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Conservatives surge ahead,Liberals in freefall after devastating Gomery testimony
Toronto Star ^ | 04/11/05 | SUSAN DELACOURT AND ROBERT BENZIE

Posted on 04/11/2005 6:05:20 AM PDT by Pikamax

Conservatives surge ahead Liberals in freefall after devastating Gomery testimony

SUSAN DELACOURT AND ROBERT BENZIE OTTAWA AND TORONTO

OTTAWA - Conservative Leader Stephen Harper would become prime minister if an election were held today, according to a new Toronto Star poll.

The poll, conducted by EKOS Research Associates, shows the federal Liberals are in a dramatic freefall, even in their usual Ontario stronghold.

EKOS surveyed Canadians immediately following the release of devastating testimony last Thursday by former Montreal ad executive Jean Brault at the inquiry looking into the federal government's sponsorship scandal. Brault alleged gross misconduct in the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party.

The pollster found that only 25 per cent of respondents nationwide would vote today for the Liberals, compared to 36.2 per cent for the Conservatives. The Liberals won a minority government with about 37 per cent of the vote in June 2004.

In Ontario, the Conservatives now lead with 40 per cent of the vote. The Liberals are at 33 per cent. Prime Minister Paul Martin escaped the indignity of losing the government last year when the party won 74 of the 106 seats in Ontario.

It's not just the sponsorship revelations dragging the federal Liberals down in Canada's biggest province, but also the so-called "fair-share" campaign that has pitted Premier Dalton McGuinty's provincial government against Martin's Liberals.

According to Frank Graves, president of EKOS, last week's scandal revelations only "lit the fuse, igniting resentment over fair-share treatment and ultimately producing a Liberal implosion in Ontario."

EKOS surveyed 1,125 Canadians, 18 years and older, between Thursday and Saturday.

Results from a survey of that size are considered accurate to within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The national results gave the NDP 20.5 per cent of the vote; the Bloc Québécois, running in Quebec only, 12.6 per cent and the Green party 5 per cent.

Standings in the 308-seat House of Commons today are Liberals 133, Conservatives 99, Bloc 54 and NDP 19. There are two independents and one vacancy.

The results suggest the possibility of a spring election, although the opposition parties likely do not want to defeat the government until after the British Columbia election on May 17 and the visit by the Queen to Canada in late May.

And testimony at the sponsorship inquiry, headed by Justice John Gomery, also ends in late May.

For the Liberals, 25 per cent nationally represents a significant drop — 15 percentage points lower than they received in EKOS' last poll in February and 11 percentage points lower than the popular vote they gained in last June's federal election.

For the Tories, it's a 10-point climb since the February poll and seven percentage points higher than the 2004 popular vote nationwide.

Graves calls it "a breathtaking shift in what had been a stagnant and listless political landscape" — a shift, which seems to have taken place since Brault rocked the political world late last week with tales of forced kickbacks and payoffs to the Liberal party.

Those revelations, coming in a flood after a publication ban was lifted by Gomery last Thursday, have created an almost perfect climate for the Conservatives to form a minority government, the poll shows.

Graves said "there is little sense of any huge affection for the Conservatives, with voters caught between anger at the Liberals and only tepid enthusiasm for the only serious contender to form a government."

Though Harper and his Tories have been saying they will take their time to assess the scandal fallout and not be pushed by an election-eager Bloc Québécois, this new poll shows that temptation will be running high for the opposition to seize upon the mood quickly and bring down the shaky Liberal minority government.

"In the current volatile landscape, if there is to be another federal election in the near future, voters will likely consider where the broader electorate is before deciding where to throw their support," Graves said.

"I suspect most still prefer a minority government, but this time of a different political stripe."

The only obstacle to a snap spring vote, however, is that the poll also shows a high number of Canadians opposed to calling an election on the integrity issue.

A full 62 per cent of those polled thought an election shouldn't take place until a report is issued from Gomery later this year and another 21 per cent said the integrity issue wasn't important enough to provoke an election.

