December 6, 2005


Off to a dead heat: A new Maclean's survey shows a tight race nationwide, but a rout underway in Quebec (JONATHON GATEHOUSE, 12/06/05, Maclean's)

The outcome of the January 23 federal election is up for grabs in English Canada, but already a foregone conclusion in Quebec, according to a new Maclean's poll. After a week on the hustings, the ruling Liberals and the opposition Conservatives find themselves in a statistical dead-heat outside of La belle province -- 40 per cent to 37 per cent of decided voters. And while English Canadians seem less than enthused about their options -- Stephen Harper and Paul Martin are rated as "inspiring" by just 13 and 11 per cent respectively -- the early advantage appears to be titling toward the Tories. The official opposition is doing a better job holding on to its supporters from the 2004 vote, retaining nine out of 10, versus just three of four for the Liberals, and is making gains in key policy areas like taxation, crime and U.S.-Canada relations. And perhaps most surprisingly, the two parties are almost tied on health care, the issue that scared many voters away from casting a ballot for the Conservatives in past campaigns.

Presumably voters understand that the Conservatives won't actually change anything.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2005 7:42 PM

Quite right. The Tories may win if they maintain their internal discipline and keep promising not to do anything even remotely conservative if elected. The problem will come a few days before the election when one of their exhausted, possibly over-refreshed, candidates suggests it was a huge mistake to admit women to university.

Posted by: Peter B at December 6, 2005 8:10 PM

Link is busted. Needs an "h" at the front. Until fixed, you can "copy link to clipboard", paste in the address bar, type the "h" in the right place, and it will work.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 6, 2005 8:13 PM

The idea that Layton is seen as inspiring is funny considering it was the NDP propped up the Liberals as long as the latter were able to keep buying off the former. They only turned the Libs when the goody-bag finally turned out to be empty.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 6, 2005 8:50 PM

Can anyone guess which way Peter B will vote in the upcoming election?

Peter, is your apparent support for the Liberals because the Conservatives are not conservative enough or because most of them are from the (honest and pure) West?

The real conservative shift will happen in 20 years when Calgary is the capital of Canada because of demographics. In the meantime I don't mind "liberal" Conservatives who appoint reasonable judges, renew the military and repair relations with the U.S.

The Liberals are corrupt, as are they who vote for them.

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 7, 2005 4:16 AM

Wow! From independent republic to 51st state to capital of all of Canada in just a few weeks. You have vision, Randall. I'm voting for you.

Posted by: Peter B at December 7, 2005 6:15 AM

I think you're combining me and obc. But, honestly, what's wrong with the Conservatives?

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 7, 2005 6:28 AM

BTW, Peter, my position has always been that the West will never be taken seriously until we threaten to separate. Canada will never be much more than a supplier of natural resources to the lowest bidder and petty fiefdom unless we have an elected Senate with veto power, making us more of a republic and distributing power regionally.

I like Western Canadians. I believe that people from Quebec and Ontario think Canada is still Upper and Lower Canada + territories and are still fighting the war of 1812.

But, as I said, demographic shifts will solve this problem in 20 years so separation won't be necessary.

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 7, 2005 6:42 AM

Hey, I love Westerners too and I agree with most of what they are saying. But, c'mon, everybody who votes for the Libs is corrupt? Your explanation for generations of Liberal hegemony is low moral fibre?

Posted by: Peter B at December 7, 2005 2:24 PM

No, the Liberal hegemony is a result of a parliamentary system which fares poorly in non-homogenous and regionally disparate countries. Far better is a republic -- or at least the presence of a king to conserve tradition. Unlike oj, I do not believe Canadians are any different than Americans. We simply do not have as good a political system.

Those who vote for the likes of Sheila Copps after admitting to "losing" $1 billion, are, indeed, corrupt -- "having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain." The "action" in this case is voting for proven corruption, thereby making the "action" corrupt.

The majority will always be of "low moral fibre" -- which is why I am so cynical when it comes to non-regional governments (and I favor republics). But I do believe that the Conservatives have consistently fielded politicians of higher morals -- even Mulroney was better than Trudeau -- he gave us RRSPs, for instance, and NAFTA. Confidence in the individual over the state is one of the most important parts of "moral fibre" and RRSPs are a good example of such thinking.

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 7, 2005 10:00 PM

Seriously, I can't understand your use of the word "corrupt" here. You are arguing as if everyone who voted for Copps got some personal gain out of it, which is absurd. There are lots of reasons why so many vote Lib (ignorance, tradition, fear, local candidates, comfort and even respectable liberalism) and a lot of them have to do with failure on the part of the Conservatives. To say the majority will always be of low moral fibre is: a) meaningless, because morality is individual; and b) tautological--you are defining them that way and then railing against them because that's the way they are. Are you sure you aren't talking about ignorance and stupidity?

Republicans gained the ascendency because, after many hiccups and false starts, they convinced the american electorate that they were truly a national party of principle and vision rather than just a party of dissent, that they were welcoming and modern about plurality and that they had a serious intellectual foundation with solid candidates behind it. The Conservatives have simply not done that good a job as those fronts, which is why there are such huge swaths of the electorate who reject them. Are you going to tell me that all of Quebec and pretty much our entire immigrant population are corrupt?

I'll take Mulroney over Trudeau any day, but you seem to have forgotten the corruption and cronyism, the scandals, his slashing of the military, his failure to tackle the deficit head-on (the Libs actually did better)and his disastrous Meech Lake and Charlottetown initiatives. I remember some good initiatives, but not a guiding spirit of "uncorrupted" conservatism.

Randall, you and I agree on far more than not, but I'm ragging you because over a life of political engagement I have developed a low tolerance for what I call "the regional whine", whether from Quebec, the North, the East, the West, aboriginals, Northern Ontario, etc. etc.
This is Canada and if anyone wants to leave, no one will stop them. I'm all for decentralized federalism and provincial control over resources, but governments are governments and an awful lot of regional resentment in Canada comes from people allowing themselves to be convinced to equate their own personal interests with the wealth and power of their favourite government--it's not the same thing as every conservative should know. Ottawa can fight Victoria and we'll all choose sides, but let's not forget that everyone in this country (everyone!) has won the lottery of life. The issue for me is how come we have forgotten who we are and what we owe to others, starting with our neighbours, not how rough we have it because other Canadians are screwing us. For any Canadian to see his lot in those terms is a little, well, immoral.

Posted by: Peter B at December 8, 2005 5:40 AM

You all could make a good start on rekindling national pride in Canada by throwing off that last vestage of colonialism...declair your nation to be a fullfledged Republic then send the Gov. General back to London to tell QEII that she's no longer Queen of Canada.

Posted by: Dave W at December 8, 2005 10:23 AM