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Turn the page on Harper and his 'goons': Ignatieff

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff greets the crowd at Drummondville, Que., on April 5, 2011.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Michael Ignatieff picked a local nursery in Drummondville to highlight his roots in the area and spread his message of Stephen Harper's undemocratic ways.

It was the smallest crowd so far to appear at a campaign rally, but it was the most fragrant and novel setting.

After managing to attract big, raucous crowds over the past two days in Halifax and St. John's, only about 200 people showed up at a popular local business, Rose Drummond, to hear the Liberal Leader, who spoke from a stage surrounded by orchids, bushes, flowers and exotic grasses.

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Mr. Ignatieff wasted no time calling out Mr. Harper for his campaign's treatment of a young woman who tried to attend a Conservative rally in London but was thrown out by "two big goons" because she has Liberal friends on Facebook.

"This is an amazing story. This is a 19-year-old girl who wants to go to a public meeting," he said, adding that she showed up, was put through an identity check and then sat down.

"Before the Prime Minister gets there, two big goons from the Conservative Party come and take her outside and they say you cannot come to the meeting because you have friends, Liberal friends."

Mr. Ignatieff asked if that was "Canadian", "democratic" or showing "respect for what is best about the country?"

"This little story I am telling you about tells you everything you need to know about Stephen Harper's approach to politics," Mr. Ignatieff said.

Earlier in the day, in Conception Bay, Nfld., Mr. Ignatieff again referred to the actions of the Conservatives in prohibiting the young woman from the meeting as "un-Canadian."

Throughout the campaign he has been hitting hard at the Conservatives for being undemocratic and not respecting Canadian institutions. This most recent incident adds to his narrative.

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"We have competitors in politics, we have adversaries in politics," Mr. Ignatieff said. "I sure want to win on the second of May and I want to win right. This vision of politics in which all is permitted, including violating the rights of a young Canadian ... tells you everything you want to know about why we must defeat Stephen Harper."

Later in his speech, Mr. Ignatieff told his audience that Quebeckers have an opportunity to make a change by changing the government.

He also spoke of his family and how came to this area of Quebec from England after fleeing Russia.

"This is my Canada," he said. "This is the part of the world where it all started again for a family of Russian refugees, who lost everything in the Russian revolutioin, came to England, it didn't work out, came here and started again, first as agricultural labourers, and then owning a farm. … This is where my family learned what Canadian hope looks like."

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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