August 2008 Archives

Speech from the Throne

Quote from Hansard:

At 10:15 p.m., Her Excellency the Governor General having come and being seated upon the Throne —

The Hon. the Speaker said:

Usher of the Black Rod,

Proceed to the House of Commons and acquaint that House that it is the pleasure of Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada that they attend her immediately in the Senate chamber.

The House of Commons arrives,

Their Speaker, the Hon. Peter Milliken, said:

May it please Your Excellency,

The House of Commons has elected me their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me, and not to the Commons, whose servant I am, and who, through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duty to their Queen and Country, humbly claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to Your Excellency’s person at all seasonable times, and that their proceedings may receive from Your Excellency the most favourable construction.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker of the Senate answered:

Mr. Speaker, I am commanded by Her Excellency the Governor General to declare to you that she freely confides in the duty and attachment of the House of Commons to Her Majesty’s Person and Government, and not doubting that their proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and prudence, she grants, and upon all occasions will recognize and allow, their constitutional privileges. I am commanded also to assure you that the Commons shall have ready access to Her Excellency upon all seasonable occasions and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from her the most favourable construction.

[English]

Speech from the Throne

Her Excellency the Governor General was then pleased to open the First Session of the Fortieth Parliament with the following speech:

Honourable Members of the Senate,

Members of the House of Commons,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

And everybody watching at home:

As the representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I am honoured to welcome the newly elected members of the House of Commons on the occasion of the opening of the First Session of the Fortieth Parliament of Canada.

As is traditional for this position, my task today is to read the speech prepared by the right honourable prime minister, before the combined assembly of the House of Commons and the Senate. At my first throne speech, I was given the opportunity to add a few words of my own at the start of the speech, an opportunity I greatly appreciated, as I appreciate here.

[Translation]

Doubtless some people think it odd, even funny, that the Head of State of this country would be obliged to read a speech on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, that was written by someone else. Thus the elected representatives of this country have the power to get Her Majesty’s representative to say absolutely anything, so I can understand how the temptation to play with that power might be irresistible.

[English]

Therefore, I must begin by saying, I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout.

Hon. Senators (Interjection): Oh! Oh!

Right Hon. Prime Minister (Interjection): You’re supposed to move your hands!

The Hon. the Speaker said: Order!

Her Excellency, the Governor General: I only have to read it. I don’t have to act it out. That’s the limit of my constitutional obligations. I checked.

Now, if I may continue.

Two days ago, the Canadian people elected a new government. The Government is honoured and humbled by the responsibility it has been given, and it will not shirk that responsibility. Two days ago, the Canadian people voted for change, a change in the attitude both in and around parliament, and we will implement that change.

[Translation]

Our first act, to be introduced at the sitting of the House later today, will be to insert the word “fun” in all Acts of Parliament, from which it is conspicuously absent. Once accomplished, we will call a meeting of First Ministers, to begin negotiations to insert the word in Acts of Provincial Legislatures, and the Bylaws of municipalities, thus preventing a fun imbalance in this great land.

We anticipate a hectic session in parliament as we strive to implement the policies Canadians have chosen, but we believe that there is no time like the present. Some of our policies, such as repealing the law of gravity, will take time to implement, possibly with significant investment in quantum physics institutes, but we can signal our intentions as early as today to make this country a leader in bold an outrageous policies to change the world — nay, the Universe!

[English]

In conclusion, the previous government said it would not try to do all things at once. That showed an unfortunate inability to multitask. During this fortieth parliament, the Government will bring forward policies that will change the way Canadians think about their politicians, about politics in general, and the strength of their democracy.

[Translation]

Honourable Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Commons: May Divine Providence guide your deliberations.

[English]

And may God help us all.


The sitting of the Senate was resumed.

2008 Election Results

2008 Election Results
Party
Leading
Elected
Total
Votes
Vote %
RHI
0
160
160
5,543,437
30.5%
CON
0
69
69
4,180,296
23.0%
LIB
0
41
41
3,725,916
20.5%
BLOC
0
19
19
1,015,993
5.59%
NDP
0
17
17
2,271,900
12.5%
GRN
0
2
2
1,135,950
6.25%
OTH
0
0
0
301,708
1.66%

Prime Minister Elect Brian Salmi

A great man once said ‘I have but two things to say to you: Celery and Sidewalk. Thank you, good night.’

