According to the latest Strategic Counsel poll :
"The Conservatives are riding a wave of support that puts them on the verge of a majority government,driven by surging fortunes in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario outside the Greater Toronto Area.
"Stephen Harper's Tories now have a 10-point lead over the Liberals with 38 per cent of the popular vote versus 28 per cent for Paul Martin's Liberals. NDP support has risen slightly, now standing at 16 per cent. (BQ is at 12 per cent and Greens at 6 per cent.)
"The Conservatives are on the threshold of capturing seats in Quebec, a province that has been largely cool to the Tories for 13 years, as the province's support for the Bloc Québécois sags below 50 per cent for the first time in the campaign.
"Nationally, 58 per cent of Canadians say the Tories have momentum, up from 53 per cent in the previous polling period. Only 14 per cent of Canadians say the Liberals have momentum.
"Mr. Gregg said he hasn't seen momentum numbers like this since the 1993 election, which brought the Liberals back to power."This is a runaway train," he said.
"The Conservative tide that appears to be breaking in many regions is still meeting Liberal resistance in the Greater Toronto Area, the region covered by the 416 and 905 telephone area codes. Polling shows the Liberals lead the GTA in popular support over the Conservatives, 47 per cent to 34 per cent.
"But in Ontario outside the Greater Toronto Area, the Conservatives lead the Liberals 41 per cent to 35 per cent.
"Support continues to climb for the Conservatives in British Columbia, with the Tories rising six percentage points to 43 per cent in that province, while the Liberals fell four points to 24 per cent. The NDP rose one percentage point to 27 per cent and the Green Party dipped three percentage points to 6 per cent."
Today the Liberals and the NDP released their full election platforms. Virtually all of the Liberal proposals had been previosly released with the exception of a promise to oppose weaponization in space. Conspicuously missing from the Liberal platform was any reference to Paul Martin's English debate proposal to remove any possiblity of the federal government being able to invoke the Notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedom. The fact that the platform was printed that very day is abundant evidence that it was a fly-by-the-seat-of your-pants proposal dreamed up at the last minute in an unsuccessful attempt to sandbag Harper.
The NDP's Jack Laytonm also unveiled his party's campaign platform Wednesday, including $71.5 billion in spending over five years on social programs and tax breaks for the poor.
The platform's proposals include:
Home care for seniors and creation of long-term care spaces.
Legislation to stop the spread of private, for-profit health care.
Legislation to make politicians more accountable.
Other items included $20.1 billion over five years on tax breaks for low-income earners; $1 billion a year for a prescription drug plan, starting in 2007, and $16 billion over four years for child care and child tax benefits.
The NDP said funding for the proposals would come from cancelling corporate tax cuts promised by the Liberals.
Layton said the NDP emphasis on seniors, children and health care makes his party a true alternative to both the Liberals and Conservatives.
Stephen Harper had originally intended to release the Conservative platform today but deferred it because the Liberal and NDP platforms were being released on the same day. Campaigning in New Brunswick, Harper promised more help for cities.A Conservative government would keep the Liberals' "new deal" for cities and supplement it with $2 billion in funding,Harper said. Harper said he would stick with the proposal to transfer five cents a litre from the federal gasoline tax to municipalities.
The biggest campaign story today was the backlash against the new Liberals ads attacking Stephen Harper.The ads display an unflattering picture of Harper slowly coming into focus, accompanied by a militaristic drumbeat in the background.
They slam him on a number of issues. In one ad, the Liberals suggest Harper may have accepted donations from right-wing Americans for his leadership campaign, but offer no proof.
The Conservatives say the ads are blatantly false, personal attacks on Harper and desperate acts by a desperate party.
"As we predicted, the Liberals have stepped up their campaign of negative and personal attacks on our leader and our party," said Conservative National Campaign Co-Chair John Reynolds. "These latest ads are similar to the ads that we saw in the last campaign – guns pointed into people's faces and dishonest misrepresentations of our policies."
Indeed, not long after the ads were released, one that claimed Harper would would put more Canadian "soldiers with guns" in Canadian cities was yanked. Today this was the focus of major controversy as veterans and current members of the Canadian military spoke out stating that the ad falsely portrayed Canadian soldiers as agents of evil. Paul Martin pretended that the ad was never intended to be aired but CBC TV reported tonight that the ad was part of the package of 12 ads given to media outlets at 3PM yesterday. It was pulled at 7 PM when it became clear that the Liberals had made a major gaffe. Meanwhile the most offensive "soldiers" segment continues to play in French in Quebec where it is part of a blended ad.
Look forward to more desperate measures by the Liberals over the next twelve days as they attempt to slow the runaway train coming their way.
Meanwhile I leave you with a link to an excellent article in today's Toronto Star by Chantal Hebert
According to the latest Strategic Counsel poll :
Posted by cardinal47 at Wednesday, January 11, 2006