Canada election 2015: What day 1 tells us about the parties' campaigns
The five major federal leaders chose different locations, backdrops and core messages for their opening statements of the first day of the 2015 election campaign — and their choices say something about the style of campaign they plan to wage.
Here's a brief round up of the leaders' first look on day one of the campaign, in order of appearance:
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair
National Museum of Canadian History, Gatineau, Que.
Optics: Majestic view of Parliament Hill from across the River in Gatineau, Que. No supporters, no theme music, he skipped the typical campaign spectacle and tried to speak directly to Canadians. Same spot the party's late leader, Jack Layton, used in the last election.
Key quote: "Our plan is built on enduring Canadian values, hard work, living within your means, accountability and an unwavering commitment to focus on the government's priorities on helping you get ahead."
What it says about the campaign: Many polls have the Conservatives and NDP running neck and neck. Mulcair tried to look prime ministerial and present himself as an alternative to Stephen Harper, while trying to frame this as a two-party race.
Took Questions: No
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
Mary Winspear Community Cultural Centre, Sidney, B.C.
Optics: When the Prime Minister visited Rideau Hall, it was still early morning on Vancouver Island, where Elizabeth May kicked off her campaign flanked by 10 other candidates in front of a small group of very enthusiastic supporters in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Key quote: "We need to think like a country again, we need a diversified economy, we need to respect our institutions."
What It says about the campaign: As with recent elections, the Green Party is trying to get Canadians to give them a solid look. By appearing with other B.C. candidates, May tried to illustrate there is depth to her party, that she is not only viable candidate for the Greens.
Took Questions: Yes
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe
BQ headquarters, Montreal
Optics: An office. Several Bloc Quebecois candidates behind him, including Mario Beaulieu, whom he replaced as leader.
Key quote: (Asked how his message would be different this time around): "I think it's fundamentally, essentially of the same nature: Make Quebec a country. Defend Quebec's interests."
What it says about the campaign: Not trying very hard. Compared to the more interesting optics of Duceppe's recent bike tour of Quebec, this was a pretty sedate event. Duceppe isn't offering much new. Once again he's trying to convince Quebecers that the other parties don't represent their interests.
Took questions: Yes.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
Olympic Cauldron, Vancouver
Optics: Mountain ranges behind him, surrounded by a several dozen candidates. Trudeau's election launch speech happened 4 hours after Harper visited the Governor General.
Key quote: "I'm glad to be here today. Here in Vancouver. Because B.C. matters, like every corner to the country, and getting outside the Ottawa bubble is extremely important to Canadians. And second of all, I made a promise to the half a million British Columbians who will be celebrating pride this afternoon — celebrating Canada's diversity — and I'll tell you something: No one's going to get me to break my word, particularly not Stephen Harper."
What it says about the campaign: Trudeau is trying to make the point that he's different, to set himself apart from his biggest competitors and convince Canadians he's the candidate that best represents change. However, his decision Sunday came at a cost: he missed out on a bit of the spotlight when all the other parties were launching their campaigns.
Took questions: Yes.