(cheers)

We are humbled by the verdict Canadian voters handed down. Humbled and a bit flabbergasted. I think it’s safe to say that nobody in this country expected to find me here, talking to so many cameras, and so many Canadians. I do not take this honour lightly.

However, Canadians sent a message to Ottawa tonight, a message that rang out loud and clear. Myself, and the 159 other members of the Rhinoceros Party who will make up our caucus, will carry that message to Ottawa. We will not be intimidated by the size of the stones on Parliament Hill, or the paintings in the chambers of power. Canadians want us in Ottawa, so we will proceed to Ottawa with due haste.

I have communicated with the Governor General, and with outgoing prime minister Stephen Harper. It is my pleasure to tell you that we will head to Ottawa first thing tomorrow, to swear ourselves in and get down to the business of government. Parliament Hill won’t know what hit it.

You may think that tonight was a historic night, and it was. But to quote those great philosophers, Bachmann Turner Overdrive, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Hit it!

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper

stephen-harper-2008-08-26.jpg

My fellow Canadians, even before my time in public life, I have had foremost a respect for the wisdom of the electorate. True enough, I haven’t always agreed with the outcome of your collective decision - and tonight, I must admit, is one of those nights - but I have accepted that when the broad consensus of an election night is reached, it is surely the Canadian people who know what’s best for Canada, not me. I won’t pretend that I am not disappointed with tonight’s results; I can’t pretend that I anticipated them either. But I accept them and appreciate the message you have sent us.

I have been your Prime Minister for nearly two years. It is the highest honour that can be bestowed to a fellow citizen and each day I woke up humbled by the trust you placed in the Conservative party and its leader. I do not look back at these past years with regret or disappointment. I am a proud of our achievements. In a short time, our government introduced the most significant anti-corruption legislation passed in Canada’s history; we advanced the cause of aboriginal Canadians further than had been done in the past generation; we launched the rebuilding of our woefully neglected military; we resolved trade disputes that lingered for decades; we returned to the Arctic and the world. All the while, our economy boomed, joblessness fell and our fiscal house never looked stronger.

I am proud of our government and proud of our party.

Fellow members of the Conservative party,

From you, your tireless efforts and your boundless creativity, I have drawn immense inspiration. In tonight’s defeat you should draw no lessons. You fought the good fight, you ran to the last mile. I believe in the Conservative party and I believe in the ideas that make the conservative movement in Canada. I believe in you. There is only one conclusion I can draw in from this campaign: I failed you. Effective immediately, I resign from my post as leader of this great party so that we can renew ourselves and take government once more and soon. Make no mistake, I am not resigning and withdrawing. I am here with you, fellow Canadians, fellow conservatives, to soldier on and make Canada a great place.

God Bless Canada and thank you very much.

Mes cher Liberaux,

I’d like to thank you all for being here tonight. I’ve been on the road campaigning from coast to coast to coast this campaign so I haven’t had the chance to thank the hard working volunteers of St.Laurent Cartierville. So, merci. Merci beaucoup! It’s been my honour to represent the citizens of St.Laurent Cartierville for the past dozen years. I will continue to fight for your concerns in Ottawa for the next four.

I’d also like to offer my sincere gratitude to the men and women who ran under the Liberal banner. I’d like to thank the men and women who knocked on doors, pounded in signs, and made phone calls. There are over 40 Liberal MPs who owe you their gratitude for getting them elected and hundreds more who are equally grateful for your work. Even if they didn’t all win, every candidate I’ve talked to was proud to run as a Liberal and fight for the Canada we wanted.

And remember, mes chers amis, what we fought for, was worth fighting for.

Social Justice. This is the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is the party of same sex marriage. This is the party of child care.

Economic Sustainability. This party restored Canada’s finances after the Mulroney years. The work of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin has not been in vain and every day Canadians benefit from the decisions they made during our 13 years in power.

And, the environment. We went out there every day for the first week of the campaign talking about the need for action on the climate change crisis facing the world. We gave Canadians a green plan and talked about the need for environmental sustainability. We can all be proud of that.

We all know this wasn’t the night we’d hoped. Canadians sent a message to ALL parties tonight. A message that they are sick of politics as usual. Sick of rhetoric. Sick of hollow promises. The Liberal Party has heard this message loud and clear and we will respond.

I can assure you all, that the Liberal Party is not going anywhere. This party has done so much for Canada over the years from Laurier, to King, to St.Laurent, to Pearson, to Trudeau, to Turner, to Chretien, to Martin…we will be back. Don’t anyone doubt that.