Only 15 per cent said an election would be a good idea, "to clear the air."

Martin has not yet issued any public statements in reply to last week's developments at the sponsorship inquiry.

This morning, he makes a brief appearance on the subject of medical waiting times and then he will be in the Commons to face the opposition during Question Period.

In Rome for the Pope's funeral when the news hit the stands last week, Martin has pointedly avoided reporters' queries and remained huddled out of public view all weekend.

Harper too, also in Rome for Friday's papal funeral, has taken a similar tack, though he did show up at a rally on Parliament Hill against same-sex marriage over the weekend.

His advisers are presumably also seeing internal polling showing a surge in Ontario, which raises some questions about why the Conservative leader would choose this timing to underline a stand that has not traditionally been popular in urban Ontario, where the party needs the votes.

But there's more bad news for Liberals in the poll on this front. By a ratio of two-to-one, Canadians are more likely to see Martin as part of the problem than as part of the solution to the sponsorship mess, the EKOS/Star poll shows.

A full 60 per cent of respondents said they saw the Prime Minister as "an essential part of the Liberal government since 1993 and now, as leader of the Liberal party, should be held accountable for the sponsorship mess."

Less than half that amount — 29 per cent — said Martin "had little to do with the sponsorship mess and deserves credit for calling the inquiry."

Liberals are now trailing in every region of the country, especially in Quebec and British Columbia, where the poll shows the party under threat of obliteration.

In Quebec, the Liberals have just 15 per cent support; in Alberta, only 10 per cent.

These were the types of low, low numbers that former prime minister Brian Mulroney's Conservative government received in polls in the months before it was dumped from office in 1993 and reduced to just two seats in the Commons.

When EKOS asked respondents to characterize their view of this current sponsorship controversy, more than a third — 34 per cent — called it "the worst government scandal that I can recall."

Only slightly more, 37 per cent, called it "no worse than other government scandals," reflecting what could be widespread cynicism with politics overall.

Another 22 per cent said this current scandal is worse than other government scandals, but not the worst they could recall. Only 4 per cent called it "not a particularly bad problem."

Gomery is probing all aspects of the $250-million sponsorship program, which funnelled $100 million to Liberal-friendly ad agencies, who often did little or no work.

The poll also shows that Canadians believe social issues, not "ethics and accountability," are by far the most important things going into the next election.

Least important are "fiscal issues," the poll showed.


TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: adscam

1 posted on 04/11/2005 6:05:20 AM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?


2 posted on 04/11/2005 6:22:16 AM PDT by paudio (Four More Years..... Let's Use Them Wisely...)
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To: Pikamax
I'm always in favor of seeing a Liberal anywhere defeated but the reality is that this will make no difference in relations between Canada and the US. Candaians as a whole have decided to take the European approach. Weakness is good, the ability to defend yourself militarily is bad, socialism and the ensuing inevitable poverty is good. When things go bad just blame America and George Bush as a one size fits all excuse.

Such a shame.

3 posted on 04/11/2005 6:26:50 AM PDT by An Old Marine (Freedom isn't Free)
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To: paudio
If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?

It's hard to like someone who keeps spitting on you. Once Canada decides America is not so bad and treats us like a friend again, America will forgive and makeup.

4 posted on 04/11/2005 6:28:42 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: paudio

Aren't "conservatives" in Canada basically our RINOs?


5 posted on 04/11/2005 6:30:45 AM PDT by dfwgator (Minutemen: Just doing the jobs that American politicians won't do.)
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To: paudio
If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?

Depends on what Canadian conservatives do with their power. I'm betting most Canadians are nothing more than misplaced EU type Europeans who revel in their weakness and blame America for all their problems.

Regardless of who runs the country I think we are very different from Canadians and thats the real root problem.

