Monday, July 07, 2008

Canadians Are Becoming More Unsure of the Harper Conservatives Ability to Manage the Key Issues.

Nik Nanos’ recent poll for the Sun newspapers is very telling and has to be a bit unnerving for the Harper Con-Troll types. With 2.5 years as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper has not gained any traction or more momentum with the Canadian electorate. He has had virtually total control over the public agenda and the political process. It is not as though he has not used these levers but they have gotten him nowhere since the last election.

I have been saying for some time now that Harper is past his best before date as PM. Nik’s recent poll results on who do you trust to manage key issues indicates that Harpers’ best days as Prime Minister of Canada may also be passed him.

The Con strong policy suits, so we are told, are the economy and Afghanistan. While the PCs are ahead of the Liberals (+8% on the economy and +6% on the war) on the economy they equal to the combined totals saying None of the Above and Unsure at 32%. As for the war in Afghanistan the Cons are -10% compared to the None of the Above and Unsure at 38% to the Cons at 28% confidence.

On the management of the other key issues on the minds of Canadians like Healthcare, Environment and National Unity, the Harper’s Cons are trailing the Liberals in every instance. On the Environment the Greens are seen as being the best issue managers buy 13% of Canadians. That has to be encouraging for Elizabeth May.
Comparing Harper to the combined None of the Above and Unsure again he is -10% on Healthcare, -16% on the Environment and -9% on National Unity.

So this means that while Dion is not yet a clearly acceptable alternative to Harper for the swing voters. They are also not particularly enamoured with the capability of the current Harper minority government to manage key issues. This all means no election in the near future, unless of course Harper voluntarily resigns himself. That kind of pre-emptive election strike by Harper could happen if he starts to fear that Canadians are starting get to know the Liberals and a viable alternative.

Harper has to be concerned if the Canadian voter starts getting serious about an election a year from now and concurrently discover the real Dion and get to know him better. I’m talking about getting to know the real Dion and not the phony Conservative attack ad characterization of Dion in last year’s television attach ads. Notice how quiet the Conservative’s have become over their recent failed and flailing pre-emptive attack advertising efforts to mislead citizens on Dion’s Green Shift plan - even before it was released. The last two years has seen Harper desperate for an election. The next two years will likely see him desperate to avoid one.

The times are a'changin' and it is all going to make for some interesting and unsettling times in Canada, economically, environmentally and socially. We will have to see what happens in the Presidential election this November in the States. What will Canadians be looking for as the ballot questions as the Conservatives approach their drop dead date for Harper’s fixed election timing of November 2009. All of this is very fluid but fundamental in what our next election will bring out in Canadians, regardless of when we vote.


  1. Anonymous9:02 pm


    Dion has stated that 40% of the carbon tax revenues will come from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Can you please explain the rationale for such a disproportionate level of taxation? I am assuming that this will be on business but would it include the fact that houses in Alberta take a lot more energy to heat than say Ontario and Quebec?

  2. It is pretty straight forward Anon. Alberta and Sask are the source of 40% of Canada's CO2 emissions. We also get the benefit of most of the wealth generated by the fossil fuel energy sector.

    The principle beind the Green Shift is very clear. We want to cut taxes on those things we want to encourage more of like jobs and personal income. We want to add taxes on those things we want less of like pollution and waste.

    There will be cash subsidies for folks like low income, farmers and northerners who would otherwise bear a greater burden from the shift.

    The carbon tax shift is at the wholesale level and not an interprovincial cash grab like the NEP. THE NEP was a scheme to diddle market prices to the benefit of 9 provinces and to punish one - Alberta. Dion's Green Shift is nothing like that.

  3. Anonymous9:47 pm

    I understand that the tax is not meant to punish Alberta but the result will be that Alberta, its industry and Albertans will pay most of the tax. I'm just not sure how that will not damage our economy. Why doesn't Alberta simply pay another $10 billion to the feds? The result would be the same wouldn't it. At $140 a barrel, no level of carbon tax would decrease the activity in the oil sands.?

