Down to the wire, Conservative leader Stephen Harper made a short stop in Regina on Sunday.
A crowd of about 250 people, according to event organizers, crowded together on the tarmac at Regina’s airport, waving blue signs and wearing shirts provided for the occasion. Security was tight for the event; supporters had to leave their bags behind and go through pat down beforehand.
Harper was introduced by Conservative candidate for the Regina-Lewvan riding, Trent Fraser.
Harper spent about five minutes talking to his supporters, repeating the same message he has sent for the past few weeks – that the Conservatives are the only party who will keep your taxes low.
“Tomorrow all Canadians make a big decision, there is a lot at stake … We choose whether to protect our economy through a balanced budget, or return to the days of spending money we don’t have.”
Harper compared the Conservatives’ policy to the Liberals’, saying the Liberals would cost taxpayers a lot.
“Voting Conservative means no money comes out of the pockets of middle-class Canadians to pay for Liberal deficits and to pay for Liberal tax hikes,” he told supporters to a round of cheers.
Harper made only one direct mention of the NDP, though the most recent polls, including one from Mainstreet/Postmedia, put the NDP as the Conservatives’ main competition in Saskatchewan.
The Conservative leader also invoked the name of the only Prime Minister to come out of Saskatchewan.
“At the federal level, taxes are at their lowest level since John Diefenbaker was the Prime Minister, at their lowest level in over 50 years.”
Many of the supporters seemed excited and energized by the appearance after Harper headed back into the plane.
Edy Vatamaniuck thought it was great to see him.
“I like what he had to say. He’s very clear in his delivery, and it makes a lot of sense, and I like a lot of things he stands for.”
Julie Holstein said she came to the appearance because she thinks this is a very important election.
“We need to have stable government, we need a government that protects our government, and a government that cares about fiscal responsibility.”
As supporters left the event they had to walk past a group of protestors in the parking lot. About 30 to 40 people stood waving signs, including the orange ones bearing the “stop Harper” logo, and chanting and singing the “Harperman” song.
Tricia Martin was waving a sign. She said she came to see what Harper had to say, but wasn’t allowed into the event. She didn’t proclaim support for any specific party, just saying she wanted to stop Harper.
“I think that Canadians need to be strategic and vote for country and not party.”
She said she doesn’t like the divide he’s created in Canada.
“It’s a shame that we have rolled back our civil liberties, and that he is an affront to democracy based on how he goes about creating policy, and in this, Canada’s longest election campaign, he’s managed to divide the country quite well.”