6 posted on 04/11/2005 6:31:16 AM PDT by An Old Marine (Freedom isn't Free)
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To: paudio

"If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?"
depends on Harpers view of the US
if he decided to sign up for Missile Defense and doesnt have any of his MPs squish a Bush voodoo doll on TV then obviously we will like Canada better silly ;)


7 posted on 04/11/2005 6:35:10 AM PDT by DM1
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To: Always Right

I disagree. America really doesn't care about Canada. At all. Really.


8 posted on 04/11/2005 6:36:06 AM PDT by AmishDude (Join the AmishDude fan club: "You are a wise man." -- Torie; "You rock!" -- TonyRo76)
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To: AmishDude
I disagree. America really doesn't care about Canada. At all. Really.

I agree that what Canada says or thinks is not of much concern to most Americans, but the negative attitude some have towards Canada is more a reflection of what they say about us then anything else. America generally likes Canada except lately they keep pooping in our yard.

9 posted on 04/11/2005 6:42:41 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: Pikamax

Canada is good for the United States in three areas:

- It grows big walleyes.

- It knows how to brew real beer.

- It manufactures flush toilets that work.

(Do the Indians up near Sioux Lookout still shoot arrows at locomotives?)


10 posted on 04/11/2005 6:54:43 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Smart growth is Marxist insects agitating for a collective hive.)
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To: sergeantdave
THE REAL DEAL:

Pseudo "conservative" in Canada.


11 posted on 04/11/2005 7:00:34 AM PDT by Diogenesis ("If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us")
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To: dfwgator

Not all of them. Many of them are equal to pure Republicans.


12 posted on 04/11/2005 7:02:31 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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To: An Old Marine

Most of those voters are not voting Conservative though. In Quebec (where anti-Americans are in the majority), they are voting Bloc en masse. Outside of Quebec (where they are in a sizable minority), they will either be sticking to the Fiberals, but more likely voting NDP or staying home.


13 posted on 04/11/2005 7:04:28 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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http://www.thestar.com/static/PDF/050411_fed_vote.pdf - for poll details


14 posted on 04/11/2005 7:08:18 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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To: Heartofsong83
Not all of them. Many of them are equal to pure Republicans.

Well maybe some of them from the Western Provinces.

15 posted on 04/11/2005 7:12:59 AM PDT by dfwgator (Minutemen: Just doing the jobs that American politicians won't do.)
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To: Diogenesis

If i may quote robin williams

"living in Canada is like living in the apartment above a really great party"


16 posted on 04/11/2005 7:14:34 AM PDT by el_doctor2 (Pope John Paul the Great...Dziekuje)
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To: dfwgator

And some from the "east": Cheryl Gallant (possibly the most conservative member in the House), Scott Reid, Pierre Poilievre, Guy Lauzon, Gord Brown...all staunch conservatives from Ontario. (Not to mention many in the provincial legislature like Jim Flaherty, Frank Klees, John Baird and Tim Hudak)


17 posted on 04/11/2005 7:19:32 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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To: dfwgator

Another interesting note: at the bottom it says "social issues", in other words "moral values", are the #1 voter concern.

Sounds like a repeat of the 2004 US election!


18 posted on 04/11/2005 7:29:53 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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To: Heartofsong83

Speaking of the west, freepers should like this guy:

http://www.myronthompson.com/

On the list of things Canada has that the US should care about:
- Alberta Oil Sands
- Unlimited supply of fresh water
- "The Canada-U.S. trade relationship is the largest ever to exist between two nations. Two-way trade in goods and services between Canada and the United States during 2000 was estimated at approximately C$700 billion, or almost C$2.0 billion per day."
- "Canada has been the leading foreign export market for U.S. goods since 1946."
- Alberta Oil Sands
- Unlimited supply of fresh water

Did I mention the Alberta oil sands?


19 posted on 04/11/2005 7:38:43 AM PDT by jbloedow
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To: Pikamax; Former Proud Canadian; Great Dane; Alberta's Child; headsonpikes; coteblanche; Ryle; ...
Too bad this thread has largely, due to one ill-considered comment, turned into a pathetic Kanuckistani "please like us" pity party.

