Stephen Harper Kicks Off Campaign In Montreal

Protesters Try to Block Harper’s Campaign Bus

Prime Minister Stephen Harper began his election campaign Sunday evening in Montreal’s Mount-Royal riding, a liberal stronghold since 1940. It was reported days earlier that Harper would follow up his election call with a stop in Montreal, which doesn’t have a single elected Conservative MP.

In anticipation of the Prime Minister’s visit, dozens of protesters arrived hours in advance at the venue, the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre. Many carried signs decrying Harper’s policies, and some attempted to block the passage of a Harper campaign bus. One protester was arrested for allegedly uttering threats during the protest, while another protester from the group FEMEN was detained after gaining access to the venue.

At about 6 p.m., Conservative candidates began speaking in front of hundreds of party supporters, trumpeting Harper’s political track record, and criticizing the NDP and Liberal parties as unreliable. Conservative MP Denis Lebel took time to appeal to Quebec’s nationalist pride, and urged voters across the province to rally behind the party.

When the Prime Minister entered the hall, the assembled crowd greeted him loudly and enthusiastically. Harper played to his Montreal base by talking about investments in the city’s infrastructure, including the Grand-Prix, the Quartier des Spectacles, and the new National Film Board offices.

The Prime Minister also touted his national security agenda, and Canada’s role on the international stage, pointing to the increase in free trade agreements under his leadership.

With an election date set for Oct. 19, this event marked the start of what will be the longest election campaign in Canada since 1872.

Video by Matt D’Amours

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