2006/01/21

The Election: Day 54 (The Final Gasp)

Last night I posted the results from several polls which show the Conservatives with a clear lead heading into the final two days of the campaign. Today one pollster , Darrell Bricker of Ipsos Reid, said that a strong Conservative minority government is now certain. The Ipsos Reid survey indicates Canadians are ready to elect a strong minority Conservative government Monday with a solid NDP check on its power.
The survey also indicates the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois are in a neck-and-neck race to become the official Opposition.

The Tories lead the Liberals 38% to 26%. Liberal support is declining while the NDP appears to be gaining in support.

Ipsos Reid projects the Conservatives could win 143 to 147 seats. The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois could get 59 to 63 seats each, and the NDP 39 to 43 seats, more than double the number in the 2004 election.

The bulk of the NDP's gains, as many as 15 to 20 ridings, are anticipated to be in Ontario, where the party is poised to pick off seats from the Liberals in northern Ontario, as well as the Hamilton and Windsor areas. Paul Martin's call for progressive voters to unite appears to be backfiring in favour of the NDP.

In British Columbia, Conservative support rose five points to 35%, and the NDP climbed four points to 29%. The Liberals dropped one point to 27%, and the Green party fell nine points to seven per cent.

Jack Layton has spent the past couple of days in B.C. attempting to capitalize on the Liberal collapse. Layton called on voters to abandon what he predicted will be the "smoking hulk" of a defeated Liberal party.

"Mr. Martin is trying to perpetrate one more Liberal fraud in this election, hoping you'll reward him one more time with your vote," Layton said in Vancouver. "He says you have to hold your nose and vote Liberal. Again he's saying this. Well Paul, it's not working this time."

Layton is on a cross-country blitz today, with stops in Regina, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London and Hamilton.

Paul Martin undertook a last-minute sprint across the country categorizing his opponents as extreme right-wingers who bear no resemblance to the Conservative party of old. His warnings of a right-wing agenda have had little or no impact on the Tory lead in the polls. Still Martin keeps ranting about "the ultra-conservative, extreme right-wing agenda of Stephen Harper." In Brampton, Ont., Martin claimed a Conservative government would imperil abortion rights. He delivered the warning - aimed squarely at women voters - surrounded by eight of his Toronto-area female candidates. But the most telling point, illustrating Martin's hypocrisy, was the absence of local Liberal candidates who share the anti-abortion leanings of many Conservatives.

Martin keeps flogging the abortion issue even though Stephen Harper has repeatedly said he would not introduce abortion legislation and would use his influence to keep the issue from ever arriving for a free vote in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile Harper renewed his attack on Liberal corruption, accusing Paul Martin of evading crucial questions:

"He has not provided Canadians a single compelling reason why his government should be re-elected and he has utterly failed to answer three important questions," Harper said. "Mr. Martin, where is the missing money? Mr. Martin, why do the scandals such as income trusts keep happening? Mr. Martin, how after two referendum defeats could you let separation get back onto the national agenda?" Harper asked.

"He's dodged these questions because the answers to these questions all point to the corruption of the Liberal party."

In Quebec the Bloc Québécois launched a last-minute ad campaign urging Quebecers not to vote for the Conservatives, telling them the party is more concerned with looking after interests in Western Canada. The ad shows a cowboy hat and says, in French, "We won't let Calgary decide for Quebec."

So the battle lines are drawn. On Monday we the voters will determine the outcome.

2 comments:

Morley said...

The Great Pretender can stop pretending. he didn't have what it takes to be PM. Consumed by ambition, in the end he had no vision for the country. His views were as changeable as the winds. Now a gust from the voters will send him sailing into retirement. Good riddance!

Dipper said...

I hope the NDP get enough seat to keep a Conservative minority honest and protect social programs.