Read the Polls
Support for PM Harper Soars
Friday, December 5, 2008
Public support for the federal Conservatives is soaring in the wake of an opposition push to cause the minority Tory government to fall and replace it with a Liberal-NDP coalition propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.
In an exclusive interview with CFRA News, Compas Research president Conrad Winn says Prime Minister Harper's party has 51% support nationally compared to 20% for the Liberals, 10% for the New Democrats, 8% for the Bloc, and 6% for the Greens.
"The public doesn't believe the coalition when it says they have to form the government to protect the Canadian economy from Harper's poor management. They don't believe that that's the motivation. By about two to one they believe that the only motivation was a power grab, " notes Winn.
The poll, conducted for Canadian Business Magazine, also notes 66% of those asked oppose the Bloc Quebecois playing any role in who forms the federal government.
And Winn suggests the coalition partners have a lot of work to do to build up public trust in their economic management credentials.
"You get half of Canadians having confidence in Harper to be prime minister in this situation. and in second place is [Liberal leadership candidate] Michael Ignatieff with 14%."
Only 11% say they have confidence in NDP Leader Jack Layton's economic skills, while 8% pick Grit leader Stephane Dion.
The poll of 500 Canadian was completed Thursday night and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.
Is the Price of Coalition an Independent Quebec?
In their press release of 1 Dec 2008 (Open Letter to all Canadians) the three leaders of the Coalition stated their authority to replace the Government of Canada.* They asserted that this right to form a government rested on the fact that “A Majority of Canadians and Quebecers voted for our parties.”* This is an explicit recognition of Quebec as an independent Nation.* Quebecers, as recognized by this document, are not “Canadians” nor can they be included in the category “Canadians” much less “all Canadians”; they are a separate and independent people and must be referred to as such.
This recognition of Quebecers as separate and different from Canadians is repeated in “A Policy Accord to Address the Present Economic Crisis” (1 Dec 2008).* Were the three leaders stated that it was “the role of government to act as partners with Canadians and Quebecers.”
Duceppe, speaking on behalf of his “Nation”, stated that he had entered into the agreement "in the best interests of Quebec, of Quebecers during this time of economic difficulties."* Any concern for the Nation of Canada was strikingly absent.* His claim to speak for Quebecers and not Canadians was explicit.
Duceppe stated that he would only support the Coalition until 30 June 2010 (Policy Accord) because the various parties had not agreed on "concrete action to recognize the Quebec nation."*
The price of Bloc Quebecois’s support for the Coalition is clear, up front acknowledgement in official documents that Quebec is a separate and independent entity that can not be included in the category “Canadian.”* Continued support beyond 30 June 2010 will only take place if the Coalition takes "concrete action to recognize the Quebec nation."* We can note that this is a full year prior to the end of the Liberal-NDP Coalition which does not end until 2011.
Clearly, the price the Liberals and NDP are prepared to pay for Bloc support is not limited to money, policy or programs.* It would appear that the price they are willing to pay, and have agreed to, is Quebec independence.* Only the details of when and how seem to be left.
Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, December 05, 2008
OTTAWA - A clear majority of Canadians believe that political parties should not be funded by the public purse, according to a new poll that suggests Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on the right track when he eliminated the subsidy, sparking outrage from the opposition parties.
Sixty-one per cent of voters said they oppose federal political parties securing $1.95 annually for each vote, which is a major source of party funding.
On the other hand, only 36% of those polled said that the subsidy should continue to exist.
"When we ask people how they want to have their money spent, paying for political parties is not exactly one of their top priorities, particularly in tough economic times," said Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos Reid, which conducted the telephone survey of 1,001 adults this week exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National.
The Harper government, faced with an opposition coalition ready to defeat the government, retreated within days after announcing in last week's economic statement that the subsidy would be axed. The statement also failed to deliver on opposition demands for an economic package to stimulate the economy.
As Canada's political theatre of the absurd thankfully fades to black for seven weeks, the curtain is about to fall on Mr. Bean after his final faulty performance as the hapless Liberal leader who couldn't.