The CPC should rightly look to pertinent historical precedent:
In 1974, the then minority Liberals were widely despised. Tory Leader Stanfield waited to pull the electoral plug and then played the perfect gentleman by conducting a consistently "high road" campaign which resulted in another five more years of Trudeau and ultimately imposition of his vile Charter.

Lesson(s): Liberals are amoral sociopathic scum who will resort to any bold lie and stoop to any under-handed tactic to cling to power. Ergo, they must always be kicked while they're down and can then only be beaten by besting them at their own dirty games and tricks.

Not that I'm among his admirers but, Brian Mulroney certainly proved as much in 1984 and - to a somewhat lesser extent - in 1988.

As did the local properly bare-knuckle Etobicoke Center campaign in '79 which dumped Trudeau-era Cabinet Minister Alasdair Gillespie.

Take note Mr. Harper, "fortune favors the brave".
20 posted on 04/11/2005 7:45:38 AM PDT by GMMAC (lots of terror cells in Canada - I'll be waving my US flag when the Marines arrive!)
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To: Heartofsong83
The trick for conservatives is going to be to get all those conservative voters who have given up to get back to the polls.

I think there is a great, silent majority up there who have pretty much given up on politics. But if they don't re-engage, and quickly, they aren't going to have a country left.

The conservatives need some really great marketing.

21 posted on 04/11/2005 7:56:50 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: Pikamax

I'm afraid that even if the Conservative party can win a plurality of seats in the next election and form a government that it will do little good. I don't know when the last time was that a minority government in Canada actually lasted out its term without being brought down by a non-confidence vote. And I can't see the Conservatives getting much support in creating a coalition from any of the other parties - the Liberals because they're the Conservative's natural rivals for power, and the NDP and Bloc because they're essentially far-left socialists - although they might support the Conservatives if they tried to implement some of the reforms long talked about by the Reform Party (Triple-E senate, some form of proportional representation, more free votes, etc). At least the NDP would actually benefit from some form of proportional representation, although the Bloc would probably be hurt by it. It'll be interesting if the Conservatives form a minority government, but I really think it'll share the same fate as Joe Clark's did, being brought down in very short order.


22 posted on 04/11/2005 8:11:31 AM PDT by -YYZ-
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To: Heartofsong83
Exactly... I don't see the Liberals being dumped unless there's more to Ad-Scam. Depending on how it plays out, I now think a fall election is a more likely scenario. If its not bad, they can wait at least another year.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
23 posted on 04/11/2005 8:12:38 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: -YYZ-
The only real way to stop a Liberal hegemony is to abolish first past the post elections and adopt proportional representation. It'll guarantee Liberal minority governments into perpetuity.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
24 posted on 04/11/2005 8:14:43 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax

What Canada needs is a leader like Margret Thatcher who will dare to dismantle Canada's crumbling socialist state and restore a true free market economy.


25 posted on 04/11/2005 8:19:55 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: goldstategop

Yeah, but the Liberals themselves will certainly never do anything about it, and I'm not sure that a minority Conservative government would be able to do it. In fact, I'm not really sure how they would go about making such major changes to our electoral system. I really despair sometimes for the chances of ever getting any meaningfull political change in this country.


26 posted on 04/11/2005 8:21:23 AM PDT by -YYZ-
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To: -YYZ-
Canada for all its radicalism has a slow tendency to change. The country adopted its first flag only in 1965, adopted its first national anthem only in 1980 and brought home the Constitution from the Mother Country only in 1982. Happy countries shouldn't change unless there's a pressing need for it.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
27 posted on 04/11/2005 8:24:05 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: paudio
It's going to take a hell of a lot more than us merely going conservative for Americans to feel better about us after the shoddy, downright mean treatment Canada has given America in the 3 years following 9-11, and I frankly can't say I blame them at all.

