Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/4/2011 (3822 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seeking to allay concerns about what he would do with a majority, pledging Monday he has no secret agenda to ban abortions or same-sex marriage.
The spectre of a 'secret agenda' arose in the campaign after a poll showed the Conservatives opening up a 14-point lead over the Liberals and as the prime minister called for the abolition of the long-gun registry.
The polls don't all put Harper within touch of a majority. A Canadian Press-Harris Decima survey released later in the afternoon suggested the gap was a mere seven points, with the Conservatives leading the Liberals 35 per cent to 28 per cent. That is almost identical to the vote results in the last election.
But the campaign tactics adopted by the Tories suggest their brain trust believes a majority is attainable this time, after two failed tries.
As he did throughout most of the first week, Harper found himself in enemy territory on Monday, this time trying to pick off Malcolm Allen's NDP seat in the Ontario riding of Welland.
Allen is believed vulnerable as one of six New Democrats who initially backed a Tory private member's bill to kill the gun registry, then switched sides. The bill was rejected by the slimmest of margins and Harper made it clear the next vote will be on a government measure if he wins a majority.
"Abolishing the long-gun registry is a position of the Conservative party held by every single member of the caucus," he said.
Asked by a reporter if that meant he might revive other issues that are hot buttons for many in his party, including abortion rights and same-sex marriage, Harper said he has no intention of doing so.
He said he would govern with a majority the same way he would with a minority.
"We will govern on the platform we are elected on," he said.
"On the other matters you mention (abortion and gay marriage), they are not in the Conservative platform. I have no intention of opening up those issues."
Harper was not asked and did not say whether he would support a private member's bill on the issues.
In December, the prime minister voted against a private members bill that would have criminalized coercing a woman into having an abortion.
The suspicion the Conservatives harbour a secret agenda they would spring on the country if they got the chance has plagued Harper in the past, particularly on social issues.
Opposition MPs have often referred to the perceived horrors that would result if, instead of being held in check in the House of Commons, the Tories formed a clear majority capable of pushing through any measures they want.
-- The Canadian Press