  4. Anonymous10:05 pm

    No matter how much you spin it, the center in Canada is moving right and has been doing so for at least 15 years.

    Exit stage left.

  5. Anonymous9:59 am

    I expect it's gotten about as right as it's going to go.. maybe has another 3-5 years left in it before the aging boomer population starts to want their government to concentrate on giving them better support and health-care as they leave their working years, rather than worrying about reducing taxation as much as possible.

    Of course, that's going to hit people like me extra hard, as we'll be reaching about the peak of our careers right then meaning we'll have to bear the brunt. But then again, it always has been that way. Services and interest reduced when I need them to survive and save so that they don't have to pay taxes and can have cheap mortgages, then taxes and interest going up as I get into a good career and get my own mortgage.

    Oh, global warming, energy, and food crisis? Yeah.. those'll be mine to deal with as well.

    And people wonder why we don't vote. Thanks assholes. All of you. Hope you had a grand ol' time living the high-life. Wouldn't want to leave any of that for others, would you? Yeah. Didn't think so.

  6. Anonymous1:57 pm

    I disagree. The spectrum has been moving right and further right since 1993 and has at least another 10 years to go. As baby boomers retire, they will get sick of a bloated government and the high taxes that sustains it. Watch for Haris-style cuts on a national basis.

    With the recent health care announcements watch the PC government in Alberta open private hospitals. Goodbye to the nany socialist state.

  7. "As baby boomers retire, they will get sick of a bloated government ..."

    Government has been getting more bloated every year. Why would retirees want cuts to services and lower taxes just when their income is falling and their need for services is increasing?

  8. Anonymous8:05 pm

    Wow - talk about trying to spin a dismal situation for Dion into a good one. The economy will be the issue in the next election and Dion has the weakest numbers on those points. This spells bad news. So bad in fact that the Liberals are scared to vote against the government on key legislation, including the crime, immigration as well as the budget (and the list goes on).

    Let us not forget that Dion will soon after to give up the name of Green Shift on the website as well as other promotional materials due to the solid lawsuit from Green Shift Inc.. I suggest Green Shaft.

    Chapman, I fear you have been sniffing too much carbon tax.

  9. Why would Dion force an election that he can't win, nobody wants and that all the polls say would merely return a minority government - likely a Harper minority.

    We don't need to return a tied and contemptuous gang that has run out of ideas and capacity to govern. That election would also cost taxpayers at least $350M - money that could be spent on the environment or better social programs...stuff that Harper hates.

    Harper wants and election - simply resign and voila - he has his election. What is holding him back? The GG lives at Rideau Hall. I am sure someone in the CPC government knows how to find her. Pay her a visit with a letter of resignation in hand and see what she does. Harper is not afraid of the Canadian voter now is he?

  10. Anonymous8:16 am

    Retirees clearly will want more tax cuts to increase their buying power as inflation goes up. Retirees like me realize we are spending way too much on services and the future is tax cuts - not more bloated government and overtaxation.

  11. Anonymous8:17 am

    What a joke that Chapman comment is. Harper promised a fixed election date - something Liberal Premiers like McGuinty have also done. He's true to his word.

    All your leader can say is "You think it is easy to set priorities?"

  12. Justin12:01 am


    I went to the town hall with Dion the other night, where I thought he did a pretty good job. He took live questions (from an admittedly friendly audience) for about an hour and a half, which took some guts.

    One thing that bugged me though was his response to the question:

    "Is this a regional wealth transfer, like the NEP?"

    He answered something like,

    "No, this is unlike the NEP because it isn't a national subsidy on fossil fuel consumption."

    I thought it was a very disingenuous answer. Dion knew perfectly well what the question was, and just ducked right under it. If this isn't a regional wealth transfer, why wouldn't he say so? If it is, why are we going down this road again? We know where it leads.

    What's your take on this? As they say, the devil is in the details, and I fear that the details aren't good.

  13. Anon 8:17, start getting used to Ken's substanceless posts that are merely talking points of the Federal Liberals. He has ignored the fact that GHG emissions went up during Dion's stint at environment minister. He did absolutely nothing then so how can anyone believe he would do anything now?