I have called the leader of the Rhinoceros Party and conceded. I wish him the bets of luck and offered him whatever help he needed in governing Canada. Quebecers rejected separatism tonight and Canadians from coast to coast rejected the current government. We need to spend the next four years convincing voters that we are ready to govern again. Voters didn’t feel that way this time and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to renew this party. I can assure you that I will put all my energy into rebuilding this party. However, it will not be as the Liberal leader. In the next few days I will consult with the party executive to plan for a leadership contest - I will stay on as interim leader but it will be up to someone else to lead us back to power.

I’d like to thank all Liberals for their support over the years. And, above all else, I’d like to thank my wife for standing by my side. Je t’aime cherie!

I will always be proud to be a Liberal.

Vive le Canada!

The Leader of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Jack Layton

Good evening, my friends.

Well, never let it be said that the people of Canada don’t have the power to effect change.

My fellow Canadians, this has been a historic night.

For the first time in the history of this country, Canadian voters rose up and delivered a message to the established parties. They said no more to politics as usual. And by golly, did they ever get what they asked for.

I must say, I am disappointed by the results.

I will be honest with you, however. While Canadians have punished the New Democratic Party to a lesser extent than the Conservatives and Liberal parties, they were clear in their message: we need to work much harder in respecting and understanding the wishes of ordinary Canadians.

My friends, the New Democratic Party has devoted itself to serving the needs of ordinary Canadians. We were instrumental in the creation of Medicare. We fought things that benefit Canadians as a whole, such as labour standards, clean air, child care, and social justice.

But Canadians have come to disbelieve in the credibility of politicians of all stripes. It’s not enough to champion what we believe Canadians want; we have to learn to listen, to hear what Canadians actually want.

The New Democratic Party is in a unique position to do this; to reinvent politics to serve Canadians instead of politicians. We believe that the electoral system needs to be changed to reflect the will of Canadians; that a better code of conduct needs to be implemented in our Parliament, one that removes the childish insults of Parliamentary Debates; and that the unrepresentative Senate needs to be abolished.

Therefore it is up to us to take advantage of NDP’s desire for meaningful change, to remodel ourselves into what Canadians need us to be. We must be open to new ideas, or we must get out of the way. And to that end, I shall get out of the way.

I have notified our party president of my intention to resign as the leader of the New Democratic Party. I will hand over power to an interim leader, to be decided by NDP Caucus and Federal Council, who will hold power until a leadership convention can be held. I do this with regret, but with confidence.

We’ve had setbacks before, and we’ve always returned, revitalized, reinvigorated. Soon, we shall be back.

So, tonight, let us celebrate our achievements, and tomorrow, plan our rebirth. Thank you and good night.

The Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, the Honourable Gilles Duceppe

(Translated from French)

My friends… My friends…

Tonight we have suffered a great blow. Tonight, we have lost seats and we have lost influence. There is no escaping that fact. There is no shame in it either. We fought a hard campaign. We fought a disciplined campaign. We took our message to the people of Quebec and the people of Quebec listened. And they disagreed with us.

That’s life. That’s democracy. We have to respect that fact, even if we do not appreciate it. Or understand it. We serve the people, so we respect their judgement.

There is a fault line in parliamentary democracy. It comes in the form of the undecided, of the disgruntled voter, of the individual who chooses not to vote. For several elections, we have seen voter turnout slide lower and lower, and through it all, we have said that silence equals consent. We are like the people beside the San Andreas fault who say that no movement today means no movement ever.

But today, the people of Quebec have spoken, along with the people of the nation of Canada, and they have given us all a stern judgement. Every party has suffered, shaken apart by an earthquake down the fault line of Canadian politics. Institutions have toppled.

Tomorrow, Quebeckers and Canadians will have to wake up, and assess the damage their judgement has done. They may not like what they see. But I will not be around to tell them I told them so. They have made their decision and they will live with it. And they have told me that I am not the one who can deliver their future. Therefore, effective immediately, I must resign my position as leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

This party needs to do some soul searching, as do all parties, as do I think the people of Quebec. Whatever we decide, whatever Quebeckers decide, we will see a new political order emerge, governed by the wishes of the people of Quebec. Perhaps the old parties will adjust to this reality, or perhaps new parties will form.

Of one thing I am certain: Quebeckers showed the power they still wield over the political process. Therefore they have the power to reform it, and have expressed the strongest interest to do so. I regret I cannot be a part of that. But it will be an interesting future.

Bonne chance, Quebec. And good night.

