Skip to comments.Liberal support plummets (Canada: entrenched arrogance, corruption & Adscam hitting home)
Posted on 05/14/2005 6:00:16 PM PDT by GMMAC
Liberal support plummets,
poll finds 50% believe PM has lost confidence of House;
Grits face defeat in Ontario, Atlantic provinces
Mark Kennedy and Allan Woods
The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals have suddenly plummeted in public support -- particularly in their traditionally loyal regions of Ontario and Atlantic Canada -- and would likely be defeated if an election were held now, a new poll suggests.
The Ipsos-Reid poll, provided exclusively to CanWest/Global, also reveals the minority government will be hard-pressed to avoid public pressure for an election, since half of Canadians now believe the government has lost the confidence of Parliament and should call an "immediate" election. In yet another protest over the Liberals' refusal to do just that, the Tories and Bloc Quebecois yesterday forced Parliament to adjourn early for the third day in a row.
"This is the perfect storm for the Liberals," Ipsos-Reid senior vice-president John Wright said yesterday. "Parliament is in near-paralysis. The Gomery commission continues to rain acid rain. It's an environment where people will soon want to call for an election, saying it's time to clear the air.
"We're really at a crossroads in terms of the confidence people have in the government and are prepared to accept the fact we're likely headed for an election."
The timing couldn't be worse for Mr. Martin's Liberals. The governing party appeared on the rebound just more than a week ago thanks to the prime minister's aggressive public-relations blitz, but voters have once again abandoned the Grits in droves.
Much of that support is bleeding to the left of the political spectrum, to the NDP and, to a lesser extent, the Green party.
The new survey reveals the Conservatives hold the lead nationally with 31 per cent of the decided vote, unchanged from an Ipsos poll conducted a week earlier. The Liberals, however, are down to 27 per cent, a sudden drop of five points.
The NDP stands at 19 per cent, up three points, while the Bloc Quebecois is at 13 per cent, up one point, and the Green party is supported by six per cent, up one point.
"These numbers here suggest a Conservative minority," said Mr. Wright.
The pollster also asked Canadians if they think the government lost the confidence of Parliament on Tuesday when it lost the motion by a 153-150 margin. Half the public expressed that sentiment and said the development should lead to an "immediate" election.
Forty-six per cent disagreed, and four per cent did not know.
Meanwhile, the Commons remained at a virtual standstill yesterday, as the opposition tied business up in procedural votes and motions to adjourn.
But after days of name-calling and increasingly ugly behaviour, Tory leader Stephen Harper said yesterday he intends to take the high road.
Mr. Harper said he has exhausted all efforts to force a confidence vote Monday, when all MPs can participate, and will agree to deciding the fate of the Liberal government next Thursday, even if he must do so without the support of a cancer-stricken Tory MP.
He said he has instructed B.C. Conservative MP Darrel Stinson to stay home, where he will undergo surgery next Wednesday for bladder cancer, rather than try to return to Ottawa for the vote on the government's budget legislation, Bill C-43.
The promise of a detente when the House returns next week came after veteran NDP MP Ed Broadbent, who represents Ottawa Centre, offered to absent himself from the upcoming vote to level the playing field for both sides, part of what the NDP said is an attempt to bring some civility back to federal politics.
The parliamentary tradition, known as "pairing," will also make it easier, by one crucial vote, for the Tories and Bloc Quebecois to defeat the government and force a federal election as early as June 27.
The government says a provincial election in B.C. and the Queen's visit to Alberta and Saskatchewan prevent a confidence vote from being held before Thursday.
The procedural wrangling in the House yesterday prevented 21-year Liberal MP Don Boudria, who represents Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, from delivering a planned farewell speech in the Commons where colleagues and former staff had gathered.
It was left to Mr. Broadbent, who is retiring from federal politics to care for his ill wife, to offer to absent himself from the coming confidence vote so that the Tories will not be affected by Mr. Stinson's absence.
"It seems to me it's a civilized, kind and decent thing to do," he said. "Sometimes there aren't ulterior motives. Sometimes people just do things for the right reasons."
