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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics August 15, 2006
  Aug 15, 2006

A random sample of 2,300 Canadians coast to coast between August 5-14, 2006. This ROBBINS poll features a margin of error of 1.85%, 19 times out of 20 @99% competency. This poll was paid for in full by a wonderful small business called New Trend Optical in beautiful Port Coquitlam, British Columbia-proprietor Jim Van Rassel (604) 942-9300. Like ROBBINS Sce Research, New Trend is helping Canadians to see well. Show your support for New Trend by phoning Jim directly and telling him you read this poll (so he will keep giving us more money) Thank you!

Question #1
For which political party did you vote in the last federal general election?
Conservatives    35.2 %
Liberals    29.4 %
NDP    18.2 %
Bloc    11.3 %
Question #2
Is the softwood lumber deal a “very important issue” for you?
Yes    36 %
No    44 %
Undecided/Unsure    20 %
Question #3
The federal Conservative government likes the softwood lumber deal, however there is some Opposition to the deal from other political parties. There are elements of finance to the softwood deal which if voted upon in the House of Commons, would make it a matter of confidence, and thus could trigger an election. If a snap election is called nine months after the most recent federal election, in your opinion whose fault is it?
The Conservatives because they made a bad deal    42 %
The Opposition because they should have passed the deal    46.5 %
Unsure/Undecided    11.5 %
Question #4
-If the next federal general election was held one week from today, which political party would you vote for? *fully adjusted
Conservative party    38.08 %
Liberal party    30.41 %
NDP party    17.16 %
Bloc party    8.96 %
Green Party    5.35 %
Commentary
CPC has achieved a significant increase of public support in Quebec (29%) reflecting the tremendous efforts PM Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have invested in that Canadian province. Support for the CPC in Quebec in the last federal general election was (24.8%). Meanwhile support for the CPC is flat in Ontario (35.6%), slightly more than the (35.1%) support the party received in the last election. British Columbia reflects modest gains of (38.8%), up slightly from the last election where totals electoral outcomes were (37.3%). Conservative totals were down in Alberta (59%) from election totals of (65%). Increases in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces particularly New Brunswick provide the Conservatives with a solid political position right across Canada just prior to the House of Commons reconvening in September 2006.
The federal Liberal party is showing signs of a modest rebound in the Province of Quebec (23.1%) from the most recent federal election totals of (20.8%). The Liberal party has lost support in Ontario down to (36.4%) from (39.9%) in the most recent federal election. Liberals are floundering somewhat in British Columbia with (25.2%), down from (27.6%), however Liberals are enjoying a modest resurgence in Alberta particularly Edmonton with provincial voters affirming the party in one out of five responses.
The Conservative Party is nearly even with the Liberal Party in the Atlantic Provinces, making noticeable gains in that region of the country including Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Conservative numbers have increased modestly in Nova Scotia, but Conservatives are hard pressed (owing to Liberal and NDP support) to grow a more significant power base in this province which along with New Brunswick reflects approximately 75% of voter turn-out in the region. Both Conservatives and Liberals need to redouble efforts in the province of Newfoundland which historically produces lower than average voter turn-outs, and is currently being plagued by calls of government corruption. PEI is not yet turning to the Conservatives even though they have a previous history of success there.
The NDP party is hovering around (21%) in the province of Ontario and remains respectable in BC with (27.1%) support, but has lost some support in the Atlantic Provinces, and the Prairie Provinces as well as Quebec.
The Green Party currently has more support in Quebec than the NDP Party does. The Green Party has its highest support in the nation in this poll in the province of Alberta at 09%. Why don’t the Greens join the New Democrats or vice versa?
Does this reflect a collective ‘guilty conscience’ or are more Albertans reflecting more progressive contemplation of conservation demand, particularly with the provincial treasury brimming over with cash?
The Conservative Party appears to have the hammer in three emerging political options particularly as this relates to softwood lumber:
One, if the forest industry and consulted provinces do not support the softwood deal, and the deal is rejected, the consequences of this politically fall more on others and less on the government, according to respondents in this poll.
Any further legal victories on behalf of Canada will remain insufficient against Democratic political pressure in the United States particularly with coming elections in November. It is doubtful that individual forest companies will realize success in litigation between now and another federal election given the implications of Court Appeals on time.
If the deal is not ratified by interested third parties any subsequent news reports relating to this file will likely only serve to annoy voters further who are “sick” of the softwood lumber dispute, and who, if they are actually focused on the issue, believe that settlement monies will be going to businesses and not to ‘them’, and as a consequence do not (and will not) understand why the Opposition or other interested parties are frustrating a conclusion to the deal.
However public perception could also cut another way as voters who may not fully understand the relevance of ‘elements of finance’ within the context of the current softwood deal, and hence the relationship between this and the responsibility of the government to go to the electorate if the vote fails, may be led to believe that the Conservatives engineered circumstances under which they might call a snap election before the Liberal party is fully back on its feet. This public perception could materially decide the composition in the House of Commons following another national vote. Because the softwood lumber dispute is longstanding, it is considered a frustrating experience with Canadians and a reminder of years of political strife at the end of the Liberal’s time in office, and a continuation of the debate is unlikely to cultivate a sense of voter renewal in the federal Liberal party at a time when they need to take a ‘fresh step’ as a viable political party.
