Environmental policy is both the top priority of Canadian voters and the subject of the most dissatisfaction with government performance, according to a new poll.
The survey by Decima Research, released Thursday to The Canadian Press as Prime Minister Stephen Harper was switching environment ministers, found the environment to be the most pressing preoccupation of Canadians, eclipsing health care, the Afghanistan conflict, taxes and the economy, among other areas.
Some 19 per cent of respondents said the environment was the issue that concerned them most personally, followed by health care at 13 per cent.
Since a similar Decima survey in September, mentions of the environment as the top issue have jumped 13 percentage points.
Even the base isn't impressed:
In Alberta, a Conservative party stronghold, 27 per cent said the government was doing a good job on the environment and 61 per cent said a poor job. Among Tory voters, 32 per cent approved of the government's environmental record.
Dion had a strong appearance today on CBC, effectively arguing that the newly found environmental concern of the Harper government was a by-product of vote potential, as opposed to conviction. Most of today's pundit talk centered around the idea that the Conservatives were caught off guard by the rise of the environment as a big issue with Canadians. This fact is obviously true, but it does demonstrate that the Conservatives lack any independent recognition of the problem, and are basically reacting, rather than leading. This absence of true conviction should be exploited by the opposition, because we are about to enter the public relations phase where the Conservatives paint themselves green, with simplistic rhetoric to sell. The motivation is political survival and this distinction is important.
Baird started his interview today predictably, blaming Liberal inaction, 13 years, blah, blah, blah. This line of criticism absolves the last year, not to mention conveniently doesn't address the fact that the Conservatives had no environmental platform for all those years. If the Liberal record was such a disgrace, where was your alternative, or was it that you just didn't care? If Baird tries to beat the tired horse, he needs the inexcusable incompetence thrown right back, with no apologies. Canadians are paying attention, the dodge and weave doesn't work forever, surely year two demands some accountability.