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Messages from the electorate.

I don’t know that I trust this type of survey any more then I trust online polling, but it does say something interesting that if people picked their preferred parliament, they end up giving no one a majority government, and they end up giving the Liberals a plurality of seats, with the NDP holding the balance of power and the Greens with substantial representation.

Two things I observe here: First, not exactly great news for the Liberals, but with Harper and his Cons. throwing everything (including the kitchen sink) at Stephane Dion and trying to portray him as a weak leader with all that money and all those attack ads, and with the added dynamic of having to deal with internal bickering and wars, Canadians are saying to the Liberals if you can get the act together and start looking like a cohesive political party, we generally and historically have liked voting for you and will vote for you again. Personally, I was hopeful as a Liberal supporter that seemed to be more of the case in recent weeks with things being pretty quiet, but then the turf war over whether David Orchard or Joan Beatty should be appointed sprung up, which is yet another example of stuff that certain factions and supporters in the Liberal party need to overcome if the electorate is going to be confident enough to vote the Liberals back to power.

My second observation is that while this survey and the news it bears is so-so for the Liberals, it’s even worse news for the Conservative Party, that not only have they stayed in minority territory, but they now have a couple of these polls/surveys where they trail the Liberals, despite the aforementioned attack ads and trying to seduce/bribe Canadians with tax cuts and pull the wool over their eyes with superficial action on climate change.

For those Cons. supporters who wonder why this would be, let’s turn to a prominent ex-Canadian diplomat and now academic, Jeremy Kinsman of Princeton University for what I think is a good reason for Harper and the Conservatives stagnant poll numbers of late:

Year-end polls show Canadians in a much better mood than Americans about the state of our country, but yearning for changes in our foreign policy. Canadians want renewed emphasis on human rights and democracy, international development, and restoring the effectiveness such institutions as the UN and NATO. More than Americans, Canadians see the greatest threat to the world coming from climate change. It is baffling that the national mood doesn’t seem to penetrate the Stephen Harper bubble. That it doesn’t is evident from the sad performance at the climate change gathering in Bali of John Baird, the minister of the environment.

I believe the reason it doesn’t burst the Stephen Harper bubble is that it’s because he is too stubborn to want to accept that Canadians aren’t liking what he’s trying to sell, and that its also because it goes against his and the Cons. current ideology/philosophy. They have done half-measures and delaying actions on the climate change issue and the Afghanistan issue in the hopes it will appease or fool enough Canadians to get their majority, but they do so for that reason and that reason only. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for the country, a substantial majority of Canadians aren’t buying it. The Harper Conservatives come across as being George Bush’s toady on the climate change issue, and I don’t doubt some people feel possibly the Afghanistan issue as well.

Harper ignores that at his peril, as this survey is showing. I sincerely hope he and the Cons continue to ignore it or are too stubborn and ideologically driven to accept it.


4 comments to Messages from the electorate.

  • Whooee! Harpoon wants a majority but he don’t want it quite bad enough to start listening to what the people want. He only needs 40% and that’s as much as he’ll ever get — if that. I figger even modest popularity for the BQ means we’ll be in minority gummints fer the foreseeable future. We’ll have a tail wagging the dog no matter who’s in. Some parties will prove better at working within a minority than others. Harper ain’t doin’ too well in that regard. Maybe the Grits will be better in a minority. Maybe not.
    GAB’s right. People do want PR. Nobody’s been able to explain it well enough* to make them realize that they want it.

    (* dumb it down)


  • It sounds like people want PR whether they realize it or not!

  • Gayle

    "Canadians are saying to the Liberals if you can get the act together and start looking like a cohesive political party, we generally and historically have liked voting for you and will vote for you again."Exactly, which is why we can expect to see more of the "Dion is not a leader" ads in the New Year. Harper will have to try to get that message front and center again. As for Harper, I think he has to walk a careful line between what the country wants and what his base wants – particularly on climate change. The last thing he wants is for the Alberta conservatives to splinter off again on the basis that the feds are attacking the oil industry. Harper’s last best chance at a majority was last spring. 

  • Janet

    I don’t believe Canadians are comfy with a minority govm’t, as the article states. I believe Canadians are not able to commit to any party, because of the lack of choices and new ideas and leaders they are offering. I believe the first party (NDP, CPC, LPC) to pick a new leader — one that people can actually believe in and be inspired by — will see a huge bump.
    None of our current choices are viable.

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