The Liberals and two opposition parties have expressed support for the pairing, which will likely see Mr. Stinson paired with Natural Resources Minister John Efford, who is undergoing treatment for diabetes, rather than Mr. Broadbent.
It means the Conservatives and Bloc now need the support of just one of two independent MPs, either Chuck Cadman or David Kilgour, to defeat the government.
A third independent MP, Carolyn Parrish, has indicated she supports the government.
If the government loses the budget vote Thursday, triggering an election, the Ipsos-Reid poll suggests the real danger for the Liberals lies in the regional breakdowns:
- In vote-rich but volatile Ontario, the Liberals are in serious trouble. In a single week, Liberal support has dropped dramatically to 32 per cent, down 12 points. The Conservatives now attract 34 per cent of the vote, up one point, while the NDP has 22 per cent, up five points, and the Green party has eight per cent, up four points.
In last year's election, the Liberals won a minority government, electing 135 MPs. That victory was based on a strong showing in Ontario, where voters elected 75 Liberals, 24 Conservatives, and seven New Democrats. If Mr. Martin hopes to win re-election, he'll have to count on a strong contingent of Ontario MPs to do so.
- In Quebec, where the public is addicted to the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, the Liberals are poised to be punished by voters. Support for the Bloc Quebecois stands at 56 per cent, up by six points. By comparison, the Liberals are supported by only 15 per cent, down five points, and are competing for votes with the other two federalist parties, the NDP, at 11 per cent, and the Tories, 10 per cent.
In addition, a separate Leger Marketing poll done for the Montreal Gazette and the Journal de Montreal, found that 54 per cent of all Quebecers, and two of three francophones, support sovereignty and don't think Quebec's interests are well protected within the Canadian federation.
- In Atlantic Canada, a Liberal bastion in recent years, the party is also in peril of losing seats. In last year's vote, the party picked up 22 of the region's 32 seats, an accomplishment that gave Mr. Martin a badly needed comfort level to secure a minority government.
However, now the party's support is down to 35 per cent, a drop of 10 points. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have inched upwards by two points to 34 per cent, essentially putting them in a tie with the Liberals. The NDP has surged up 10 points, to 27 points -- once again putting them in contention to pick up seats.
The poll of 1,001 adult Canadians was conducted Tuesday through Thursday. With a sample of this size, the margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The poll found 13 per cent of voters are undecided on which party to support.
The survey was conducted at a particularly tumultuous period for the governing Liberals.
In Ottawa, the Tories and the Bloc joined forces Tuesday night to pass a motion that they said should have forced the government's resignation, but the Liberals said it was just a procedural matter and refused to recognize it as a non-confidence motion.
And in Montreal, the Gomery inquiry heard more explosive evidence about alleged kickbacks to the Liberals, as former senior party officials testified about how envelopes stuffed with cash were used to help finance the party's efforts to win seats in Quebec in the 1997 and 2000 elections.
Mr. Wright said it's likely that both of these developments were factors in the dramatic shift away from the Liberals, adding there's little Mr. Martin can do to minimize the damage.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2005
Good.... I was really loosing confidence that Canadians had brains!
I don't know why they publish pieces like this anyway ~ the Libs will make sure the government agency that counts ballots puts them back in office.
Last person with a brain to leave Canada, please turn out the lights.
What about a Conservative-PQ coalition government?
I had the honour of being a scrutineer for the Conservatives during the last provincial election in Ontario.
The watching of the ballot count is taken very seriously.
I called for a count check a number of times,
even when I knew the recount would go against my candidate.
The importance of an honest election is greater than who wins.
Each party has the right to have a worker there to challenge a voter's eligibility or the vote count.
Are we certain that Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin isn't Michael Dukakis in disguise? The Duke's corruption and arrogance turned Massachusetts into a Republican state for a decade (for Governors, anyway). Seems like the same is happening in Canda.
Not a lick of differenc between them
Well thanks for those encouraging words. You are a disgrace to many FReepers.
"This account has been banned or suspended."
ADSCAM: Click the picture, goto the "last," and work back for the latest-
Yes! Keep up the good work!
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