Polls Show Conservative Momentum, Continued Volatility

TORONTO, August 24 — Polls suggest the Conservatives have gained momentum as the polls draw near, but with an unusually high number of undecided voters, the election is still too close to call.

National numbers put the Conservatives in the lead with 33.6% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 26.9%, the NDP at 21.7%, the Greens at 10.1% and the Bloc Quebecois at 7.71%. The Bloc Quebecois continue to lead in Quebec with 32.4% of decided voters, followed by 25.2% for the Conservatives and 22.7% for the Liberals. The NDP and the Greens round out the list at 12.7% and 6.9% respectively.

The Conservatives are continuing their free-fall in Atlantic Canada, taking only 13.9% of the vote compared to the Liberals 49.2%, the NDP’s 23.9% and the Greens’ 13.1%. These fortunes are mirrored in Alberta where the Liberals find themselves at 12.6%, marginally ahead of the Greens at 12.1%. The Conservatives lead that province with 52.1% of decided voters with the NDP in second place at 23.2%.

The best news for the Conservatives comes in the battleground province of Ontario, where they have widened their lead to ten points. The Conservatives are now polling at 39%, compared to the Liberals 29.8%, the NDPs’ 21.1% and the Greens’ 10.1%. On the other hand, the NDP have widened their lead in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, polling at 35% compared to the Conservatives 30% and the Liberals’ 24%. A Tight race remains in British Columbia, where Green support has dropped, but no clear winner has emerged.

“The numbers are definitely polling the Conservatives’ way, outside of the Atlantic provinces,” says pollster Allen Reid. “If trends continue, they stand a good chance of increasing their seat totals, although they are nowhere near majority territory.”

Reid cautions, however, that the high number of undecided votes could lead to surprises on election night. “Forty percent of respondents have not decided. They could stay at home, or they could make their decision at the ballot box. If they all track one way, it could render all of our best polls completely obsolete.”

These numbers are considered accurate to within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

      Atlantic   Quebec   Ontario   Man/Sask  Alberta      BC     National
CON    13.85%    25.23%    39.01%    30.83%    52.11%    30.42%    33.63%
LIB    49.23%    22.69%    29.79%    24.17%    12.63%    26.67%    26.91%
NDP    23.85%    12.73%    21.13%    35.00%    23.16%    30.42%    21.68%
GRN    13.08%     6.94%    10.07%    10.00%    12.11%    12.50%    10.07%
BQ      0.00%    32.41%     0.00%    0.00%      0.00%     0.00%     7.71%


Sample   220       720      1200      200       300       400

Party Support Shifts as Regions Polarize

TORONTO, August 20 — After four weeks of campaigning, the opinion polls are finally showing movement. The Conservatives are benefitting the most from this, having now taken a four point lead in the National polls, although this good news is tempered by a cratering of support in the Atlantic provinces.

Nationally, the Conservatives sit at 32.1% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 28.4%, the NDP at 21%, the Greens at 10.2% and the Bloc Quebecois at 8.3%. In the Atlantic provinces, however, Conservative support has dropped sharply, from 19.3% to 16.2% in the space of a week. The Liberal lead has increased to 51.5% and the NDP maintain second spot with 21.5% of decided voters. Green Party support has also increased, to 10.8%.

“The Atlantic provinces seem to be turning away from the governing Conservatives,” said pollster Allen Reid. “Given the rise of the Green’s fortunes, I have to think that Peter MacKay might be a little worried right now.”

But the news was worse for the Liberals. The Tories have moved ahead in Ontario, with 36.2%, followed by the Liberals at 33.3%, the NDP at 20.6% and the Green Party at 9.9%. Further, Liberal support is cratering in Alberta, down to 14.7%, well behind the Conservatives at 51.6%, and within sight of the Green Party at 11%. The NDP remain in second place at 22.6%.

“With Liberal support is remaining stagnant elsewhere, it’s looking less and less likely that the party can overtake the Conservatives,” says Reid. “It would take a significant gaffe on the part of the Conservatives or a significant shift in Liberal strategy to turn things around, and given how the campaign is going, I don’t see that happening.”

The Liberals and the Conservatives did post modest gains in Quebec, however, where the Bloc Quebecois have slipped over a percentage point to 34.7% of decided voters. The Conservatives are in second place at 23.6% and the Liberals close behind them at 22%.