It is also likely curtains for the coalition of the Three Stooges in what could be the shortest-lived political union in history.
A growing number of Liberal MPs and party power-brokers have told Sun Media they expect Stephane Dion will either take a final bow as head of their party -- or be shown the exit -- by early January.
Dion was supposed to remain as leader until his successor could be chosen at a party convention scheduled to be held in May in Vancouver.
But events of the past week have apparently all but handed Dion his hat for Christmas.
"The leader has got to go now," one Liberal MP said yesterday.
"I think a lot of us who were willing to cut him some slack (on leaving) before are now thinking he is beyond being not helpful in the current situation - he's a serious handicap."
Dion faced a stormy caucus meeting yesterday after the Governor General allowed Stephen Harper to shut down Parliament until late January.
The move thwarted the attempted coalition coup by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois that would have toppled the Conservative government and made Dion prime minister by next week.
Many Grit stalwarts were upset by the coalition deal they say was hatched entirely by Dion, NDP boss Jack Layton and separatist leader Gilles Duceppe.
Hopping into bed with the socialists was bad enough, but a coalition propped up by the separatists was too much for many longtime Grit veterans of constitutional wars with Quebec.
As one senior Liberal strategist put it: "This was a deal that was initiated by Layton and negotiated by a weak leader (Dion) willing to give away the farm to get his hands on the keys to 24 Sussex Dr.
"For many of us, the coalition just went way too far."
A number of Liberal MPs told us privately that the terms of the coalition were presented to them as a done deal by Dion, that there was no opportunity for meaningful dissent.
The final straw was Dion's televised snafu Wednesday night following the prime minister's special address to the nation, condemning the newly hatched opposition coalition.
Dion could have responded to Harper's address by just stepping up to the media microphones and cameras in the Commons lobby as did Layton.
But after an election campaign in which Dion's ad libs were often incomprehensible in English and turned off voters in both languages, the Liberal leader and his staff decided to pre-tape his response to Harper.
(We can only imagine how many retakes that took.)
The result, as we previously noted, was a national broadcast that looked like a hostage video shot by a kid with a cellphone.
Liberals and their new best friends in the NDP and Bloc were understandably embarrassed and enraged by the whole mess, coming as it did from the man who would be the leader of their new coalition government, not to mention the country's next prime minister.
Seven weeks from now, Parliament will resume with another showdown between the Conservative government and the opposition parties.
According to a lot of disgruntled Liberals, there is no way they can win that shootout with Dion.
Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, never known for his tact or political acumen, said yesterday: "The coalition - the way that we're going right now - it won't survive," he said.
"We have somebody who can't communicate ... Our communication sucks; that was shown last night (in the video snafu). What else is there to say?"
How about au revoir?
By a more than 2:1 margin, Canadians call for another election if the choice faced by the Governor-General were between inviting Stephane Dion to form a government and hold a fresh general election weeks after the most recent one. That is the key finding from a national representative poll completed December 4, 2008.
If an election were held today, Stephen Harper would win a large majority based on nation-wide support of 51% compared to 20% for the Liberals, 10% for the NDP, 6% for the Greens, and 8% for the Bloc. Harper would sweep seat-rich Ontario with 53% of the vote compared to 24% for the Liberals and 10% for the NDP in that province and would surpass Dion in Quebec with 32% of the vote compared to 19% for the Liberals and 35% for the Bloc.
Key factors in this lightening speed transformation of public opinion:
66% of Canadians oppose the Bloc Quebecois having a say in who forms the government;
48% have confidence in Stephen Harper as Prime Minister in the current economic climate compared to 14% for Michael Ignatieff in second place, 11% for NDP leader Jack Layton, 8% for Stephane Dion, 4% for Bob Rae, and 3% for Gilles Duceppe;
58% believe that the Coalition's real or main motivation was a power grab while 28% perceive the Opposition as honestly believing that Harper is a poor manager of the economy;
61% believe that the Liberals, following their drop in support in the October election, should not be trying to form a government.
MEDIA CONTACT: Conrad Winn (416) 460-5844