January 9, 2006


Tories surge in poll (CAROLINE ALPHONSO AND BRIAN LAGHI, January 9, 2006, Globe and Mail)

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have opened up an eight-percentage-point advantage over the Liberals, the biggest gap of the campaign going into tonight's crucial debate, a new poll shows.

The survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV News by the Strategic Counsel, also shows that voters believe the Conservatives hold values that are closest to theirs, a turnaround from the first week of the campaign when Canadians identified more closely with Liberal values.

"This is huge," said Allan Gregg, chairman of the Strategic Counsel. "This really does show . . . that by virtue of the kind of campaign they've run, an issues-based, measured, moderate campaign, they have slowly convinced the population that they are not kind of offside the mainstream of Canada.

"If they can maintain this, they have basically taken the Liberals' trump card away."

It would be a minor but welcome victory to have them rejoin the Anglosphere. But you wouldn't want to bet a body part on the Tories winning a Canadian election. It seems quite likely that they could falter late for the same reason that Merkel did in Germany and the constitution did in France--equalitarian fear of Anglo-American liberalization, domestic and global.

Conservatives betting Canada wants change (Rebecca Cook Dube, 1/08/06, USA TODAY)

Pollsters say Harper's underdog Conservatives have seized the momentum in the campaign. Canada last had a Conservative-led government under Brian Mulroney in 1993.

"If Mr. Harper does well in the debate, he could seal this right then and there," says Christian Bourque, vice president of polling firm Leger Marketing in Montreal.

Although all the results are within the margins of error, five recent national polls show Conservatives leading by 2-5 percentage points. The latest poll, released Sunday by SES Research, shows Conservatives would get 34% of the vote and Liberals 32% if elections were held now. The far-left New Democratic Party (NDP), the separatist Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party split the remainder. A large number of Canadians — 17% — are undecided and could determine the outcome of the elections, according to the SES poll done for CPAC, a public affairs cable TV channel similar to C-SPAN.

Ignatieff to deal with Liberal `mess' (ROB FERGUSON, 1/09/06, Toronto Star)
Michael Ignatieff admits the Liberal government's "failings" and tells a voter he'll take a shovel to Ottawa to "try to clean up the mess" if he's elected as MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

The former Harvard professor is using his rookie status to bluntly criticize the multi-million-dollar Quebec sponsorship scandal as he campaigns to keep the riding, held by Jean Augustine since 1993, in Liberal hands as voters express a desire for change. [...]

[I]t's just not the national campaign weighing on Ignatieff, whose opinions as an internationally renowned author and academic occasionally catch up with him. Like at the home of University of Toronto biostatistics professor Paul Corey, who'd just been visited by Tory candidate John Capobianco.

There's a big orange New Democrat sign on Corey's front lawn. But a different colour is on his mind.


"I've scared some of my NDP friends by saying I'll vote Conservative to keep Ignatieff out," says the resident of the posh Kingsway neighbourhood near Royal York and Bloor at the riding's north end. Corey, who admits to voting for all three major parties in the past, still counts himself an undecided voter.

Among other things, he is not happy with Ignatieff's support for the U.S.-sponsored war on Iraq. Ignatieff defends that, saying he approved because of Saddam Hussein's deadly attacks on the Kurds after the first Persian Gulf War.

"If he'd already been in cabinet, would we have soldiers in Iraq?" Corey asks, hinting at speculation Ignatieff seems destined for more than an MP role if the Liberals are re-elected.

Mr. Ignatieff would be an ideal Conservative foreign minister.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2006 9:05 AM

Orrin, please. Stop tempting fate. I beg you.

Posted by: Peter B at January 9, 2006 9:19 AM


we dream of welcoming you back from the Dark Side....

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2006 9:26 AM

No party that's not outside the Canadian mainstream can have any real impact.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 9, 2006 10:56 AM

A superior deployment of the underappreciated double negative--that's why we pay you the big money...

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2006 11:06 AM

I'd rather have them surging around January 23.

Posted by: pchuck at January 9, 2006 11:08 AM

Are we on the cusp of a worthwhile Canadian initiative here? Golly, wouldn't that be exciting.

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 9, 2006 11:42 AM

Tinkertoy politics are sure fun.

"Corey, who admits to voting for all three major parties in the past, still counts himself an undecided voter"

How many people vote Green, Democrat and GOP in the US? In Canada there is so little difference bewtween "Left, Lefter and Leftest" (sic) that it seems perfectly normal.

Posted by: Bob at January 9, 2006 1:00 PM

The interesting part is that the NDP's share is up (from 14 to 19%), too. This might mean that Lefterists are realizing that there's no point in coming to Paul Martin's Liberals rescue, and time to vote their true convictions.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 9, 2006 1:13 PM

Maybe this election will force the US to invade to stop the chaos north of the border.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 10, 2006 12:32 AM