“What should be disturbing for the Bloc Quebecois is that Liberal and Conservative support are coming from different parts of the province,” says Reid. “Liberal support is concentrated in Montreal, whereas Conservative support is stronger elsewhere. They’re not competing against each other, but against the Bloc, and that means that their numbers are a lot stronger than the overall provincial numbers suggest. Bloc support is at the lowest level of the campaign.”

The NDP continues to post respectable numbers throughout the country, save for Quebec. They lead in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with 34.1% of the decided vote and are tied for first place in BC with 30% of the decided vote.

Over 3000 Canadians were sampled over a week. The numbers are considered accurate to within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

       Atlantic   Quebec   Ontario   Man/Sask  Alberta      BC     National     
CON     16.15%    23.61%    36.17%    30.00%    51.58%    30.00%    32.14% 
LIB     51.54%    21.99%    33.33%    25.00%    14.74%    25.42%    28.40%
NDP     21.54%    12.27%    20.57%    34.17%    22.63%    30.00%    21.02%
GRN     10.77%     7.41%     9.93%    10.83%    11.05%    14.58%    10.18%
BLQ      0.00%    34.72%     0.00%     0.00%     0.00%     0.00%     8.26%

Sample    220       720      1200       200       300       400      3040

Conservatives Gain Strength in Ontario, Lose Support in Atlantic

TORONTO, August 13 — The first opinion polls taken after the leaders’ debate suggest a slight improvement of Conservative fortunes outside of the Atlantic provinces. Nationally, the Conservatives command the support of 31.5% of decided voters, compared to 30.8% a week ago. The Liberals have 28.9% of popular support compared to 30% a week ago. The NDP are up slightly at 20.9% and the Greens are steady at 10.3%. Nationally, the Bloc Quebecois have upped their support from 8.1% to 8.5%.

In Quebec, the numbers translated into an increase in Bloc support from 35.7% to 36.1% while the Liberals and the Conservatives held steady at around 22-23%. In Ontario, however, the Conservatives have moved into a statistical tie with the Liberals, taking 34.5% of the popular vote compared to the Liberals’ 34.8%.

“There were no knockout punches during the leaders’ debates, as everyone ran a tight ship,” says pollster Allen Reid. “But this situation favours the government as the incumbent player. Nobody has been given much reason to pick someone else.”

The Conservatives good news was tempered by bad numbers coming out of the Atlantic provinces, where popular support dropped by another percent, from 20.7% last week to 19.3% this week. The Liberals crept ever higher to 49.6%. “The Green numbers are picking up as well,” says Reid, “and you have to wonder where that translates. Perhaps Peter MacKay’s seat is not as safe as he thinks it is after all. And the Conservatives seem to have been hurt by the Atlantic Accord.”

The Liberal fortunes in the Atlantic were counterbalanced by slippage in Alberta, where they now stand in third place at 16%, compared to 50% for the Conservatives and 22.5% for the NDP. The Greens aren’t far behind at 11.5%. “It’s clear that Albertans simply aren’t warming up to Stephane Dion,” says Reid.

The NDP continue to poll strong in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and BC, where they are in the lead or in second place, but their 20% support in Ontario could translate into more seats. “The risk for the Liberals is a two front assault, with the NDP focused on their Toronto stronghold, and the Tories making inroads in the 905 region,” says Reid.

Reid cautions that the percentage of undecideds is still rising. “It’s as high as I’ve ever seen it, pretty consistent at 40% across the country,” says Reid. “If the Undecideds were a party, they’d have they’d have the election in a walk.”

Over 3000 Canadians were polled across the country for the week. The numbers are considered accurate within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

     Atlantic  Quebec    Ontario    Man/Sask   Alberta       BC      National     
CON   19.26%   22.45%     34.47%     33.33%     50.00%     29.60%     31.49%
LIB   49.63%   21.76%     34.75%     24.17%     16.00%     26.40%     28.94%
NDP   21.48%   12.50%     20.43%     33.33%     22.50%     28.80%     20.85% 
GRN    9.63%    7.18%     10.35%      9.17%     11.50%     15.20%     10.26%
BLQ    0.00%   36.11%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      8.47%                                           
Sample  220      720       1200        200        300        400       3040

All Leaders Claim Victory in English Language Debates

OTTAWA, August 12 — Political pundits called it an even fight, but that didn’t stop all party leaders and media representatives from claiming victory in last night’s English-language debates.

“I believe Stephen Harper articulated a compelling vision of Canada, distinct from the tired, old rhetoric of the other party leaders,” said Conservative media representative Steve Naylor. “He faced the attacks by the other party leaders and showed a statesmanlike bearing as he took them down one by one.”