We need to face facts here. The Liberals have caused so much damage to our relationship that it's going to take years for the Americans to trust us again. At best, perhaps Americans will understand, that like them, we have a very vocal and insulting leftist presence in this country that continually gets to hold the microphone.

28 posted on 04/11/2005 8:25:07 AM PDT by Ashamed Canadian
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To: Heartofsong83
they will either be sticking to the Fiberals, but more likely voting NDP or staying home.

Then getting out the vote is what matters. In Canadian politics, the Liberlas and NDP split the left leaning vote. If you can get enough conservatives out, Conservative candidates will get elected.

29 posted on 04/11/2005 8:27:27 AM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: The Great RJ
"What Canada needs is a leader like Margret Thatcher ..."

God Bless "the Iron Lady"!
A "true blue" conservative icon who, with Ronald Reagan and The Holy Father now gone, is sadly the last remaining of those who took the lead in vanquishing international communism's "Evil Empire"!

... boy, how I hate the American msm's currently un-checked reversing of traditional political colors!
30 posted on 04/11/2005 8:45:14 AM PDT by GMMAC (lots of terror cells in Canada - I'll be waving my US flag when the Marines arrive!)
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To: GMMAC
... boy, how I hate the American msm's currently un-checked reversing of traditional political colors!

Yes! That drives me nuts!! But according to this page, it wasn't always supposed to be that way:

"...The colors were selected because they appear on the United States flag...Originally, the color assignments alternated every four years. In the hotly-contested election of 2000, it was the Republicans' turn for red and the Democrats' turn for blue; and because the resulting map for that year revealed that support for each party followed a sharply defined geographical pattern, it has since become customary to refer to the Republican-leaning states as red states and the Democratic strongholds as blue states."
31 posted on 04/11/2005 9:59:12 AM PDT by swissarmyknife
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To: -YYZ-
they might support the Conservatives if they tried to implement some of the reforms long talked about by the Reform Party (Triple-E senate, some form of proportional representation, more free votes, etc).

Don't forget that the Bloc was founded by a group of Tory MPs who split when Meech Lake died. The party does lean left now but there are still some centrists there who could do business with the Tories.

32 posted on 04/11/2005 10:05:56 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (End dependence on foreign oil- put a Slowpoke in your basement)
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To: All

has anyone seen this story on fox?

Is this story covered in the media in canada or is it like the MSM circling the waggons to protect the clintons?

I have a hard time believing the CBC would bite the hand that feeds it.


33 posted on 04/11/2005 10:08:34 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: goldstategop
The only real way to stop a Liberal hegemony is to abolish first past the post elections and adopt proportional representation.

Proportional representation would be a disaster for freedom. It would concentrate even more power in the backrooms; right now the worst that happens to an MP who votes against the party is that he sits as an independent. Under PR, they can just drop him from the party list and his career is over.

34 posted on 04/11/2005 10:08:47 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (End dependence on foreign oil- put a Slowpoke in your basement)
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To: dfwgator
Check out FreeDominion.com sometime. Those folks are Canadian Freepers. Just as conservative as most of FR.
35 posted on 04/11/2005 10:20:27 AM PDT by Textide
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To: doc30

That's correct. Playing the "moral values" card would probably at least guarantee a Conservative minority government (120 seats), but it would certainly not sell in Quebec, and it would be a tough sell in the big cities, so they would need to use it to get everything they can in rural and small-town English Canada, and the suburban areas as well.


36 posted on 04/11/2005 11:31:59 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
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To: Pikamax
Thanks SO MUCH for posting this in full - BEFORE either MikeEdwards or Quidnunc found the article....

I had just read the article -- posted on www.Nealenews.com (a GREAT source for Canadian News -- formatted like the Drudge Report)....
37 posted on 04/11/2005 1:54:31 PM PDT by ConservativeStLouisGuy (11th FReeper Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Excerpt)
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