Conservatives are not just the lesser of three evils

A new poll has found that if an election were to be held this week, the Conservative party could quite possibly win a majority. The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid, found that the Conservatives are now supported by 43 per cent of decided voters, which is quite close to the percentage experts believe is required to win a majority. The new survey shows the Conservatives with a 16 point lead over the Liberals, and a 40 point lead over the NDP.

The current popularity of the Conservative party can be explained by two factors. In the short term, there is a perception that the Conservative government handled the recent economic crisis rather responsibly, resulting in Canada’s faring relatively well in comparison to other western countries. In the long-term, and perhaps more importantly, the Conservative government has not adopted some of the more radically conservative right-wing policies that many believed their ascension to power in 2006 would bring. This has resulted in the people of Canada, or at least many of them, coming to realize that the Conservative Party is not as radically right-wing as they once thought. Combined with overall good and responsible governance, it is possible that after five years, they are finally replacing the Liberals, at least for now, as Canada’s natural party of government.

While the general good governance provided by Stephen Harper’s conservatives certainly contributed to the state of the current poll numbers, so too have the deficiencies in the two main opposition parties, the Liberals and the NDP. The Liberal party did far worse in the poll for a good reason. First and foremost, they have simply failed to articulate policies different enough from the Conservatives to warrant their election to government. Instead, they have chosen to harp on controversial, yet in terms of the big picture unimportant scandals such as the recent affair concerning Bev Oda and the NGO Kairos. Combined with the fact that Michael Ignatieff is still, in the eyes of many, simply not a believable leader, it is not surprising that the Liberal party only has the support of 27 per cent of decided voters, according to the poll.

With only 13 per cent of decided voter backing it, the NDP fared even worse. Simply put, the NDP is a joke.  During recent debates over the upcoming federal budget, the NDP stated a list of demands without bothering to even speculate their cost, or what sort of tax raises they would require. As well, the recent proposal by that party’s leader Jack Layton that a referendum be held regarding the abolition of the Canadian Senate, is an example of the sort of ill-conceived and irresponsible PR move that his party seems to be fond of. Combined with the fact that the NDP has for many years been failing to represent the working-class base that it was created to represent, it is not surprising that the NDP appears to be rapidly becoming a party increasingly on the verge of irrelevance.

The current popularity of the federal Conservatives, if it can be sustained, seems likely to result in their formation of a majority government in the next election. If that occurs, hopefully the first majority federal government in 7 years can make the sort of legislative progress that has been seemingly impossible under the past 3 minority governments.



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