OTTAWA - Support for the federal Liberal party is crumbling, so much so that the New Democratic Party appears to have a realistic chance of forming the official Opposition, according to a new poll commissioned for Canwest News Service and Global National.
Thirty-nine per cent of the respondents said they would vote Conservative, about the same number as a similar poll a week ago. Just 23 per cent of respondents said they would vote Liberal, a drop of four percentage points in a week while 18 per cent would pick the NDP, a gain for that party of three percentage points.
Support for the Green party also climbed in the week, by two percentage points up to 11 per cent.
In the 2006 federal election, the Conservatives received 36 per cent of the popular vote compared to 30 per cent for the Liberals, 17 per cent for the NDP and five per cent for the Greens.
IV caffeine for the Liberal Party - stat!
I'm still not seeing a majority for the Cons and, as one commentator I heard on Friday said, when the battle is for the (mushy) middle, both the Liberals and Cons look very much the same. The inability of the Liberal party to clearly articulate its Green Shift plan which has been messaged by the Cons in 2 words, "tax increases", has created major problems for the Liberals as far as I'm concerned. And yes, there is the lack of charisma issue for Stephane Dion but it's not like Harper is Mr Personality unless you're into the nasty bullying type. Exhibit A: Harper accuses Liberals of rooting for recession.
Harper, preaching from Conservative bedrock in the Calgary heart of Alberta's oil patch, wrapped up a bruising week of campaigning Friday with a wrecking-ball performance.
"The other parties have clearly written off Alberta and don't mind using Alberta as a whipping boy from time to time, which I think is very unfortunate for our country," Harper opined to a receptive audience at the Calgary Winter Club.
Harper did not provide any examples.
Having stoked the fires of regional alienation, Harper went further, accusing Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion of "some of the most irresponsible behaviour of a Canadian political leader I've ever seen."
Harper's complaint? Dion's pointed criticism of Conservative economic policy and its impact on a flagging Canadian economy.
"Some Canadians think that in times of economic difficulties, you need to elect a right-wing government – right-wing governments are supposed to be good economic managers in their minds. But it's not true," Dion said Friday in Toronto.
"Each time you have Conservative governments, the economy is not going well. In fact, Tory times are tough times."
Harper, in turn, accused Dion of "trying to drive down confidence in the Canadian economy without foundation – and quite frankly sitting on the sidelines virtually cheering for there to be a recession."
And, as that article reminds readers:
Yet it was the Conservatives who spent much of the last year trash-talking Ontario and its investment climate.
Harper's finance minister Jim Flaherty famously said Ontario was the "last place" a tax-conscious business would invest, while Tory House leader Peter Van Loan repeatedly called Ontario's premier the ``small man of Confederation."
The glaring contradiction was not lost on Dion.
"Shame on him," the clearly inflamed Liberal leader said late Friday in Belmont, Ont.
"Do you want more of this? Do you think it's the way, in a democracy, to debate and to try to find the best solutions for our country?"
Meanwhile, back at the Harper ranch:
OTTAWA -- The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, indicated Friday that the Canadian economy was at risk unless voters gave the Conservative Party a "strong mandate" to govern on Oct. 14.
Emotional blackmail from Bush of the North. Who's driving down confidence again, Steve?
Here's the cover of the Calgary Sun that Calgarians woke up to on Friday:
Harper is standing by his man, Lee Richardson, stating that his blaming immigrants for crime just "isn't an issue among voters". And it probably isn't for xenophobic right-wingers who agree with that judgment but it certainly is for the rest of us.
On the Liberal front, Dion has turfed candidate Lesley Hughes. Ms Hughes learned about her forced resignation from a CBC News crew. Bad form, Mr Dion.
Provincial, territorial ministers bash culture cuts
The politics of resentment
Anybody-but-Harper movement hopes to catch fire
Transcript: Elizabeth May meets with Star editorial board
Layton pitches prescription drug program