Liberal representatives, of course, disagreed. “Stephane Dion came into tonight’s debates as an underdog, facing an incumbent prime minister and misconceptions about the quality of his English,” said Liberal media representative Jason Chern. “He defeated both, showing to all Canadians the sort of intelligence that is vital to have in the Prime Minister’s Office.”

The role of Canada’s military took centre stage in the 2008 debates, with discussions on Afghanistan mixing in with questions of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. Stephane Dion talked about what he saw as the need to resolve Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan in order to redeploy resources along the Northwest Passage. Harper replied that maintaining Canada’s international commitments were vital to maintain a profile that would assist in protecting the sovereignty of Canada’s North. He also touted his government’s investment in new equipment for Canada’s military and derided the Liberal record on military spending. Jack Layton got into the debate talking about support for veteran pensions and protection of their jobs, while Gilles Duceppe questioned the worthiness of the Afghan mission altogether.

A lot of time was spent on environmental issues as well, with the three opposition leaders all attacking the government’s inaction toward meeting Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto Accord. Harper responded by citing the passage of the Clean Air Act and other government policies. The moderator, news anchor Steve Neuman, had to intervene several times to stop the leaders from talking over themselves.

But it was the issue of decorum in parliament that brought out the strongest words from all party leaders. The opposition leaders attacked Stephen Harper for ignoring opposition resolutions, filibustering Commons’ committees and showing contempt for the majority of voters who elected them to office. Harper fired back, accusing the three other leaders of wanting all the power of government, but none of the responsibility. It was these exchanges, experts agree, where Dion and Harper came the closest to losing their cool.

“This just shows Canadians yet another example of the sort of heated inaction they’ve seen from the top two parties,” said NDP leader Jack Layton to reporters outside the conference hall. “They must have had a frustrating time trying to listen in, and I’m sure they could not help but think that here are two people more interested in shouting each other down than they are in serving Canadians.”

Experts interviewed after the debates agreed that there were no gaffes, no knockout punches that marked previous debates, including the ones between John Turner and Brian Mulroney before the 1984 and 1988 elections. “Everybody held their own. Nobody flubbed their lines. The only difference between the 2006 debates is that Harper sounded less controlled and more human, and Stephane Dion sounded passionate, but quite academic,” said pollster Allen Reid.

Liberals, Conservatives Slip as Campaign Progresses

TORONTO, August 6 — The latest opinion polls, on the eve of the first of a critical round of debates, finally show some movement for the major parties. Unfortunately for them, it’s downward. The Liberal party dipped below 30% for the first time in this campaign, largely due to slips in support in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Conservatives held steady, with small gains in Alberta offsetting a drop in support in the Atlantic provinces.

Nationally, the Conservatives are still in the lead with 30.8% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 29.97%. The NDP are third, marginally higher at 21% of decided voters, followed by the Greens at 10.3$, and the Bloc Quebecois at 8.1%. In Quebec, the Bloc’s numbers translated to a lead of 35.7%, steady from last week, while the Conservatives and the Liberals rose slightly to 23.2% and 22% respectively.

“It has been a disciplined, tightly controlled campaign by all parties,” says pollster Allen Reid. “All the mainstream parties have stayed on message. In the absence of any gaffes, I think the advantage goes to the Conservative government, who are proving themselves to be far less frightening than the Liberals painted them in the past.”

Ontario numbers showed a tightening race, with Liberal support down marginally to 35.9% and Conservative support up marginally at 33.1%. The NDP continue to hold steady at 20.7%.

But again Reid cautioned that these numbers could prove illusionary. “The number of undecided voters is increasing in this election, ranging from 30% of respondents in Alberta to 40% in Quebec. People just haven’t made up their minds, or are frustrated with all of the alternatives.

The poll results are considered accurate within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

   Atlantic    Quebec    Ontario    Man/Sask    Alberta       BC      National

CON 20.69% 23.15% 33.10% 32.50% 47.62% 28.15% 30.76% LIB 48.28% 21.99% 35.86% 25.83% 19.05% 27.41% 29.97% NDP 22.07% 12.27% 20.69% 31.67% 22.38% 28.89% 20.93% GRN 8.97% 6.94% 10.34% 10.00% 10.95% 15.56% 10.25% BLQ 0.00% 35.65% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 8.10%

Sample 220 720 1200 200 300 400 3040

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