Communications personnel with all parties will be hard at work over the next few weeks.
ROBBINS reports that lumber independents and brokers unequivocally want the deal, suggesting that politics more than practical decision making is driving this debate.
Two, the forest industry and provinces support the deal and the Opposition parties turn it down in the House of Commons. Political wrangling over the deal will thus rest with the Opposition parties from which the Conservative government may gain or lose significantly. Again, the softwood controversy harkens back to the more troubled years of the last Liberal regime, and the Liberal party needs to distance itself from that history. ROBBINS believes from this angle the Liberals have more to lose than the Conservatives.
Three, the House passes the softwood lumber deal which potentially hurts federal Liberal candidate Bob Rae’s chances of winning the Liberal leadership race since he took the courageous (or foolish) step of speaking against the deal. If the majority of Liberals vote against the deal Bob Rae becomes the leadership frontrunner. If the majority of the Liberal MP’s vote against the deal, AND the deal does not pass, than Bob Rae is the next Liberal leader, the party takes a fresh step in its history, and the Liberals potentially increase its voter base and seat composition in the House of Commons, but do not defeat Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
Insight-The Conservatives have performed well in the first seven months of office under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with modest increases reflected in this poll. The Prime Minister has visited the front lines of Afghanistan and in a rare instance for a political leader of a major nation placed his own airplane in the midst of hostilities to save Canadian citizens some of whom are dubious citizens.
ROBBINS is aware of at least a dozen Lebanese Canadians in the late 1990’s who spent tens of thousands on charge cards here in Canada, and took their purchases back with them to Lebanon with no intention of paying for them. Certainly our country doesn’t need some of these bolt-holers or what the National Post calls “Holiday Inn Canadians”, when there are many wonderful people in other real countries who would love to live here and would respect our country and show a little gratitude when we come to save them.
Prime Minister Harper has kept his promises and has made significant inroads and certainly developed better relations with the citizens of Quebec and ethnic minorities, which is reflected in the gains the party has made since the last federal election. The hole that is the Conservative’s environmental policy is likely filled in October with what political insiders tell ROBBINS is what is expected to be an impressive and comprehensive environmental strategy. Will this help to push Conservative totals well over the 40% totals for national support?
The softwood lumber deal has been a point of frustration for all Canadians, and notwithstanding some of the alleged shortcomings of the deal, this chapter ought to be closed with Canada looking to increase its leverage over the U.S by the time this deal has been concluded. America’s need for Canadian resources and diplomatic credibility are a good place to start. PM Harper has a right to claim far greater recognition for his work as Canada’s leader than he has received. This includes his stalwart efforts on foreign policy files, his desire to secure sovereignty in the Arctic region of the country, and his ability to better unite all regions of Canada ultimately proving at this early point in his career that he is already a better Prime Minister for all of Canada than either Jean Chrétien or Paul Martin were particularly as this relates to Mr. Harper’s zeal in pursuing Canada’s northern sovereignty. The CBC quotes PM Harper (on the subject of Artic sovereignty) as saying “Sovereignty over one’s territory is not a theoretical concept…it is earned and it is retained by being present, by having planes in the air, ships in the sea and, most importantly, boots on the ground.”
This type of leadership exhibited by the Prime Minister is translating into greater support amongst all types of Canadians from coast to coast, and contrasts with the screeching from some Hollywood types and other political Faustus attending the very important Global AIDS summit in Toronto Canada, who condemn the Prime Minister for attending to paramount national business (ironically which the United States has been frustrating) and appropriately sending the Lieutenant Governor Michaelle Jean, (the Queen’s representative in Canada) (and a person of Haitian descent-and a very intelligent and impressive woman) and federal Health Minister Tony Clement in his stead.
Thankfully, these dreadful and embarrassing antics by far too many activists were reclaimed somewhat by the practical and necessary HIV/AIDS framework for the future advocated by Bill and Melinda Gates on behalf of their tremendous foundation. Although it may not conventional, the Conservative government should seriously think of allocating resources to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as these are people who are serious about ameliorating the HIV/AIDS problem and not just about playing big drama politics. Attempting to shame, humiliate or embarrass our Prime Minister when the problem lies squarely with prevention, and lack of use of protection by ignorant males in Africa, the Caribbean etc., might be better assisted by asking the Pope and other clergy to abandon the death sentence of exhorted abstinence and encouraging the use of condoms. ROBBINS asks ‘why would we want our Prime Minister sharing the same stage as a Hollywood actor who once played a rich man who {ironical to this situation} falls in love with a prostitute? Was this Hollywood’s precursor to the Da Vinci Code?
Who the hell do these organizers think they are?
This poll suggests the Conservative Party of Canada is currently in a position to win, or come close to winning a majority government if a snap election is called. If the softwood deal goes to the House and does not pass, the Prime Minister will go to the people and if he doesn’t win a majority his party will come close.
In any scenario it appears the focus of media and public attention on world affairs including the Middle East, increased terrorist threats (which have made most Canadians extremely angry), and overwhelming concerns for global warming has increased a sense of nationalism in the country not witnessed in many years, with the aggregate affect of this a decline in support for the Bloc Quebecois in La Belle Province, as concerns for Quebec self-interest diminish amidst World chaos.
You heard it here first!
Glen P. Robbins (604) 942-3757 -30-

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