This just in! The Conservatives are going to take a shot at winning a majority.
Canadians may face their fourth federal election in seven years as early as May, after opposition parties said they wouldn’t back Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fiscal plan.
Leaders of all three opposition parties said that C$7.6 billion ($7.7 billion) in new measures announced yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty weren’t enough to warrant their support. Harper will face a Liberal motion of non-confidence on March 25.
Opposition lawmakers are seeking to benefit from what they say have been ethics violations by Harper’s administration, including accusations by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff that former Harper aide Bruce Carson was peddling influence with companies seeking state contracts, as well as charges that ministers have misled Parliament. Harper has said he doesn’t want an election that could undermine the country’s recovery.
“The opposition parties are going to talk about contempt of Parliament and ethics” to weaken the government’s position, said Robert Drummond, a political scientist at York University in Toronto. The Conservatives “are going to want to talk about their economic record.”
I don’t know why the opposition parties would focus on ethics – according to the latest poll, the Conservatives have them beat solidly on ethics.
In the poll, Canadians were given two choices for what they think is the most important issue in the election.
Sixty-three per cent said that “electing a party and leader that will provide honest, open and trustworthy government” is more important.
By comparison, 37% believe that “electing a party and leader that will make sure that our economic recovery continues” is more important.
Those findings, on their surface, should be good news for the Liberals. But in an ironic twist, the very issue the Liberals are trumpeting could backfire on them in a campaign.
• 28% of Canadians believe the Conservatives, if re-elected, would do the best job of “providing honest, open and trustworthy government.”
• 22% believe the NDP would do the best job of this.
• Just 15% say the Liberals would be best at providing honest, open and trustworthy government.
When it comes to the party that can do the best job at “making sure our economic recovery continues,” 37% chose the Tories, while significantly fewer believe the Liberals (20%), NDP (14%) or Bloc (6%) are best positioned to do this.
Nearly one-quarter (23%) don’t believe any of these parties would do the best job at this.
Thinking about which party would “keep taxes under control,” 36% believe the Conservatives are best able to do this, while fewer believe the Liberals (17%), NDP (16%) or Bloc (6%) are best positioned to do this. Twenty-five per cent think that some other party would do a better job with this.
One in three (33%) believe the Conservatives would do the best job at “spending taxpayers money wisely,” while others believe the NDP (18%), Liberals (16%) or Bloc (6%) would do the best job of this. Another 27% don’t believe any of these parties would do the best job at spending taxpayers money wisely.
UPDATE: An even later poll puts Harper at 43% support.
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