbent Fabian Manning.

Jack Swinimer, a longtime Conservative, picketed the meeting but said he wasn't there because of Williams's campaign. "I'm here because I perceive that an injustice was done to Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.

The Tories hold three of the province's seven seats, but two Conservative MPs have decided not to run again.