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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conservatives slipping but still lead the Liberals

Federal politics in Canada seems to have settled down to the opposition parties not being able to overhaul the Conservatives in the polls and the Conservatives not being able to get into solid majority government territory, 40+ per cent. Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories were ten points ahead of the Liberals, up a few points from the poll before. This week, the PM’s party has slipped a few points in the EKOS poll, but are still leading Michael Ignatieff’s Grits by a healthy margin of about seven points (32.4 to 25.5 per cent).

The troubling news for the PM though is that EKOS calculates that, if an election had been held last week, the Conservatives would have lost seats, going from their current 144 to 123, and the Liberals would have gained ten seats. The NDP would have been up four seats to 40. On the encouraging side, we have the Conservatives leading in Ontario (36.8 per cent to 29.9), the last real bastion of support for the hapless Ignatieff.

The Liberals will claim this is all good news for them since their leader is keeping PM Harper from his coveted majority, while the Conservatives will say that despite the haranguing of the opposition—cheered on by the media—over treatment of Afghan detainees, Guergis-Jaffer affair, handling of H1N1, et cetera, the Tories still have maintained a healthy lead over the Grits.

I see the status quo as a stalemate, which, if not broken soon, will cost us dearly as a country. Minority governments have their place, but the prospect of a forth in a row is unpleasant. The opposition parties are making such a mockery of our parliamentary committees they are beginning to resemble Star Chambers. Every move is made with an eye on the polls, every piece of legislation is offered based on short-term gain in public opinion. We have peace and order, but need better government than a minority parliament will allow.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

7 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. Parlamentary minorities are likely a permanent fixture as long as the Bloc continues to win a signifcant number of seats in Quebec.

    As for Parliamenatry committees, I think you will agree that the Conservatives have followed their book on choking and stopping the committee work. The hyper-partisan use of prorogation also stymied the government's entire agenda. These partisan moves are a cyncial manipulation ledaing to both the Liberals and Conservatives suffering in the polls. Although the Conservatives are first in the public polling, getting 32.5% is poor. There is a significant majority of Canadians that oppose the Conservative agenda.

    We need Harper to stop with the omnibus bills, threatening elections (his fixed election law is a joke, obviously), prorogations, refusing to let witnesses appear at committees etc.

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  2. It doesn't help when the Quebec voter believes they can vote both for a Quebec first sepratist party
    while still holding power with coalitions.

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  3. Nonny, I'm sure current and future minority governments would have no issue of fixed election dates provided that the Opposition's ability to defeat the government and cause a snap election is also removed in a Minority situation.

    BUT, given that they currently still can do exactly that, a sitting government must work within the system to ensure they (and the country) are not being held hostage by even smaller representations of the country.

    If you were to study the Bill, you would see that it was intended to prevent Majority Governments who are in no danger of being defeated by the Opposition from calling a snap election before one is due simply due to advantage.

    You will also note that the ones who keep threatening elections are actually the Liberals, who always qualify that they will do so only when it looks like they can defeat the Conservatives, not when it might be right to do so and take the decision to the people.

    I agree that at 32.5%, no party would be considered in a strong position, but then in the current situation, they have more support than anyone else in the game. That gives them more credibility than any of the other parties involved. You can try to add up all the opposing numbers and say that this means that 77.5% of the population does not agree with the remaining 32.5%, but that doesn't mean that they all agree with each other either and therefore can not be considered a unified opposition. For anyone to suggest that they are, is laughable.

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  4. Anonymous. While I agree with your analysis regarding the Bloc controlling votes, hence ongoing minority gov't., you have it backwards regarding Harper's fixed election law. The fixed election law applies only to MAJORITY gov'ts -- a minority gov't. can fall at any time in a vote of non-confidence.
    If you watched CPAC, you wouldl see a disgusting display of MP Martin, Hall and a few select others who intimidated and bullied witnesses who did appear before committees. I thought we were in a third world dictatorship! I agree that only ministers, not their staffers, take responsibility.
    What would also help our democracy is if the Liberals would show up to vote once in a while. Iceman tallied the missed votes up. It seems the Conservatives only missed 5% of the votes in the H of C, while the Liberals missed 23% --Ignatieff having the worst record! (missing 69 votes).

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  5. Russ, without the media tag teaming with the liberal party they would have fallen off the map already. Of course we saw this week that the CRTC is still controlled by liberals too. Conservatives have to do better 'selling policy' or we may not get that majority. (real conservative)

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  6. "The troubling news for the PM though is that EKOS calculates"

    Russ, you spend too much time dwelling on EKOS results. Over the past several months he has had the Green Party in record territory of 10%-14% which is virtually impossible. About a quarter of their members have resigned their membership and Elizabeth May is fighting off a coup. I hardly expect a party that has this much internal strife has doubled its support since October 2008.

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  7. How about nobody giving a crap about polls in the summer.Who trusts these manipulators anymore??Who in hell is Ekos to tell anyone who will win or lose seats.Its all a mind game to make the sorry Liberals look good and give their own opinions on how they wish things would happen if we had an election.But the cowards (Liberals and their supporters)know better and would not dare try to force an election.

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