Saturday, March 01, 2008

That Other Election Issue

While people debate whether or not the Liberals should go to an election over the Cadman affair, there is another developing issue that could help the Liberal cause. Everyone knows, the key for the Liberals is Ontario, if they are too defeat the government. A recent poll that gauges opinion regarding the war of words between the federal government and the provincial Liberals suggests fertile ground for the argument that Ontario is not a priority for this government:
A new poll suggests Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has a lot of public support in his continuing feud with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey looked at the war of words between the two politicians, in which Mr. McGuinty accuses Mr. Flaherty of concentrating too much on the oil-and-gas sector, and giving short shrift to troubled manufacturers.

Nationally, the poll suggests 47 per cent of respondents sided with Mr. McGuinty, with only 27 per cent backing Mr. Flaherty.

In Ontario, the poll found 56 per cent support for the Premier and 25 per cent for the minister.

The survey suggested 39 per cent of Albertans backed Mr. Flaherty, with only 27 per cent backing Mr. McGuinty.

I suspect the national support for McGuinty is helped by Quebecers, who are also concerned about their manufacturing base. In Ontario, the numbers are overwhelming for McGuinty, Flaherty's attacks are clearly failing. Interestingly, Flaherty apparently didn't get the memo, as he was at it again just yesterday:
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty launched a post-budget blitz today by lecturing provinces on the need to lower taxes and taking a swipe at Premier Dalton McGuinty for making Ontario "the last place" in Canada to start a business.

This poll tells us a few things, all of which are good news for the Liberals. The Conservatives have made this a partisan fight with the Premier of Ontario, and in that sense, he may well have a role to play in the national campaign. McGuinty's presence could clearly be a plus in this regard, as he enjoys great support in arguing Ontario's case, pointing out the disporportionate focus of the government. McGuinty can make the case on the economy, as well as on the Conservative seat-distribution proposal, which clearly works against Ontario, the "small man of confederation" could play a big role in weaving a coherent theme of bias against Ontario.

These results also reveal, in quite stark terms, that Ontarians don't believe the federal government has their interests at heart. This nervousness provides the basic theme of any Liberal campaign, as they can clearly fill the void in Ontario. If Dion can make the case, he has a willing audience, which allows for some optimism.


Anonymous said...

Good observation. If the Liberals oppose the Tories efforts to undermine the Wheat Board this would provide a campaign issue for the prairies. The Cadman affair might be the bow on a Liberal election package.

Mushroom said...

If you look at David Akin's blog at, you will notice that there are people from the Importers and Exporters Association that are very unhappy about this budget. Knowing that there are many of them struggling in small businesses in the 905 belt, Flaherty needs to tone it down.

Sunny Jim, stop campaigning for your wife in her quest to be Ontario Premier in 2011. By then, you may become a househusband running your tort liability business in Whitby-Oshawa rather than Finance Minister!!!!

wilson said...

There's also the CWB issue. Read somewhere that the legislation will be tabled Monday. I'm hoping it is a confidence vote.

And then of course. after the Liberals abstain once again,
PMSH can go to the GG and ask parliament be dissolved, due to the opposition insisting the Prime Minister is a liar, and acted in a criminal manner.

wilson said...

outside of the immunity of the House, on the election trail, will Libs call PMSH a liar and a criminal>.

Steve V said...

" I'm hoping it is a confidence vote."

Me too, I was listening to an interview with a reporter in Saskatchewan, who said it would cost the Conservatives votes. Sure, the Alberta farmers are in support of choice, but last time I checked, you can't win anymore seats in Alberta.

clh said...

wilson said: "outside of the immunity of the House, on the election trail, will Libs call PMSH a liar and a criminal"

I really don't think they have to. The media seems pretty interested in trying to reconcile the Cadman family's account with Harper's, and also Harper's current position with what he said on tape in 2005.

If we do go into an election, I would hope the Liberals would focus on their platform and vision for Canada. If Harper went on about his transparency and accountability again, then, sure they could replay a few tapes.

wilson said...

Sask's newly elected government campaigned on removing barley from the CWB, curious the reporter thinks it's a vote loser.

Not that you are really interested, but here's a taste of what western farmers get from a Liberal government:

'...On Oct. 31, thirteen farmers were arrested in Alberta for the crimes stemming from various incidents in 1996 of selling their own wheat to their own private customers.
In one case, the alleged crime was the result of a farmer donating a bushel of wheat to a charity in Montana; he served 61 days in jail for the offence, while others served sentences ranging from 24 to 180 days...'

Steve V said...

"Sask's newly elected government campaigned on removing barley from the CWB, curious the reporter thinks it's a vote loser."

Many Conservative voters don't want to change the CWB, you risk losing farmers who were already your base. Sure you keep a lot of them, but you are essentially eroding some of your core support.

In Manitoba, farmers are decidely against the attacks on the CWB, again those are voters who are normally inclined to vote Con, on an issue this important, they will not support them. There is ZERO political gain for the Cons on this issue, like I said you can't expand your seat total in Alberta, but you could threaten others in Man and Sask. Seems pretty intuitive from here, you are splitting your core vote. Go for it I say, it's sheer stupidity.